A Guide to Big Mountain Skiing by JacksonHogen and Guru Dave Powers
Snowbird Secrets: A Guide to Big Mountain Skiing is available for you to enjoy right now.
I came down from the High Desert to spend the weekend at the Bird to get out of the heat and the solitude. It was really exciting to be back on the hill, with the wild flowers out in full force. All that rain really helped push the crop this season. The Cool Air Concerts featured The Young Dubliners on Plaza that drew the biggest crowd I had ever seen. Standing room only. Here is a shot of the band as they took the stage. I got to see a lot of folks that I only get to see in the Winter, so it was like old home week, catching up and seeing what everyone was up to. On Sunday, I climbed the hill to get an up close and personal look at the terrain, and get a real sense of what just how steep the hill is. Even the flat Cat Tracks are much steeper than we feel when skiing. They seem so flat when you are ripping down, but going up gives a whole fresh perspective. Here is a shot of Hellgate in the Kodachrome clarity of the air. The 3D effect was stunning. On the Peak there were a lot of folks checking out the view. These two folks were having a great time and were glad to be in such a high and spectacular place on such a great day. The Peak facility is moving ahead very rapidly, with the big detail wall finished and stripped of the forms this week. Here is a shot of the Bird Wings that were formed into the facade. This building is going to be very cool, and the progress on the exterior deck is coming along nicely. The Down Hill Bike Single Track is open and getting a lot of use. A lot of work has been done on the Track this season and is riding very well. With the Wildflower explosion, taking the runs is a major color blast. Be sure to get up to the hill to take advantage of the Summer fun. Back to the High Desert and the continued deep studies. Syrup won’t stop ‘EM!!
I took a Tram ride this morning to check out the progress on the peak facility and it was quite warm on the peak, but not as hot as it was in the Valley where the temps. where pushing 100 Degrees. Here is a shot of the progress as the interior is really beginning to take shape, and the footings for the big deck are almost ready to be poured. Compare and contrast from last post. It was great being on the peak again, and there is still snow out in the big bowls, but it is going fast and will not be lasting long. The single track bike trail is shaping up and work has been done to get it smoothed out. Be sure to check the Bird site for availability. I will be trying to get some shots of the trail as the season progresses. Here is a shot of the Mc Donald family who were enjoying the peak after moving to the Utah a couple of months ago. They are going to love it here. The Cool Air Concerts are being held on Saturday nights, which feature national talent and are well worth getting up the hill to attend, not to mention the cooler temps. after the heat of this High Pressure system that is parked over the state. All of the activities are open and happening daily so come up and take advantage of the fun. Lastly, here is a shot of the Uni Mog that is parked out front of the Plaza. This is such a classic vehicle. The Big Cycle continues to turn and it will be delivering the goods in the not to far distant future. Stay Frosty!!
The new peak facility is shaping up quickly. I took a Tram ride to the peak to check things out after a gracious lunch at the Forklift where Neil was showing old archive photos of the early years of the Bird. There were shots of architect renderings of the Plaza and a future look, and surprisingly, most of the model has been realized. The Cliff Lodge expansion far exceeded those visions and is still ahead of it’s time. Here is a shot of the structure where the progress is most evident. Sub grade work continues on the surrounding deck with the excavator and articulating truck digging out the area for the footings and foundation for the external deck. This is going to be great getting off the Tram. There is still quite a bit of snow up high, and it was kind of inviting, but the sun cups and debris on the slopes were problematic, so I did not harbor any ideas of getting ambitious, however, there were some tracks out in Mineral Basin. I visited with the Disney Princesses – Poccahontas and Rapunzel who were visiting the Bird for the first time. They were blown away with all the activity and terrain they saw on the trip, and I suspect they will return to see what a real deep powder day at the Bird has to offer. I just though you would all like to see the progress, and it looks like they are well on the way to an on time opening for next season. More to come, but in the mean time, I am busy getting the DEEP SPACE TRANSMISSIONS at the Trailer. Things are getting very interesting. Peace Out!!
I had a very nice time at Brew Fest today, the weather was perfect and there was some great music in the main area. I got there early so I could grab lunch at the Forklift and then hit the music venue where a good friend of mine was playing with Sin City Soul. They were outstanding and were as tight and funky as can be. I had never heard him play even though I have know Dude for over 40 years. Somehow, I just never was able to get to it, but here is a shot of the band rocking it old school.There were numerous acts to come after this group, so the day was full of music and fun. They had a very nice arts and crafts area that had cool stalls with a wide variety to shop. Here is a great shot of the Dude himself working bass line and locking in the groove. Make it a point to get up there for tomorrow’s festivities, as the weather will be great and the beer is flowing. Stay Frosty!!
In my early years here at the Bird, there was a very advanced crew of back country skiers who would work Mineral Basin as a personal back yard. Here is a shot of one of the Bookend Chutes off of Toad Hill 15 years before there was lift service in the back. They did this all on long skinny skis and really heavy boots. They would make numerous laps out there and get the best of the best and then have to do the long slog out of there. Mr Thiel sent me these shots from his archives, which include so many memories that are not dated in the least, as this terrain remains unchanged for the most part. Here is another shot looking back at the turns out of the Finger Chutes. How many Winters did the all that powder go begging back before the Bird was made a reality? Fortunately, we have now arrived at the proper point in the Time Line that lets us have at all this terrain. Now, looking forward, as the Bird begins a new motion into the future, we have new views to imagine lines. Before we know it, we will be putting down lines on this terrain, and this is just a tiny piece of a very large canvas that exists just over the ridge, just like those earlier shots of Mineral Basin. Here is a shot of Seth, operating the excavator on the peak, as he digs the foundation holes for the new deck that will surround the new peak facility. This will entirely eliminate the congestion getting off of the Tram deck. Progress is coming along nicely. Don’t forget that this weekend Snowbird is hosting the Brewfest, with live music, activities, and lots of fun. Be sure to get up there as the weather is going to be great. Stay Frosty!!
I came back down from the High Desert where I have got the Trailer all set up and receiving the TRANSMISSIONS loud and clear, so I thought a trip up the Tram was in order. I met this lovely lady from Texas who was here for the first time and was taking the time to make it to the top of the world. I am sure she was duly impressed with the terrain and all the snow on the upper elevations. With this super wet spring there is still a lot of snow on the upper elevations, with some very nice looking smooth surfaces that might corn up nicely when we get some of thewarm days that are promised, but you will have to hike Alta or White Pine to get the goods. I think it would be well worth the effort. The progress of the peak facility is coming along, with detail work on the utilities and interior walls looking good. Here is a shot of a brand new CAT excavator sitting here at 11,000′ in front of the new structure .While I was up on the peak, I was looking back into Mineral Basin where there is still a lot of snow that sent my mind to the days when there were no lifts back there, and we used to climb Twin Peaks and look back on the incredible terrain there. We had such great days back there and I am looking forward to hitting that area again. Well, back to High Desert as I make my way back to the Dark Matter Wars. Peace Out!!
Last season seemed to pass like this bubble that Wynonna sent to me from the last day’s celebration on the plaza deck. It was created, floated through the brief moment in time and exploded in a puff of mist to become the past. Like this bubble, however, the season was beautiful and perfect in it’s own way, and held a singular quality that was held in each and every day. Granted, the quantity of snow fall was not as much as would have been wished, but the quality of the pack was strong with days that were memorable as they were explored. Even the last day of the season delivered a special accumulation to treat the faithful who were squeezing the last moments out of the bubble. A special thanks to all the folks that make the Bird turn. Here is a shot of one of the members of the Cat Crew who did an outstanding job of smoothing the hill for each day, making the perfect corduroy worth getting up for those first Tram mornings. Thanks to the Ski Patrol, and the lift operators and mechanics that kept us safe and moving up the hill. It takes a monumental coordination of effort to launch each and every day, and I am grateful for all the folks that make it happen. A special mention of appreciation to the crew at the Forklift, who took care of the morning crew with grace and style. I will be moving the Trailer to it’s undisclosed location in the High Desert while I, once again, rejoin the Dark Matter Wars that are still on going in the Multiverse. I will try and add some features to the site for next season, so we will see how it all turns out. I will be posting on a regular basis to chronicle the activities and progress on the hill, so check back form time to time. Be safe, have fun, and I will see you there for the first Tram next season. Syrup won’t stop ‘EM!!
The faithful were on hand early this morning to be among the first to experience the fresh 10” of Essence for these last turns of the season. Visibility on the peak was still marginal, but the quality of the fresh accumulation was skiing as well as any Mid Winter would offer. Though there were many variables underneath the new snow, and the push to hit every square inch would not stop the faithful from getting it all. A lot of P Tex was left on the covered rocks. I got some wonderful lines that did not seem possible after yesterday’s variables. What a treat it was indeed. Here is a shot of Wynonna and D Ripper standing in front a view of Mineral Basin looking mystical through the clouds. You have to know the turns would have been really good back there, but then there is next season, which will be coming back around with the certainty of the BIG CYCLE. We must go in order to return as does the snow pack. The clouds began to move off, with Sun beginning to poke through from time to time. Here is a shot of the Canyon with the Green Wave of Spring moving up as the days pass. It is interesting to see the contrast between the Green and the snow flocked North side of the Canyon. On the Plaza deck, the Benefit for the Nepalese Earth Quake was the high light of the day after the great conditions. Great music was on tap on the stage that made the entire day a very festive event. The parking lot was packed and there were still folks arriving in droves as I headed back to the Trailer. Who could blame them all for wanting to get these last turns of the season. Here is a better shot of Mineral Basin as seen through the clouds hugging the peak. Stay tuned for a wrap up post I will be writing in the next few days to look back and reflect of this past season. Syrup won’t stop ‘EM!!
It was another Winter like morning, with snow falling and marginal visibility to start out the day. Fairly light traffic was on hand for the first Trams of the day, leaving plenty of room to scope out the conditions. The Groomers were quite firm, though they did offer some traction, but the off trail was still a bit interesting with the new accumulation only slightly cushioning yesterday’s installment. I did a couple of off trail lines just to check out the consistency, where I found some lines that were fairly approachable, but my knees were begging for me to stop pushing the issue. The traffic increased as did the snow fall, which started to dump in a serious manner. Today was also the traditional Running of the ELVI!! Here is a shot of the crew just about ready to hit the stage as they left the Green Room. They were in high spirits, and the soggy weather did not dampen the vibrations as they made their way to the main stage. Here they are, assembled and ready to rock the Bird with their signature brand of style and grace. I know they had a great time bringing the spirit of the KING to the hill and the Bird will never be the same. Tomorrow, look for another cloudy morning as this system moves off, more accumulation covering the hill, and much better conditions for the last day of the season. I think there will be enough accumulation to cushion the old layer, so bring the powder boards out for the occasion. I will see you there for the festivities. There will be an event to help the folks in Nepal after the big earthquake. Be there for the last day celebration. Thank you very much!!!
It was much like a Winter morning with cold temps., marginal visibility, and a light dusting of new snow that had fallen overnight. With the cold temps. and slight accumulation, the off trail was very difficult as it had frozen up, and the machine worked runs were firm, though they did offer sufficient traction. The visibility was the main issue, as the fog was dense and the details were quite hard to discern. I did a Mark Malu and a Regulator to assess the situation, and decided to hit the Forklift Chair to see if there might be a break as the Valley was sunny and clear. Here is a shot of the last day of Mineral Basin looking toward Pagan Bowl with the melted off terrain as a contrast. The front of the hill has much more snow and the cover remains good overall. Tomorrow, look for a weather day, so dress for the conditions and anticipate some terrain limitations. The prediction is for snow throughout the day so there may be a bit more traffic on the hill to take advantage of the last blast of the season. I will be there for an unusual Saturday occasion to soak in the vibe of these last two days. See you there for the morning session. IBBY!!