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Author Topic: Snowboarding 2013/14 -- Observations on Park City and Brighton  (Read 5060 times)
surf88
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« Reply #30 on: March 07, 2014, 07:59:27 AM »

Two thoughts:

1.  Watch the date on those Hop Notch bottles.  The name was changed to "Hop Nosh" last Fall because of some marketing conflict with the "Notch" name.  I hear that it is gaining a national reputation.

2.  That brew is an IPA and is way too hopsy (typical of Uinta's ales) for my taste.  I like their King's Peak porter and Linda turned on to their Hefewizen after a seven course beer and dinner pairing affair sponsored by Uinta up at the Silver Fork Lodge in BCC.

Otherwise:

I'm loyal to the big, bad, high alchohol content stouts like Squatter's, Red Rock, Epic and Desert Edge breweries make.  By the way, Epic has become the last of the four to open a restuarant featuring their output.  It's on 2100S, right in the middle of Sugar House (just W of 1100E).  It feels very modern, has a good menu (both lunch and dinner) and an adjacent brewing operation that is specifically making brews for the on-draft service in the eatery.  No bar--just table service and that means that you can take kids in with you.

Tommy T.


I didn't really buy it for the quality beer as much as for nostalgia.  But I though it was good.  Hops were just right.  Even if it was older than the new name.  Im a huge fan of  Hefewizen  too.  One of my favorite ever was a filtered Hef from the brew pub in Pocatello ID. I think it was called Crystal Hef.
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« Reply #31 on: March 07, 2014, 11:43:41 AM »


....  I'm a huge fan of  Hefewizen  too.  One of my favorite ever was a filtered Hef from the brew pub in Pocatello ID. I think it was called Crystal Hef.

Hefewizen certainly has its place in the line-up of useful styles of brew to know about.

At Breckenridge, I could walk home from the Peak 9/Peak10 area base and the walk happened to pass right by the Breckenridge brewery, about a block and a half from where we were living.

A pint of Hef (theirs was unfiltered) was usually just the ticket to wash down a late lunch sandwich if I left the area too early to wait for supper time. 

Tommy T.
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« Reply #32 on: March 08, 2014, 07:00:34 PM »

Saturday at Park City Mountain Resort; recent snow; cloudless bluebird day; base area temps were freezing overnight; afternoon when I left at about 2pm they were up to mid '40s.

Expecting big crowds and possible parking problems, I arrived a half hour before the lifts openned and was on one of the first four or five chairs up the Eagle Lift.  I lit the afterburner and was second person on the King Con:



The first guy is about six chairs ahead and I wonder if he was staff.

I did a warm-up off the King Con and identified the freeze/thaw line altitude. Then I headed for the Jupiter Lift and the less used parts of the hill.  First three real runs were in the big bowl area to the skiers left of the Jupiter Lift.  The best snow was, of course, in the steepest terrain which required a bit of an uphill hike to reach:

Looking across Scott's Bowl:



And, looking back up to the other side:



(Always nice to get a skier in the picture for perspective sake.)

And then, I turned to the skier's right for three runs in the denser trees where 6" of wind deposted snow from overnight created that state that we all seek.

Of course, there is a cliff band that cuts across the entire surface on that side.  In only a few places is it really an obstacle.   More often is has many breaks and sometimes it disappears althogether for 50 or 60 feet.  Knowing that it is there does cause me to be cautious when I can't see the slope below where I have stopped -- as, for example, in this picture:



Looking back up from just below the slot, my route is over the low point of the snow horizon, right next to the evergreen.  Exposed rocks validate the caution but their small and scattered nature justify my choice:



As some famous boarder once said, it's "Always nice to get a skier in the picture for perspective sake:"




Can you make out the skier?  He looks like one of the little trees, just above the center, back in the open spot in the big trees.

Another couple of rides up high and I was ready to head to the car.  Unfortunately, there is only one really practical route down from the top to the main base area.  It is a 3.5 mile long green run.  I do not travel all over the country to ride 3.5 mile long green runs.  Nevertheless, this is the PCMR that people are talking about when they say they don't like Park City because of the crowds of duffers:



That's a two frame panorama stitch taken near top of Bonanza which is one of the buzy spots on the mountain.  That's "Home Run" in all is glory and is the almost unavoidable corner for returning to the base from almost everywhere up high.

Tommy T.

(All that is as it is, but I don't have to come here -- I have a pass for Brighton.  Nevertheless, this one is a good one and the existence of crowds on the strange trail layout is just something to talk about over a beer.)

Ed.: turned out to be an LDS



« Last Edit: March 09, 2014, 08:00:39 PM by Tommy T » Logged

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« Reply #33 on: March 16, 2014, 09:47:12 PM »

Our son is back in SLC, this time with the youngest grandson, Ezra.

Ez, now 11 years old, is the one that skied an easy Green unassisted, no leash, at Steamboat while he was still age 1.

He skied, top to bottom, the 1600 vertical run in the woods above Hidden Canyon, out-of-bounds to the skier's right off Great Western at Brighton.  There was about 6" of dry loose snow with only a few tracks.  I tailgated Ez down, occassionally coaching as to choices like whether to traverse or descend at various points and with him on skis and me on board we didn't always choose to go between the same two trees.  Although he seemed to be happy with his run, he clearly prefers speed on open groomers and was much more enthusiastic about the following day at Park City.

This pretty image is Ez in front of Timpanogos.  The view is from the summit ridge that wraps Brighton from Clayton Peak (on the skier's right above Great Western),  around to Preston Peak above the Snake Creek lift in just about the center of the area.  It's one of the very best views of Timp that I know of:



Brighton Ski Area is either the first ski area in Utah or at least the first in the Wasatch.  It started in 1936!!  The Brighton family homesteaded the area over 150 years ago.  Skiers started going downhill in Big Cottonwood Canyon in the 1920s and one of them, Zane Doyle, bought the land and put in a ski lift running up from what is now the location of the main day lodge.  Boyne Resorts bought Brighton in 1987 and is the current operator.  

Boyne Resorts include:  Big Sky Resort in Montana; Crystal Mountain and The Summit at Snoqualmie in Washington;  Loon Mountain in New Hampshire; and Sugarloaf and Sunday River in Maine.  

I have been impressed with Boyne's management style, especially the free flow of communication up and down from top of the corporation to bottom of the ski bum pile.  Good weather information; accurate condition reports; accessible, friendly and helpful Patrol.  Night skiing under good lights on Thursday this week, I found myself on a chair chatting with the area manager for the evening shift -- yes he was wearing skis and planning on making a few runs to check the brightness/contrast balance of the lighting.  (An interesting alternative to calling in sick.) (By contrast, Vail resorts in Summit County Colorado don't even publish a weather forecast.)

This year I wanted a BCC pass to go with my Park City Mountain Resort pass.  Solitude may have a better backcountry access region and offers a pretty good route to poaching Alta on a board (there is a rumour that I've already done that from S'Bird a couple of times).  Solitude and Brighton are about 50-50 in terms of skiing and riding.  I chose Brighton because of the Boyne connection (and because it is actually criticized for caterring too much to boards ?!?!?!).


Tommy T.
« Last Edit: March 18, 2014, 12:24:29 AM by Tommy T » Logged

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« Reply #34 on: March 20, 2014, 11:45:46 AM »

SPRING!!!

Winter is over around Noon today. 

Not to worry too much, though.

The snow pack bases at the ski areas in the Salt Lake City Region are running from a low of 82" to a high of 114" and the tops of the Wasatch ridges area staying around freezing most of the time.  A couple of potential weather makers are developing -- small expectations but this time of year refreshers are always welcome.

This is the time of year when my experience of skiing and riding in the White Mountains becomes a treasure.  Climb the icy route up in the morning; relax with a lunch, waiting for the corn; and descend in the glory of the warm sunshine when the corn is just the perfect moment.  (It kind of amazes me that many Wasatch skiers, even many serious back country skiers who are some of the best I've ever known, have no idea as to how they should approach Spring conditions.)

Buds are forming on the bushes in our yard, but the tire chains are still stowed in the back of the van.

(Tonight is the openning performance of Fiddler on the Roof in Bluffdale -- over my life as a trumpet player, I've played well over a hundred pit performances for summer stock, university, community college and community theatre productions of opera, Gilbert & Sullivan operetta, and Broadway musicals.  I have one (1) genuine professional appearance as a sub for the lead trumpet in the pit for a G/S complete with a review in the Boston Globe.*  The current effort by the people of Bluffdale is the most unprepared and unlikely to succeed show that I have ever done.  I'm looking forward to tonight, just to see how completely it crashes and how we manage to recover.)

Tommy T.

* It was a performance of Pirates of Penzance at the Public Theatre in Boston.  Instead of the usual 20 piece pit orcheatra, the production was using a new arrangement of the music with one trumpet, one trombone, one multi-reed player, one drummer and a conductor who was playing a synthesizer while directing operations.  The Boston Globe review praised us approximately as follows:
"The reduced pit orchestra occassionally sounded like the Toonerville Trolley rounding a curve on a rusty rail, but the wonder of Sir Arthur Sullivan's music came through and carried the evening."

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« Reply #35 on: March 20, 2014, 02:59:04 PM »

Quote
This is the time of year when my experience of skiing and riding in the White Mountains becomes a treasure.  Climb the icy route up in the morning; relax with a lunch, waiting for the corn; and descend in the glory of the warm sunshine when the corn is just the perfect moment.  (It kind of amazes me that many Wasatch skiers, even many serious back country skiers who are some of the best I've ever known, have no idea as to how they should approach Spring conditions.)
Reading this made me happy.  Cant wait to hang out relaxing above GOS all alone this spring waiting for the sun to do its thing!
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« Reply #36 on: March 25, 2014, 08:27:38 AM »

Yesterday was a great corn day!!

I rode three lifts and hiked up 525' to the high point on the Pine Cone Ridge.  By the time I was on top, the corn was ready.  1260' of steep east facing slope and (at the bottom) open Aspen trees.  Two lifts and hiked up the same 525', went a little bit past the high point to get a new line, and got 1200' of peaking corn at 9925' ASL, but already getting mushy in the trees down at 8,500' where I came out on a groomer.  Checked a few groomers for Linda for today and headed home early and tired.

Great day.

It's Spring -- today we're being warned about 55 degree temperatures at the base at PCMR.  Sounds like a short day.

Gotta get going.

Tommy T
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« Reply #37 on: March 25, 2014, 07:26:23 PM »

It's Spring -- today we're being warned about 55 degree temperatures at the base at PCMR.  Sounds like a short day.

Gotta get going.

Turned out to be a long half day with 1000 vertical feet of hiking in order to get two runs off Jupiter Peak, exploring a couple of scary lines up around the Machete Chute.  Spring conditions on a warm morning and things were already a bit wet underfoot down at the base when I arrived a little before 9am.

Two lifts and a 500 foot hike put me on top of Jupiter Peak at around 10,000 feet.  My ride between the two lifts suggested that everything above 8500 was still pretty tight and should hold the edges.  

This is the previously displayed image of Jupiter with my first Machete run shown in pink.  On previous days, I've dropped Machete by the same main, obvious route 3 more times.  Today was time to go a bit further.



The orange line is an alternate entry to Machete.  It may be known to some as the "Hour Glass," but the two patrollers in the shack on top of Jupiter Peak were unaware of it and had no name to suggest.  One of them walked out with me to see what I was talking about and then tried to talk me out of doing it.  It is a narrow slot between rock with a dog leg in the middle (not really an hour glass shape at all  -- more of a rock intrusion from the right hand wall over about half-way to the left side).  I slid over the top berm on a toe side edge onto a 70 degree slope right at 10,000 feet ASL.  I carved across about five feet of snow toward the left wall and did a full tail pivot, dropping about 5 feet, easing off to a 60 degree slope and setting it up for the rest of the ride down into the now familiar territory of the Chute.  Good pre-corn styrofoam snow made the rest of that run easy.  Corn characteristics began to show at about 9250.  I went down to the lift that serves the hike up and immediate repeated before the top got wet.

The green line is the second new variation for me.  The entire green line cannot be scouted in advance.  In prior runs, I had seen a few  tracks crossing a rib and going out of sight on the left side of Machete.  Looking back up from the bottom, I had seen a place where a line came out from a blind chute.  I went for it -- it was probably the most techincal cliff line with highest degree of "make the move or else" that I have done.  I've taken some jumps that I didn't want to take and I've hiked up and out of some situations that I shouldn't have gotten into.  But this one was no-choice: one, steep, narrow, rocky gully that featured two tight turns into blind exits.  Obviously, I made it.  When I stopped and looked back up, three rocks came down--not especially close to my stance but probably loosened by my passage.

I am totally amazed that, after going down hill with various things strapped to me feet since 1969, I can still push a new boundary.  It feels so good to put together my physical ability, my learned techinque, my acquired mountain sense, and my age induced disregard for danger and manage to simultaneously scare myself pretty well and pull off a great run.

Here's to the Gods of snow and of the Wasatch, and to the "Greatest Snow on Earth."  Wink

Tommy T.

« Last Edit: March 25, 2014, 11:12:54 PM by Tommy T » Logged

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« Reply #38 on: March 26, 2014, 02:47:23 PM »

March 26, 2014.

Taking a day (probably 2 days) off.

This is the web cam shot of the top station on the Bonanza Lift at Park City taken around 12:30 pm.  The lift was operating and I stole the snapshot at a moment when there was no person in the scene -- there were a few -- very few.  This area is refered to as "the summit" although it is about 800 vert. feet below the area's high point.  It is the location of three lift top stations, an important and busy on-mountain restaurant, a store with those daily use items you forgot (also known as "sun block"), a major Patrol station, information boards and some other stuff.  This is usually the most crowded spot above the main base.  The invisible background is a rather nice panorama of the high ridge between Jupiter Peak and the McConkey's Lift.



It is currently experiencing the rainy front advance of about four small weather events forecast for the next three days. With luck and consistent with the UofU snow forecast, that cloudy mess will turn into 6 to 10 inches of pretty dense snow in time for April Fools Day.

That'll  be on top of a 75" base, which is about the average of the seven Park City and Cottonwood Canyons areas right now.  We had about 100" at the same time last year, but it looks like most of the terrain will be open and ridable until the closings that are scheduled for the last half of April.

Pine cone Ridge is closed with the expectation that it is closed for the season.  I didn't get into 2/3rds of that feature.  Nor did I do much on Jupiter Peak other that the variations on Machete and descent lines down to the Jupiter chair.  I barely entered the Black Forest area which is the "other" XX way down from McConkey's -- probably a place to do laps after the obvious open bowls have been skied to pieces after a big powder drop.

When my annual summary comes out wrapping up this season for me, Brighton is going to come out just fine and Park City is going to be way up in my ratings  (like, maybe, top three on my all-round list of reliable areas).

A Park City pass is pretty much a 100% choice for next year -- probably matched to a "Big Cottonwood " pass that covers Brighton and Solitude for just about the same cost as Brighton only.

Tommy T.
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« Reply #39 on: March 31, 2014, 04:38:14 PM »

Well, the weather guys were almost right.  The Park City region got 10 inches of nice, light snow overnight and today was a classic powder Monday.  Nobody is booking vacations this late in the season, school breaks are past, most of the racing scene is done.  This is what it looked like at about 9000 feet in the trees below the McConkey lift -- no tracks at all.



That shot was fairly early in the day below a run that required about 400 vertical feet of hiking on Jupiter Peak. (Park City is Park City and by noon most trees which are that easy to reach have been reached and people are traversing way out across the Jupiter Bowl to drop into the trees there even though it means a pretty flat chug back to the lift to repeat.)

We're going into April with some more snow in the short forecast and closing date is three weeks away.   Because of things like dealing with the new house and travelling to Cinncinatti  for our daughter's second wedding/our 50th anniversary celebration, there aren't any new records from this season.   In fact, this season will bring the long term averages down just a bit.  Still, as our first winter vacation season in a house we own and in a city with which we are getting comfortable, it's turning out to be pretty successful.

I think that our decision with respect to Salt Lake City has probably been a good one.

Tommy T.
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« Reply #40 on: March 31, 2014, 05:00:30 PM »

On the trumpet playing front -- the other half of my life:

On last Thursday, I was contacted by a local community orchestra asking if I could play trumpet for their concert which was scheduled for Saturday, two days later.  It seems that something happened at their last rehearsal, on Wednesday, and neither of their trumpet players were going to participate in the performance. 

I asked a bit about the performance level of the group and what they were playing and everything seemed like something I could fit into pretty well, so I agreed to bail them out.

Saturday evening I arrived at the performance hall early to take a quick look at what music I would be playing.  I was given a music folder and a copy of the program.  The program showed a concert at the level of a typical community orchestra doing a "Pops" type concert.  I didn't see any problem until I reached the last piece:  "'Variations on a Korean Folk Song' by John Chance, trumpet solo by Tommy Taylor."

That was a bit un-nerving but, basically, if I can play something at all, I can usually read it on sight and I have an jazz soloist's endurance, which is usually enough for a community orchestra program, even for the last piece on the evening. 

(It went well, they are disappointed that I'll be gone before their July concert, and they hope that I'll be able to join them again for their season next year.)

Tommy T.
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« Reply #41 on: April 02, 2014, 10:58:58 PM »

We're still at it in Utah.

This is a copy of Park City's status report as of early this morning.  (I get these things my e-mail every morning -- they are accurate and consistent with reporting from other sources.  That really makes life easy.)




Tommy T.

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« Reply #42 on: April 03, 2014, 07:58:54 PM »

So . . .

Using my age as my excuse, I drove off to Park City this morning without my board boots  Undecided


Turns out that the rental shop on the lower level of the PCMR plaza rents board boots in the late season for $6.98 a day.   Shocked


Conditions have been good and all the snow described yesterday has not been through a thaw cycle at altitudes above about 8500.   Cheesy

Tommy T.

(Three years in a row in the same region -- about 230 days in the same range, scattered around 7 Wasatch resorts,  and I'm loving it more each day!!)

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« Reply #43 on: April 09, 2014, 03:08:48 PM »

 Cry  My NeverSummer board was a factory proto-type for the camber-rocker-camber SLR board that came out for the winter of 09/10.  I bought it at a late season "retailers only" trade show day on the last week-end of the season at Taos.  I stood under the NS tent at Taos and called NS corporate and made a pitch for buying their demo -- it was their last trade show of the season; the board had 08/09 graphics -- not the graphics that would appear when stock went out for the 09/10 season; I appear to most people to be a mature adult boarder with considerable skills and could do a good job of presenting the radically different board in the lift lines and on the slopes for its first year.  Corporate liked the idea; I handed the cell phone to the guy at the table under the tent; I heard him say: "Yeah; Oh, really; Well alright; Right; Yep, that's what we'll do."  He handed the phone back and gave me the details of how to acquire one of the early season boards at a substantial discount from a specific dealer in the upper mid-West.   Since then, I've put around 450 days on that board and it was still holding up well.

Monday night somebody busted the rear window on my mini-van and stole that board.

Insurance paid for the glass replacement and Spring internet sales brought the price on a new board/binding combo down to about $500 from an internet source (Evo.com) that I use fairly frequently -- free delivery expected by Friday. (I have personal property coverage for stuff in the car through my home-owner's insurance but the deductible for off-premesis theft is based on 1% of the home value and so the $500 is out of pocket.)  The money's OK; what I'll really miss are the torn and worn stickers on the deck.  They included: Ride Taos; Alta Snowboard Team; Jackson Hole; A-Basin; Powder Mountain; Canyons; and Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center.

The new board has, to my taste, less attractive graphics than the 08/09 proto-type, but it incoporates a fine-tuning of the camber/rocker/camber shape with a new parabolic-type curve in the edge radius and an adjusted stiffness profile that allows a more agressive use of longitudinal weighting.  Sidewalls are now sintered P-tex and I believe that it will come with NS's version of wavy metal edges.  (I have not really worked on snow a board with the wavy edges.  The demo people always claim that it grips better on ice and doesn't change anything in powder.  I wonder what it does for speed and quick, skidded direction changes in hard surface conditions.  On a saw, big teeth cut faster than small (implying that the wavy edge will cut into an icy surface more readily and thus give better non-skid control) but big teeth are much harder to use than small when cutting curves (implying that the wavy edge may have an "all or nothing" kind of grip and not be good for fine-tuning directional changes).  

Needless to say, I'll have a rider's review of the subject as soon as I get some vertical under the new board in various conditions.  I've got a few more weeks of snow out here and it'll be spring conditions from now on.  There should be some good testing time for everything except powder, and I really wouldn't expect that wavy edge/straight edge differences would show-up in powder anyway.

(Worst thing about the theft is that I lose the neat story about how I got I board in the first place.)

Tommy T.

(The acquisition story was modified a bit when, a year later, I realized that I had mixed two different occasions.)
« Last Edit: June 16, 2014, 05:44:38 PM by Tommy T » Logged

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« Reply #44 on: April 09, 2014, 03:29:46 PM »

Oh!  New bindings.

I really liked the original K2 Cinch bindings -- rear-entry, one-hand operation, one flick of the heel lever to get in or out while standing up.  Good fit and control, reasonable adjustability.  Nice for strapping in facing up hill on steep faces; Hell itself for strapping in facing down hill on steep faces.  I got my first two pair of these way back at Bozeman at the end of the first of my 4 month winter vacations.  At the start of last season, it was time to replace them.  Several hundred days of use had caused a couple of failures and my two pair had been cross-salvaged until there was only one pair of increasingly suspect plastic structure left.  The new K2 Cinch was less satisfactory.  Adjustment was complicated and not easily done.  Worse, the heel cable kept slipping out of the guides requiring a stop-all-getting-ready-to-ride-usually-at-the-top-of-a-lift-with-an-audience rerouting.  Finally, it was more difficult to balance hot spots, pressure points and lean control than with the originals.  So, I chatted with the techies on-line at Backcountry (I think Backcountry has the best outdoor gear chat lines on the commercial web sites), ended-up with a recommendation for Union Force bindings, tested the market and opinions at the local board shop, and included a pair Flow AT rear entry bindings in my order from Evo.com.  

(Flow's  really odd looking green color choice appears to be a specific match for the really odd looking green color on the SL board.  (Wow! That counts for a lot!)(Especially since I wear a red jacket when it's cold an a light blue shell when it's not cold.)

The bindings are arriving with the board and my reactions will follow, like it or not.  (That is, I'll say what I think whether it's positive or negative and the reader of these posts may agree or disagree as befits their approaches, needs, or attitudes.  Thus, the little "like it or not" becomes a cleverly abiguous grammatical construction that I may fall back on if my opinions ever become contentious among the reader of these posts.)

Obviously, I'm taking today off from the slopes and I'm getting badly "board."

Tommy T.
« Last Edit: April 15, 2014, 04:20:14 PM by Tommy T » Logged

Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone.
                                                                             -- Pablo Picasso
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