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.
There were high winds associated with the pre frontal approach of our next installment that is predicted to begin sometime tomorrow. The clouds were holding off a bit for the first hours of the day, but the light was still a bit flat to be sure despite the periodic Sun peaking through. Yesterday’s warmth in the afternoon softened Regulator and the lower mountain, which froze up very solidly with the overnight cold. Regulator was very firm and required some serious edges to negotiate it with any degree of traction. I chose to shlarve and shmear my way down just to get by the upper section. I will deal with sticking my turns later when we have some softer snow to deal with. Here is a shot of the Lower Cirque in the morning Sun looking promising, but still is not ready for prime time quite yet. We will have to see what this storm brings, and perhaps it will be enough to get this side of the hill open. Tomorrow, look for weather to be the feature of the day. There will still be very firm conditions on the machine worked lines. Coverage remains good on the prepared runs, but be aware of the slick conditions. Dress for weather. The morning session should provide the best of the day before the precipitation begins. I will be going off planet for the next couple of days, so I will not be able to post. Look for the next post on Friday, when I should be able to get Web access again. SEE THE LINE BE THE LINE!!!
Temperatures rose this morning, making the first runs comfortable and smooth. The snow guns were being shut down during the first hour as the temps. were getting too high for quality. The Gun Powder below the break over was velvety smooth and felt great under foot. The super light traffic was a treat with no pressure from the folks coming from behind. Still, I was looking over my shoulder when changing fall lines just in case. The sides of the runs were still the place to find the soft snow, but nice machine worked lines had good traction and easy flow. The Tram pace was a bit more relaxed and making back to back lifts were much easier than the weekend pace. Here is a shot I took from up canyon looking up the Peruvian Gulch to let you see the cover which will benefit from this coming storm that is coming in during the Wednesday- Thursday window. Let’s keep our fingers crossed for some significant accumulation. While I was parked taking this shot I turned and got this shot of Hellgate looking massive. Every where you turn is a great shot. Tomorrow, look for another day of very light traffic, increasing clouds which will make visibility a bit flat, and South winds that may make things interesting. There may be some transportation happening, so keep your eyes open for accumulated pockets. The Grooming will be offering smooth and reliable lines, and coverage remains excellent on the main run. This time is best for getting into shape and getting the cobwebs worked out. I saw a lot of friends working the hill in fine form indeed, with all the cylinders firing. Fun to see some of the lines being brought off Regulator in full effect. Yeah, I am talking about you Vince!! Keep rockin’ it. IBBY!!
Another clear cold morning greeted the crew as the First Tram hit the peak. Once again, the snow guns were pounding out the goods on the hill top to bottom. Regulator was offering the best Gun Powder on the hill, but the way the wind was blowing, you had to negotiate the firm upper section until you hit the bottom two thirds, where the deluxe dust was building up as the wind transported the wash down hill. I dialed back the roll to get as much roundness into each turn as I could. I love getting the entire ski riding the loaded arc. Here is a shot of the one of the guns down toward the bottom of Regulator where you can see the nice build up of goodness . Gun Powder is another one of the types of perfection if it is done right, and this was good gravy!! Traffic was light during the morning hours and no waiting for the lifts was a treat. The right side of Big Emma had developed some acute medium amplitude interference patterns that looked painful to my knees but was getting a lot of attention. The cover there was good, and folks were charging the line through the troughs. There is still plenty of soft snow to get traction top to bottom, but there are some slick spots. Sticking to the sides will offer the deepest piles of dust. That is what I was aiming for all the way down. Today was also the first day that the morning crew gathered over at the Forklift for the traditional morning breakfast repast. This makes year 40 for this tradition. We all have gotten older, but the folks at the Forklift stay the same age. Tomorrow, look for very light traffic as the weekend push will be gone. The Groomers will be the only game in town, however, the light traffic will make it a bit more negotiable to maintain a line without looking over your shoulder every turn. Look for the goods under the guns again and stay close to the sides for the best snow. See you there for the first Boat. Don’t forget to SIZZLE!!
It was a clear cold morning as the First Tram hit the peak. The snow guns were blazing all night long, delivering a sweet coating of Gun Powder that was a serious treat to start the day. I dialed back the roll to dig in as deep as I could into each turn to get as much as I could of that delight. With the terrain being limited, you have to take the high lights where you find them. A nice job by the Cat Crew made the line down the lower mountain smooth, where good traction was easy to get, though it is still a bit firm. Here is a shot of the Guns Blazing on Regulator. You can tell by the ski wash that the consistency was dry and cold, with the product blowing up and hanging in the still morning air. There was fairly light traffic, so walk on Trams were happening when I got down from my first run. I really like the new RFID passes, as they let you walk right through the gate with no waiting. I still find myself trying to dig my pass out of my coat just out of habit, but it is no longer an issue. Sweet. The air was clear and cold and I got this shot looking down canyon. This view never gets old. The Sun is still low in the sky during the first morning hour or so, so Regulator is in the shade, however, that seems to preserve the quality just that much longer. Tomorrow, look for another Gun Powder morning of fun after the guns do their work. You can still expect great coverage, with no rocks top to bottom. I am very surprised by the great cover. The Snow Makers and Cat Crew have been doing a great job keeping things good to go. Be sure to get there early for the best of the day and the easy traffic in the early hours. Syrup Won’t Stop ‘ EM!!
This was the best opening day that we have seen in a number of years, with good cover on the open run and the Tram open with Regulator covered very nicely with no rocks top to bottom. The stoke was palpable as the faithful pulled in to make the first runs. The new pass scanners were super fast and I did not have to dig my pass out of my coat. That was a very nice touch. Last night’s snow fall was cold and dense, making the carving fun and consistent. The man made base was well in evidence, but that sugary snow on top was a real treat that made me feel like I had never left. The Sun came out and the wind was stiff with plumes blowing off the peaks all around. Here is a shot of the West Twin with the accumulation beginning to cover the steep sections up high. There was a slight delay on the Tram opening, so I took the opportunity to get in some laps on the Chair. When I did get over to the Tram it was great to get back in the swing of things. Here is a shot of a couple who was experiencing their first visit. I know they were going to have fun, and how could they not. When I got to the peak, the wind was stiff, but that kept the surface snow moving, which seemed to deposit some nice dust on the hard sections. I was working the edges next to the ropes to get all of the soft smooth lines I could squeeze out of the available terrain. Here is a shot of the Summit At Hidden Peak with the exterior complete and the work on the inside moving along quickly. This is the coolest place to hang out at 11,000′ anywhere. I can’t wait to chill inside and take in the vista into Mineral Basin. Tomorrow, look for fair traffic to be on hand for the first Saturday of the season, and remember there is only one run available with limited room to move. The cover is very good but still look for some of the off the beaten path sections to have some surprises. I skied off the right hand side of Emma and did not hit anything at all, but there was a bit of a zipper crust, however, that got skied out and was not an issue after the first hour. Be there early for the best of the day. See you there for the fun. IBBY!!
The Trailer has been fully set up for the Winter and the horses in the corral are stoked to have some company. They always greet me going and coming everyday. Up on the hill, preparations are ongoing in anticipation for the opening next weekend. I went up to see how the snow fall from last week looks on the hill. The snow guns are working hard to put down as much base as possible and the cats were working on the mountain to pack out what is there and smooth out the ride. A new avalanche device was being placed up on Superior. Here is a shot of this very unique device that was being prepped for a lift via helicopter. It is always like being a kid when a helicopter is flying around up close and personal. The pilot was awesome and made shortwork of picking up the device and placing it on the pedestal way up on the mountain. ZIP ZIP ZIP!!!This was quite a site to behold with the blade wash pounding around me as the pilot made the pick. It was just a few minutes later that the UDOT crew remotely fired it twice with a very impressive blast. KABOOOM!! There is a fairly good looking storm moving in for Sunday Monday, with lingering flurries into Tuesday, but I don’t want to jinx it so I will just pretend I don’t know about it. While I was up there, the low sun angle was making the Tram Cables glow with an incredible iridescence that was really amazing. Well, a brand new season is approaching like a freight train and there is no stopping that flow of time. The Big Cycle Return is here and I am anticipating a great season. My new Dynastar Cham 97’s are in the shop getting mounted and I will be ready to roll when the first bell sounds. See you there for the first day’s excitement!! IBBY!!
The return to the ski season is getting very close, and my trip to the peak today gave me the first stirrings of anticipation. The Twins were shrouded in clouds with a light dusting looking promising out in Little Cloud. It was very cold on the peak, with a stiff breeze that made my light fleece woefully insufficient against the temps. that shouted that Winter is coming. We were able to walk across the new deck to the stairway out to the main area, which was a treat after watching all the work being done to get it finished before this all moved in. The new deck furniture is in place and is just waiting for the first time that the faithful will be able to hang out and enjoy the high elevation ambiance that this out door deck will provide. It was Trick or Treat day and the Plaza deck looked festive and was getting busy as I came down from the peak to get my lunch and the Forklift, which I just love to visit and visualize the season that is quickly approaching. Here is a shot of the gang that was ready to greet the kids who will be coming to get the goodies that await. Behind the crew is the new snow safety device that is new for this season and a first in the Canyon. It uses Oxygen and Hydrogen to create a blast to stabilize the pack after a dump. It will be interesting to see how it works, however, it will be placed way up on Superior, but if you look closely you will be able to make it out. It is cool to have it right here for an up close look at the device. A more significant impulse is predicted for early next week, so perhaps we will get a bigger dose of the Essence. I am dancing as hard as I can. Syrup won’t stop ‘ EM!!
We enter the last stretch on our way into the new season, which promises to be a great one if all the prognostications come true. I have noticed that the Yellow Jackets have been very aggressive for the last 6 weeks and that has always been a good sign to me. Up on the hill, there was a light dusting that was delivered earlier this past week. Here is a shot of the Twinswith a taste of things to come in the near future. The peak has been freed up from all the construction gear and the new structure is looking sleek and put together, with the deck furniture ready to be placed. I can’t wait to get a look inside, as I have been told the view of Mineral Basin out the back is stunning. Here is a shot I took today. It sure has come a long way this Summer. The Chili Bird Showdown was held today and word was out that it was great and hard to pick just one. as they were all so good. I had to bail from the festivities to get things done here at the Trailer. While I was on the deck I stopped by the Forklift to say Hi to the gang. Here is a shot of Kayla who always has a huge smile and is bringing the joy full time. Also, Margo and Nicole were on deck and working hard to get all the details put together for the big push. They, too, always have a smile and welcoming spirit that makes anytime I sit down feel like home. I will be looking forward to my breakfast tradition for the Season. Click on the Snowbird Secrets banner at the top of the page and read a chapter and order your copy today. It is only $2.99 as an E download, and it will be the next best thing to hard workouts to get ready for the season. Wax ’em up folks it won’t be long now. IBBY!!!
Time is flying right along as we build up the slide into the Winter Season. The leaves are beginning to fall, the temps are cooling, but are still above normal. It sure is nice to get a bit of extended Summer feel. I took a Tram the other day to stand at the same point I will occupy when I step off the for the first run. Just trying to see the future. Here is a shot of Mineral Basin looking South. This terrain is stark and steep, but when it is covered with the goods, it is going to be MMMM MMMM GOOD!!I ran into Ed and Caroline, who were leading a tour off the peak. It is great to touch base with folks who are so in tune with the Mountain and it’s Currents. The weather was really perfect, and even a sweater was really not needed at all. I was scoping out all the lines and noting the high spots and grassy lines to visualize the internal imaginings that become reality when it is time to get down to it. The peak facility is being worked on hard. All the heavy equipment has been taken down, the last of the external panels will be complete soon. The guard rails are going in, with the stair case almost complete. Here is a shot I got from a much closer point. I met this gentleman on the peak, who was doing recon for his group that may be coming out next July. I think he will be hard pressed to find a better place to be for an event. I got my new Dynastar Cham 97’s and I am stoked. Soon I will be able to put them to full use. Look for the Snowbird Secrets site by clicking on the banner. The book has the insights that will prime you for the steep and deep, and it is only $2.99 as as an e version. Don’t for get to hit realskiers. com right there on my links page. Jackson is pumping out some very insightful information on equipment, procurement, and context that is invaluable. Get ready, it will happen fast. Don’t bink!! Syrup Won’t Stop ‘Em!!
The Summer warmth is still holding on this late in September, making the days up on the hill pleasant and fun. The Octoberfest was full on going off once again this weekend, and the vibe was great. Once again, I took a Tram to the peak to check out the progress. Mr. Duckworth showed me the new developments first hand. Here is a great shot of him pointing out the details. The exterior deck is now complete and very expansive. Check out this shot of from the corner looking South. This will be a great place to hang out and chill on those pleasant days that aresure to make that a great option. The colors are at their high point now, but are going to be falling off soon. Here is a shot of the Aspens on the lower mountain. This is a sure sign that theWinter is not far away, but the forecast is for continued warm days for the next while. I also took this shot looking down canyon with the vast reaches nicely detailed in the clear air. That is some formidable terrain that is just waiting for the return of the Essential Substance that will begin coming back from the Big Cycle in the not to far distant future. I am looking forward to a great season. Be sure to check out my book, which is now only 2.99 as an E version. Just click on the banner on the top of the page to go to the Snowbird Secrets site. Be sure to visit Jackson Hogen’s site realskiers.com, which is linked on my links page. He has been putting up a lot of very good, critical information on equipment that will be invaluable going into the season. Stay Frosty!!!