tanners again

May 6, 2013

Tanners is maybe my favorite chute in Little Cottonwood Canyon. And even though it’s been a crappy snow year, Tanners skied like butter, totally filled, creamy corn, and the approach was as good as I’ve ever seen it.

Also Steve almost died.

I’ve taken some heat for taking noobs on difficult hikes. (Difficult for normal people–not for those supermen who bag 10 peaks a day in tights.) But Steve snowboards and doesn’t have a splitboard, so a straight-up booter like Tanners is perfect. I mean, sure, it’s 4,000 feet of vertical, and the skiing is a touch steep at the top. But mostly it’s a straightforward endeavor.

Apart from over turning a bit on his first backcountry turn ever and then sliding and tomahawking about a quarter mile down the upper chute, Steve totally nailed it. And he says he wants to go again. So win/win.

Some pics, then a video.

Hobear negotiating the water hazard

Hobear negotiating the water hazard

Rob n Steve enjoying finally reaching the sun.

Rob n Steve enjoying finally reaching the sun.

Hobear says it's getting steep

Hobear says it’s getting steep

It's definitely getting steep

It’s definitely getting steep

Crawling the last 10 of 4,000 feet.

Crawling the last 10 of 4,000 feet.

Hobear ripping the first of 4,000 feet

Hobear ripping the first of 4,000 feet

Me enjoying a bit of the picturesque ridge

Me enjoying a bit of the picturesque ridge

Me n Hobear enjoying the sun

Me n Hobear enjoying the sun

I think one more time before we’re done this year.


the primrose path

April 15, 2013

I’ve been wanting to get Kim’s dad out on a bigger type day for a long time. Cuz it was Kim’s dad that got me into backcountry skiing in the first place, and then took me n Kim to Italy to practice it.

Our objective was to go from Aspen Grove and get as high as we could up the Primrose Cirque, maybe to the lake, and if the weather and Senior’s knees held, to the south summit of Timp (and then ski back the way we came).

Well, contrary to all early weather forecasts, Saturday’s weather was as blustery as Pooh’s day, no sun, and constant snow flurries. Since when does a storm come in early?

Oh, and I should mention that there wasn’t much snow down low. That is, we walked with skis on packs past the first waterfall. Two years ago, on Memorial Day, me n Steve n Rob went up the Primrose Cirque en route to the East Ridge of Timp, and were on snow almost from the car.

Oh, and once past the waterfall, the snow was so firm that except for a small flat patch, we didn’t even bother taking our skis off our packs. Just booted the whole way. No big.

Senior and I were joined by Hobear and Kim’s brother Daniel and Kim’s sister Jaynann. Kind of a family affair.

When we all finally got back to the car, I heard a lot of jokes about the route and conditions. Like, what if I had emailed the crew beforehand and said “hey, how bout we go hiking with skis? We’ll walk a mile or two on dirt, then boot/crawl 3,000 feet with skis on packs, then ski variable snow for 2500 feet, the totally bushwhack a while before finally getting to walk on some more dirt to the car. Oh, and we might fall 50 feet or so into a waterfall.”

Well, if I’d put it like THAT, who would have come? See? And now they’re all happy they did. You know what they say–there is no bad snow, only bad skiers. It’s pretty rare to regret a backcountry skiing outing. We didn’t regret this one.

K, here’s lots and lots (and lots) of pics, and then a video.

jay so excite

jay is very excited at 5 in the morning

so happy to be walking

still dark, still not aware of how far we would have to walk to hit snow.

Notice how optimistic we are, some of us even carrying skis on shoulder, just waiting for snow.

Notice how optimistic we are, some of us even carrying skis on shoulder, just waiting for snow.


We hit snow finally, it just wasn't skinnable (by us anyway).

We hit snow finally, it just wasn’t skinnable (by us anyway)

Still happy

Still happy

Jay crawls alone

Jay crawls alone

Still smiling

Still smiling

Almost to the top of the cirque

Almost to the top of the cirque

Hobear got tired of waiting, and crawled on ahead

Hobear got tired of waiting, and crawled on ahead

Hanging out top of the cirque

Hanging out top of the cirque

Just wandering around the upper massif behind Timp

Just wandering around the upper massif behind Timp

We also skied

We also skied

Jay skied

Jay skied

Daniel skied

Daniel skied

There was some lounging

There was some lounging

Some route finding

Some route finding

More "route finding"

More “route finding”

Does it go?

Does it go?

It sort of goes. Yes, I thought I might die.

It sort of goes. Yes, I thought I might die.

Some heinous bushwhacking

Some heinous bushwhacking

And we finally ran out of snow

And we finally ran out of snow

And, here’s that video I was telling you about. (It’s about 3:40 where I thought one of us might not be coming back. Spoiler–we all came back.)

snowbird con la familia

March 25, 2013

I remember a couple years ago, Ian wanted to go to Park City to ski with a bunch of friends, and he was working out logistics of rides and lift tickets and all that.

He worked it out, but sadly, with no help from me. Cuz I told him, “so, Ian. We are a Snowbird family. You’re on your own with this.”

Saturday, taking advantage of the 20-30 of new they got up in LCC, we used the last of our 10 to shares .

Kyle gave me some good advice today.

“If your kids are throwing real tricks off the cat track, maybe you shouldn’t jump. It just looks lame.”

Sage advice.

snogression session

March 15, 2013

My friend Burke told me about Snogression over a year ago, but the idea of a foam pit kept me from visiting before now. Watch the video below and you’ll see why foam pits and I don’t get along. You know how nobody gets out of Dante’s Inferno? Foam pits just barely missed the cut. I have it on good authority that Dante was totally on the fence with the foam pit, and only went with the Harpies because foam pits hadn’t been invented yet.


I took the boys to Snogression last night and we spent two hours on the kicker. Holden and Ian got their big air groove on, and I let the steep kicker work its magic. Big night for me. That is, well, let’s let Gene Wilder say it:

From that fateful day when stinking bits of slime first crawled from the sea and shouted to the cold stars, “I am man.”, our greatest dread has always been the knowledge of our mortality. But tonight, we shall hurl the gauntlet of science into the frightful face of death itself. Tonight, we shall ascend into the heavens. We shall mock the earthquake. We shall command the thunders, and penetrate into the very womb of impervious nature herself.

Okay fine, maybe I’m overstating it. But I did a backflip or five. Which, tragically, we did not capture on video. No, just me getting out of the foam pit like a beached whale.

I’m not bitter. Ian didn’t get any pics, but at least he got video.

Some pics. Then some video of the rescue operation.

taking the plunge

Will he? Won’t he?

He will!

He will!

Holden gets a new perspective

Holden gets a new perspective

Holden getting crossed up

Holden getting crossed up

I think Dante was wrong–foam pits are waaay worse than Harpies.

a good day to do scotties

February 27, 2013

Me n Holden n Mark, we few, we happy few, did the early morning thing in Scotties Bowl this morning. And even though the skinner was in, even though we had that Wasangeles feel with headlamps ahead of us and headlamps behind us, and LCC got a foot while other places, you know, like BCC, got mostly nuthin, we still had a pretty good day. On a shot where you pretty much ski 2500 feet of north facing powder car to car.

scotties top looking down

hey, i can see my car

scotties holden coming down chute

holden chasing his sluff

scotties holden side in chute

crazy how you can see the city, kind of, over there

scotties holden below in chute

there goes holden

scotties holden looking down lower chute

there went holden

scotties holden close in chute

the skiing was good. real good.

Just before we dropped out into the bowl, Holden yelled “Hey, there’s a nice air to get out of the chute.”

I said “Um, mandatory?”

And he said “Don’t be such a baby.” And he turned and aired out into the bowl.

The whole drive home, he kept turning to me and saying “Hey Dad . . . Mandatory?”

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.

scotties holden airing

little mandatory air exit from chute

scotties dug tips airing

Yes, I “aired” it

scotties holden lower bowl

good all the way down

Here’s the motion picture version:


big days day

February 18, 2013

Me n the two Tylers got out Saturday trying to get deeper into Days. About 4,000 feet later we were satisfied. There’s good snow in them thar hills. The helis beat us there, but they left a little for us.

I’ve only been getting video of the descents lately, cuz I broke my Contour, but I still have my magic goggles.

Maybe I should sell the magic goggles and buy some new base layers. Because now, I can wash my smart wool base and new Artcteryx shirt over and over, but the moment the hike begins, all the stink returns, like Hamlet’s sins. I don’t know if I’m attracting or repelling the wild life.

Don’t answer that. It wasn’t a question anyway.

groundhog day on lone peak

February 3, 2013

I loves me some Lone Peak, and weather and conditions aligned perfectly on Groundhog day for another outing. I think I’m going to make this a Groundhog day tradition. (I’m not sure I have a choice. Do I?)

We started with seven from Alpine, and first to drop was Kyle, who later found out he was sporting a nasty fever. Second to drop was Rob, who hiked to the second hammongog and had to bail for family stuff, meaning he hiked halfway, and before the sun did its work on the snow, he had to ski the old road back to the car on what he called “the worst snow he has ever experienced.”

The rest of us kept at it, and the day turned glorious. Not a cloud in the sky, no wind at all, and not another soul in sight. For a while I thought we were going to be skiing breakable crust for 6,000 feet, but the higher we climbed, the better we felt about the conditions–the descent was going to be good. Not real corn, but soft, fast, creamy goodness.

But enough talk. Pictures tell the story.

first hamongog

Tyler at the first Hamongog.

burke approaching second hamongog

Burke making his way to the lunch spot above the second hamongog.

bottom of heaven's halfpipe

Tyler enjoying lunch at the halfway spot.

burke in all his glory

Yup, he hiked in that. All day.


Back on the trail

tyler up track

Plenty of snow, just need it to soften (it did).

holden at the notch

That’s Holden up there. Leading. By a lot.

holden in the rime

Did you see that sky today? Talk about blue.

summit ridge

Tyler and Jon on the summit ridge

what inversion?

Holden looking down on the valley

tyler above it all

Tyler above it all

jon rock star

Jon’s rock star pose

holden looks into bells

Holden thinks about that Lone Peak East Chute

holden looks into bells

Holden looks into Bells Canyon



dug was here

And, yes, I was in fact, there.

burke summit

Burke tags the view out his back window

starting down

And, then we enjoyed the awesomeness

I should mention here, that Holden, all 14 years of him, led most of the day, including all of the second half. I hear we have Whitney’s spin class to thank. So thanks Whitney’s spin class.

The descent was fast. Or, rather, the descent to the second hamongog was fast. Then the descent to the first hamongog was half fun, half tricky, half super tricky. And then the descent to the water tank was icky. But we all agreed, a thin veneer of snow on dirt and rock was waaaaay better than booting down that last mile with skis on packs.

Here’s a little summit video. Just as a bonus. (Just summiting really, with a start on the descent, but camera battery issues prevented good video.)

See you next Groundhog Day. Duh.