March 13, 2009
I bet you thought I was done talking about skiing. I wouldn’t blame you for thinking that–heck, Rick transitions from biking to skiing in October, and he transitioned from skiing to biking like a month ago.
Me, I like to blend my seasons a bit more. Plus, I think I’ve also transitioned into thinking of ski season as the A season and biking as the B season. I’m not saying it’s right (it is) or wrong (it isn’t), I’m just saying. You know. What I said.
Actually, here’s why it’s wrong to turn the skiing off as soon as it gets warm enough to ride your bike. This is from today’s Avalanche Advisory:
Yet another day in paradise with sunny and warm weather, delightful, soft, settled powder on the sun and wind sheltered slopes and mostly stable avalanche conditions. And this time of year, less people are getting out, so there is much more untracked snow. Life is good.
We’ve got poetical avalanche forecasters here in the Wasatch.
Anyway, I’ve been out twice this week, because even though we’re in the middle of march, the powder is plentiful and the crowds are thinning.
This morning, me n Tyler (my mom used to tell me to stop calling my friends “mean”–get it? “me n tyler”=”mean” Tyler? Isn’t that adorable?) went a bit longer than usual, starting from the church across from Alta and heading up the Flagstaff ridge an hour or two before dawn, hoping to skirt Upper Days and drop the next two shots, where we were sure there was some deep untouched to be had.
Here’s the route (the far side of the ridge is what we came up, and then back down, but the picture isn’t see-through, so you can’t see that part):
We had to take off the skis and boot the first climb in the dark, because the skin track was not just frozen solid, but had also been recently sprayed with Pam. Luckily, someone had already had the same problem, so it was a question of stepping in the holes.
Here’s Tyler at the top of Flag. Our route is to go along that ridge behind him, cuz it’s warmer in the sun:
And a little technical traversing (technical for us beaters):
Here’s Tyler dropping into shot number one. I’m sure these shots have names, but I’m not privy to them.
Tyler again, in shot number one:
You can see, there ARE tracks there. It’s hard to get there before the helicopters four days after the storm. But you can also see there’s plenty of snow left for us.
In fact, after we skinned up to the next ridge, we found that the helicopters had respectfully left the center chute in shot number two untouched. Yay.
Tyler drops into the actual chute, which is only about two ski lengths wide and steeper than snot. Which is pretty steep on the snot scale.
And there he is, IN the actual chute. You may wonder how I can get a picture of him both DROPPING into the chute AND exiting the chute.
In a word, Magic.
Okay, NOT magic, since you can see my exit track.
Which makes one wonder, hey! Where are all the pictures of dug?
Of course, we had one camera between us, and it happened to be my iPhone.
So, here’s another pic of Tyler. For Mike.
After this powder fest, we only had to slog back to the the main Upper Days bowl, up the face, and ski 1500 feet of south-facing breakable crust to the car. No pics of that.