Categories
Ski

Return of Winter 2017

Carly making some turns on a bluebird day.
Carly making some turns on a bluebird day.

February 23 & 26, 2017

For almost two weeks in mid-February I was a bit worried that our stellar skiing winter had come to an end.  Luckily the warm weather seeing temperatures up to the high 50’s and 60’s in the valley, and rain up to 9,000′ came to an end last Tuesday/Wednesday.  Winter returned and returned with a vengeance.  A storm dropped between 3-4′ of blower powder Wednesday thru Friday.  I was able to get out Thursday and ski the deepest powder I’d ever experienced.  Because of the amount of light snow it was tough at times to keep the tips up and it was an exhausting day, but it was so good we did a triple lap at Short Swing.  I wished I had something wider than 105mm skis.  We were in the white room much of the day with the blower pow.  ūüôā

While Carly and I headed out yesterday, Saturday, and the conditions were quite good, both of us were feeling off and on top of that it was cold so we only did a single lap at USA Bowl.  Today the weather broke and the sun came out making for a stellar bluebird day for some powder skiing.  We headed to Silver Fork, a zone we haven’t been to before.  The views were gorgeous and the snow was great.  The amount and lightness of the snow from late in the week has settled quite a bit and the powder was much more bouncy.

Categories
Nature & Hiking

Bryce Canyon National Park

Sunrise point.
Sunrise point.

May 9-10, 2015

Weather in Utah has been uncharacteristically rainy here in Utah for the last few weeks. ¬†The last few weekends have been rainy or threatened rain. ¬†This weekend and the coming week are forecasted for more of the same. ¬†The precipitation isn’t all bad, though since we got very little snow over the winter the water is needed.

Carly and I took advantage of the questionable weather to take a trip down to Bryce Canyon National park and be Utah tourists.  Many of the attractions that bring normal people to Utah get ignored by me and my friends.  Usually we are always trying to figure out the next climbing trip.  But, with at least 30-40% chance of rain basically everywhere within a reasonable drive we decided to visit Bryce.

The drive from Salt Lake is only about 4 hours, which we did midday Friday. ¬†Leaving work a little early allowed us to make dinner in the park. ¬†Along the drive we hit some snow squalls which were quite heavy and foreshadowed what we’d see Saturday morning.

Saturday morning we woke up to a couple inches of snow on the ground and flakes still falling.  After sweeping off the picnic table we made some breakfast.  Our two bundles of wood were pretty well depleted after Friday night, but we saved a bit for a fire in the morning while we ate.  After breakfast we walked over to Sunset Point to start our day.  The snow provided a spectacular contrast to the red rocks.  I could attempt to write about how unique and amazing the scenery is, but the pictures below will do that much better than I can write.

Our day went down the Navajo Trail and then around the Peek-a-boo Loop which winds around the amphitheater of Bryce and through the forested floor. ¬†We took the Queen’s Garden Trail to get back to the rim. ¬†A short though, confusing shuttle ride brought us to Bryce Point and Inspiration Point.

Saturday evening we picked up another couple bundles of wood to keep warm while making dinner and for Sunday morn. ¬†Luckily there was no more precipitation overnight and Sunday was clear, but windy and cold. ¬†My cold symptoms ramped up and I wasn’t feel up for more hiking–our plan was Fairyland loop. ¬†Instead we took the car to the southern tip of the park and some of the overlooks there.

It isn’t hard to see why this area got protected by the government as a National Park. ¬†The views are spectacular. ¬†I’m hoping we can come back and do the Fairlyland loop some time soon.

Categories
Ski

Full-on Conditions in Little Cottonwood

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Once to the ridge we dug a pit on the lee side.

January 27, 2013

When I started getting my ski gear together in late November I intentionally got equipment that I could use both at the resort and in the backcountry. ¬†My kit is probably geared a little more towards backcountry and less to the resort. ¬†Nonetheless I’ve gone to the resorts a few times. ¬†Saturday I was at Snowbird thanks to a cheap ticket deal. ¬†The resort time was intended to help me get my legs back under me on skis so I could handle the off-piste (yeah that’s ski snob for off-trail) excursions.

Sunday I headed up Little Cottonwood with some folks from work and one wife for some touring. ¬†I fitted my approach ski skins to my new skis and they worked ok, but not good enough that I’ll be going out again before getting some new skins. ¬†They were way too narrow and I couldn’t get up off camber tracks. ¬†Nonetheless they let me at least get to some fun.

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Making some turns in the fresh snow.

We are in the midst of a lull in a 5 day storm now but on Sunday it was snowing pretty good. ¬†Mostly graupel up in the canyons. ¬†The winds were also pretty fierce and they increased as the day went on–to the point it was difficult to see. ¬†Given the rapid wind loading we played it pretty conservative. ¬†We dug a pit just on the lee side of the ridge we skinned up to. ¬†Overall the snow was pretty stable, but there was a soft wind layer sitting on a well-defined bed surface. ¬† Because of that we opted to stick to the windward side which we came up. ¬†Even then we stuck to fairly low angle slopes. ¬†I would guess no more than 30 degrees.

The biggest thing I’ve had trouble with in skiing so far is just keeping my legs fresh. ¬†They get pumped out pretty quickly and I usually stop 2-3 or maybe 4 times on the way down at the resort. ¬†This weekend it was a little more difficult to do that because I didn’t want to lose my friends. ¬†The good thing was the snow was nice. ¬†Powder but not too deep. ¬†Skiing on soft, untracked snow is awesome, like turning on a cloud.

After two runs we were all set with the conditions which got worse as we were there. ¬†The temps weren’t cold but the wind was blowing around 30 mph by my guess. ¬†The snow was much more horizontal than anything else. ¬†We ripped it down to the cars and enjoyed some beers in the parking lot. ¬†Good times and hopefully the first of many.