Today Carly and a couple of her friends from her MBA program escaped the heat of the valley–currently sitting at approximately 93°F here in SLC–for a morning of spring skiing in the Uintas. I haven’t done much spring skiing so Carly and I were potentially under prepared without crampons or a piolet. However the snow was forgiving enough that it didn’t become a problem. We skinned and booted up Bald Mountain in the Uintas. As we neared the top the snow was getting less supportable so we switched over a few hundred vertical feet from the summit unfortunately and skied down. The turns were better than expected though and perhaps we should have gone to the top.
Though things seem to have returned to normal, back in late April through Memorial Day we’ve had some really wet weather in Salt Lake City. While no records were broken there were many, many days we had rain, clouds, or drizzle. The persistent rain was really a bummer for climbing opportunities, but for getting everything green it worked well. On a hike Carly and I took up Neff’s Canyon on a rainy day it felt a lot more like the Pacific Northwest rather than the desert of SLC.
The afternoon of April 14 we had a cold front move through the state and generate some pretty crazy weather. Dust from the many large dry lake beds was whipped up in the winds which gusted to 90 mph in some of the canyons. Because of the crappy air quality in the winter we have air quality sensors around the state and the one in SLC spiked to almost 300 micrograms per m^3. This is described as “Hazardous” by the EPA, or in other words: “This would trigger health warnings of emergency conditions. The entire population will most likely be affected.”. Luckily this warning is based on a 24 hour average and the spike was only a few hours long, but it was impossible to see the mountains or more than about 1/2 mile.
After the front the temperature dropped, precipitously about 20+ degrees in 10 minutes and continued to fall after that as it began to snow. Keep in mind the max temp at the SLC airport was 75 degrees on April 14.
So what does one do when it snows in Utah? Go skiing of course!
Skied this morning at the Bird. Conditions were…awesome compared to a normal East Coast winter…good compared to a normal Utah winter…very good for this Utah winter. I did get 1.5 clean shots into Mineral Basin as the roped dropped. Best turns all year for sure. Last night after work was apparently the holy grail as we had some wind overnight and today adversely affecting the snow. The guys that dusk patrolled last night said it was the deepest they’d ever skied and they are not fresh off the bunny slope types. All said and done: Snowbird 45″ and Brighton 22″. Solitude, Canyons, PCMR, Deer Valley, Snow Basin all already closed for the season so who cares? They did get much less due to the magic vortex of snow generation that is Little Cottonwood Canyon.
About a month ago I was on my way up to Snowbird to enjoy some of the fruits of what the lowest snow year on record has to offer and I spied some low angled ice up Little Cottonwood. The next day Aaron and I headed over and climbed it for a fun little outing. Perhaps the last ice I’ll climb all season.
After Carly’s GMAT exam on Saturday we headed to the City of Rocks. Being less than 3 hours away it is a very doable trip mid way through the day Saturday for a weekend excursion. We headed out after lunch and were at Parking Lot Rock around 4. We didn’t get a ton of climbing in but we did have fun. Fun BLM camping and looking for friends, good grippy granite, sunny weather–though it did get blustery and chilly on Sunday. First of many trips this season I’m sure!