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FirstTracks
12-09-2007, 02:04 PM
Saturday, Dec. 8

Day 8: Now that's what I'm talking about!

Storm totals were 30" by morning, and 36" by the end of the day. Needless to say there was a lot of pent-up demand, not only from our posse (The Kid, Marc_C, Skidog, Skidog's father visiting from NY, Todd, Todd's brother John visiting from MI, Dale, Pat, and TeleJon), but also from the rest of the Salt Lake Valley. As a result of that, plus only three lifts running this morning (Collins, Wildcat and Sunnyside) there were lines like I've never seen at Alta. It was nearly impossible to differentiate the Collins line from the Wildcat line -- they merged together in an absolute sea of humanity. Open terrain was also limited to those areas that don't require avalanche control, even though opening was delayed by 30 minutes by the echoing sound of patrol bombs, so the ravenous hoardes devoured the untracked snow quickly.

This was where local familiarity has its benefits. There were still spots off the beaten path where we scored untracked snow until mid-afternoon, although a couple of forays were ill-planned as even intermediate pitches were insufficient in the deep new snow. Despite waiting 10 minutes for the pre-opening liftline to subside before venturing outdoors, I headed into Fred's Trees on my first run to find: not a single track, at least on the upper part. None. Nada. I had to stop twice to leave the white room for fear of smacking a tree that I couldn't even see. We even scored low-speed face shots amongst the scrub below the Collins Road at the base.

Then two things happened around 1:00 that changed the afternoon entirely: Sugarloaf opened (although word has it that they only opened Devil's Elbow, and not even tower pads were set -- I never got over there), and concurrently, the powder hounds left to go home. The liftlines completely evaporated and both Collins and Wildcat were ski-on.

At the opening bell The Kid spotted some of his friends and headed off to ski with them. We next found them all at lunch, and The Kid surprised me by wanting to spend the afternoon tagging along with his old man. We lapped Wildcat trees until 2:30, hitting up everything from Westward Ho eastward to (but not in) Wildcat Gully, finding wonderfully light and fluffy cut-up chowder everywhere we looked. We even repeated the very line that Bob Dangerous and I skied on October 21 in bottomless fluff...twice. I can't keep up with The Kid anymore, and that's OK. He was landing 12-foot cliff drops switch, and skiing powder aggressive style that I can't hope to replicate. I've come to terms with this, and I'm one proud poppa.

Perhaps the most frustrating part for me today was how we all got separated. I skied the first run through Fred's Trees essentially solo. I bumped into Dale back at the base of Collins, and let him know that I just wanted to run my camera frontpack back to the truck. I quickly returned and...no Dale, proving once again that there are no friends on a powder day. :roll: I wanted to ski a few runs with Todd and his brother, but that never happened. Skidog lost his father to calf cramping and unfamiliar conditions on the first run. He also lost Marc_C somehow near the base of the first run. I never saw Pat again until the end of the day, and simply never saw TeleJon again, period.

This was exhausting skiing. Last week we skied 30,000 verts at Keystone. By contrast, I was whooped today by only 8,710. But as I've said many times, for me it's all about quality over quantity.

Base depths are now at 54" with 117" of snowfall year to date. I hit nothing significant all day, doing absolutely no damage to the skis whatsoever.

Sorry about the lack of photos today, but you must remember to replace the memory card in the camera before taking pictures. :oops:

Sunday, Dec. 9

Day 9: A bit more window dressing

Well, we didn't get the 8-12 of additional snow forecast for overnight, but we did get another 4" so I headed back up for a few more hours this morning, joined by Marc_C, Skidog, Bob Dangerous, Pat and TeleJon. The Kid opted to drive to PCMR with a buddy to ride rails all day.

What was nice today was that we were by and large above the clouds enshrouding the Salt Lake Valley, with the occasional cloud blowing slowly past. Still no wind -- it's wonderful to have three feet of new snow fall without wind.

After a few more Collins laps we again graduated to Wildcat to lap more of what The Kid, Skidog and I enjoyed yesterday afternoon. Still nice 'n fluffy -- great stuff.

At least today I remembered the camera's memory card!

See, Alta *does* have snowmaking! That's the top bullwheel of the Wildcat lift:

http://www.firsttracksonline.com/boards/files/01_alta_wildcat_snowmaking_071209.jpg

Wildcat:

http://www.firsttracksonline.com/boards/files/02_alta_wildcat_071209.jpg

Mount Baldy summit:

http://www.firsttracksonline.com/boards/files/03_alta_baldy_summit_071209.jpg

Flagstaff Mountain peeks above the cloud:

http://www.firsttracksonline.com/boards/files/04_alta_flagstaff_above_cloud_071209.jpg

Little Cottonwood Canyon:

http://www.firsttracksonline.com/boards/files/05_alta_lcc_071209.jpg

(L to R) Skidog, Bob Dangerous and Pat:

http://www.firsttracksonline.com/boards/files/06_alta_skidog_bobd_pat_071209.jpg

Snow-covered cars in the Wildcat parking lot:

http://www.firsttracksonline.com/boards/files/07_alta_wildcat_lot_snow_071209.jpg

CarpeyBiggs
12-10-2007, 08:58 AM
:hail2thechief: Looks like I missed an awesome weekend... I've been holed up in my house sick as a dog. Damn viruses!

Thanks for the vicarious enjoyment.

accadacca
12-10-2007, 09:02 AM
Alta ROCKS! You da man! :snowguy:

asdf
12-10-2007, 11:32 AM
very nice!


:hail2thechief: Looks like I missed an awesome weekend... I've been holed up in my house sick as a dog. Damn viruses!
Sorry to hear your sick D.
Did you get a pass anywhere?