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Snowbird Secrets: A Guide to Big Mountain Skiing by Jackson Hogen and Guru Dave Powers
A Guide to Big Mountain Skiing by Jackson
Hogen and Guru Dave Powers

Snowbird Secrets: A Guide to Big Mountain Skiing is available for you to enjoy right now.

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The sky was clear this morning with great visibility and an area of new terrain to explore.  The Peruvian Gulch was open and offering beautiful machine worked lines as well as off trail leftovers from yesterday.  Rat’s Nest opened later as well, which gave access to the lower section of the entire Cirque up to a new rope line.  The turns in there were very nice indeed, and getting some untracked lines was a real treat.  The Groomers were feeling very nice as well, with the snow guns turning out some excellent Gun Powder that was untracked on the ignored lines that hid out in that early morning flat light before the Sun comes up over the ridge.  Here is a shot I took from the entrance into Mineral Basin from the Chips cat track.  dsc04104With more snow on the way in the next few days, it won’t be too long until we get back there to revisit the favorite lines and  Lewis and Clark explorations.  I am looking forward to that with great anticipation.  The Gad side of the hill was feeling very nice as well, with the snow guns on Regulator pumping out the velvet all the way down the right side.  I stayed over on the Peruvian side of the hill for most of the day to check out the different areas.  I will be staying on the beaten path until we get more snow, just to be safe.  image1Here is a shot that my friend Mike took of his line just out of the mouth of Great Scott.   Tomorrow, look for snow flurries that will be continuing throughout the day.  Not much in the way of accumulation is expected, but it will be nice to have some fresh product on the hill.  Conditions are really looking up and there is great snow to find and  extract the most out of the turn.   See you dark and early for the first boat.  IBBY!!



There was a high overcast deck over the Valley this morning, that was high enough to keep the visibility good, but the flat light made the details a bit tricky from time to time.  The Peruvian Gulch opened today, offering excellent powder for the faithful to ply for the first time on that side of the hill.  All reports were stellar, with many of the more out of the way lines holding up for a number of runs.  Knowing the ignored lines pays dividends.  Some of those underlying reefs were cropping up here and there, but staying with fat guts were a safe bet.  I got this great shotdsc04097of that Northeast facing aspect of Mineral Basin.  That is still waiting in the wings for sometime in the future, so if  you missed the opening of the Peruvian Gulch, you can catch the first opening here.  Stay tuned.  The Gad side of the hill has been holding up really well despite the concentrated traffic this week, but the snow making efforts are a huge improvement and are providing some stellar Gun Powder.  Here is a shot I took the other day where the Patrol Shack used to be to, once again, give an idea of the clear vista that is present there now.  dsc04094Tomorrow, look for the snow to still be soft over on the Peruvian side of the hill, with machine worked lines that will be fresh and fun.  Freshly machine worked lines are always so delightful, with the corduroy making perfect turns a snap.  I think you will have a great time no matter which line you choose tomorrow, so get there early and ride the fresh lines.  Stay Frosty!!



Early morning flurries and late afternoon flurries framed a beautiful day of smooth sliding.  A few millimeters of fluff accumulated before the first Tram got off the dock, and that was a delight on top of the re worked lines that were smooth and dialable.   The Snow Guns were blazing once again, turning out some very nice velvet that was begging for some deep round turns.  dsc04100Here is a shot taken from Peak in the space that the old Patrol Shack once occupied.  It is great to have this great view unobstructed.  The trees are flocked with the fresh snow that has fallen in the past few days, kept fresh with the cold temps that we have been seeing.  I am still wearing my cold weather coat despite the Sun.  The Peruvian side of the hill did not open today, and promises to open tomorrow.  There are some beautiful lines waiting for the folks who show up for the opening. The quality over there is all time and will be blower and sweet.  Here is a shot of the Lower Cirque looking sweet in the low angle Sun.  dsc04095It will be good to get that area opened so it will all get packed out and become more consistent for the next accumulation event.  The pack has come a long way in the last week and the pattern looks like it will continue to bring more to the hill in the next while.  Here is another shot of the Lower Cirque I took from the Tram with the window scratches making for some interesting texture!!dsc04103Tomorrow, you can count on a great day of new terrain that has some very high quality product just waiting for the Faithful to work it in.  It will be good sliding on both sides of the hill.  I will be taking the day off for some rest and relaxation.  Enjoy the great early season conditions.  IBBY!!



There were light flurries all day today, which made the visibility interesting as the clouds moved in and out.  The first run had some ultra light dust that had fallen and it felt great on the already soft lines.  Regulator was open off the Tram again, with the snow guns putting down a beautiful layer of Gun Powder that just seemed to mount up run after run with the perfect temps. making the product exquisite.  I dialed back the roll to extract as much juice from each turn as possible.   With a rework of the Regulator machine worked line, the consistency improved markedly from yesterday.  Very light traffic was another nice feature that kept the runs wide open with no pressure.  dsc04093The Peak is has a whole new feel with the old Patrol Shack gone. It is wide open and the view is clear.  Today, you could not see much, but during one lap I stopped into the Summit at Hidden Peak and soaked up the ambience as the storm raged outside the doors.  Before this building, it was tough to spend much time there in bad weather, but now you can sit and enjoy the energy of the peak Vortex with a warm and inviting space.  dsc04094Here is a shot of some of the great folks who provide the comfort food that is available there.   I am going to be getting some of that Pizza very soon, it looked sooo good.  Here is a great shot of the 3 guys who make the Summit hum.  Executive Chef George, The Manager Mark and the Assistant to the Manager Roger.  I got to spend some time talking to them about the coming season.  dsc04092Tomorrow, look for more great groomers to be on tap, with, perhaps, some overnight accumulation as we are still in a Northwesterly flow.  There may be some continued flurries during the day as well.  I heard rumors of a possible Peruvian Gulch opening, but I am not holding my breath. We will see, and keep your eye on the Bird’s site for official updates.  Conditions are very good, especially when you think of what we had just less than a week ago.  It’s here!!   Don’t Forget To SIZZLE!!



It was a cold morning, with a lot of humidity in the air that cut right through the layers.  Still, the Sun was coming up, the air was still, and the snow was great, with some very nice corduroy on which to dial in some turns.  The off trail had begun to set up, which took a bit more punch to push through.  Here is a great shot that Neil took of the morning Sun hitting the peaks.  20161130_092132Traffic was super light, and it was great to make turns without the full court press putting pressure on the limited terrain.  I really felt like I could make some turns that I knew I had in me, and that made the runs fun and brisk.  At 11:30AM I got the first official Tram of the season with all the folks who had their ear to the rail and were on hand when the turnstile turned on.  There was a great vibe on the Tram and everyone was stoked to be getting to the peak for the goods that were waiting on the sides.  I took this shot of the Cirque as I was going up.  Looking PHAT!!dsc04090Some high clouds moved in later in the day, making the light a bit flat, but the detail was very good and Regulator was lots of fun.  I dialed in turns under the blazing Snow Guns where I found some nice Gun Powder laying long and smooth down the fall line.  Gots to love that dry smooth velvet.   Tomorrow, look more off the peak runs down Regulator.  I think the Peruvian Gulch is some days away.  Getting the full 3000′ in one run will put an entirely different pace to the runs.  I took a great shot of Gillian, who was visiting The Bird for the first time and I wanted to add it here, but my camera let me down and it did not register.  Hope you both had a great time for your visit.  I’ll get it next time!!  Dress for another cold morning.  Stay Frosty!!



More Exquisite Powder fell overnight that was real righteous Utah Light. There was a fair turnout of the Faithful for the occasion, but the Quad made short work of it and by the time I got back to the bottom, it was walk on easy.  This cycle started out a bit dense, but as the accumulation stacked up it became lighter and lighter making the powder as good as it ever gets.  Here is a shot I took of the lower section of Puckerbrush that the patrol had come down during their control work.  You can see it is just what we have been waiting for. dsc04086I was lucky to have got this shot during this very brief appearance of the Sun.  It is deep  and perfect.   A few new sections of terrain were opened today, which offered some excellent off trail sliding that was quickly consumed, but the left overs were still soft and fun.  It will be good to get these sections worked over to pack out the base and make for more consistent turns.  With dsc04077the brief breaks in the clouds, the light was doing some very cool things with the flurries still hanging in the air.  Here is a rainbow type Sun Dog glowing in the mist.  I had to scramble to get my camera out fast enough to get this.   The firm layer of previous days is all but gone with all the new snow, and the quality held up all day long as the clouds kept the Sun from heating the air.  Tomorrow, look for the Tram to open later in the morning, offering Regulator Johnson for the first time of the Season.  You know the snow is going to be great up there and there is plenty of it.  I was told it will open before Noon.  Yes!!!

dsc04064 While standing in the line for the morning’s festivities I got to see additional folks who are back to begin the daily partaking of the goodness.  Mr. Cage is one of the greats and gets as much out of the hill as he can every day.  Great to see him here in his full retirement mode.  It will be full on and pumpin’ all season long.  Don’t Skimp On The Groove Sauce!!!



More of the Essence had stacked up overnight, leaving the main run open  covered with delightfully fluffulescent  product for the morning crew.  Very light traffic kept the quality very nice all morning long.  I ventured of the packed section of the lower mountain to taste some of the deeper untracked, where I found soft consistent lines that did not reflect the bottom at all.  There were some shrubberies sticking up through the new installment, but I just blazed right through them.  Snow was falling hard all day with waves of intensity that made the visibility get a bit shaky, but over all the visibility was good.   The hard packed layer was still there, but with the new snow, it was really of no consequence.   More of the crew showed up today and it was great catching up on all the Summer activities everyone had been doing.  It is like a going back to school type of feel.  I left early again to get ahead of the road conditions that were deteriorating with the intense snowfall.  Luckily, I got fresh new snow tires, which made for a more sure footed drive down in the greasy conditions.    Here is a piece of art I did over the Summer when I was going crazy with paint.  dsc04013Tomorrow, look for more snow to have fallen overnight with continuing flurries during the day off and on.  The snow is really stacking up and it won’t be long till we get a bit more terrain to ply.  It is still snowing hard here at the Trailer as I write this, and the season is off to a fine start, much as I had expected despite the warm fall and dry weather.  I knew it was going to turn. And, as The Chef always says, ” Don’t underestimate the Promise Of The Wasatch”.   Sage words for one who has been here since before the beginning.  Speed Safely!!



There was a modest turnout of the Faithful for the opening chair this morning, with snow falling heavily, it added to the 5 or 6” of fresh that had fallen overnight.  The only run offered for today’s festivities was soft and smooth for the opening runs, but quickly began to build the harbor chop with the high concentration of traffic.  There were no rocks at all, but venturing too far off the beaten path might be problematic.  I stayed right were I knew it was going to be consistent.  After the first push for the chair, the line evaporated and the crowd got spread out nicely, with walk on chairs a nice feature.  The Snow Guns were blasting top to bottom, and the gun wash was predictable with no wonkyness to throw you off.  Still, it was best to give them a wide berth in order to keep your goggles clear.  I ducked one gun and had to stop to wipe them off, but no issue at all.    The Chef had a banner garden this season, and he is still harvesting produce from the ground.  img_20161125_142157267This mondo carrot weighed in at over 5 lbs.  Now that is a carrot, and like the Chef says, ” you dig big carrots, you get big snow”.  The Chef is rarely wrong and has been spot on this entire preseason in his prognostications.   If you are coming out and need a place to stay, the Chef’s new Bed and Breakfast  Beija Flor is taking reservations for this season at  staybeijaflor@ gmail. com. or 801 580 3283.  The nightly rates are great and it is just a couple of miles from the mouth of the Canyons and a mile from the freeway exit.   See a couple of posts ago for pictures and more insight.     I left the hill early to get more done here at the Trailer as I am behind, but not before hitting the Forklift for the traditional after morning session meeting with the TEAM.  It is great to see the smiling faces of the great folks who work there and take such good care of us. dsc04062Here is a great shot of Kelly and Miss “B” sharing the love.  I love these two, they make my day.  Looks like a whopper dump is on the door step, but I will leave it at that so I don’t jinx it.  Don’t forget to SIZZLE!!



I stepped out of the Star Gate late this afternoon after a trip to the other side of the Galaxy to visit the home planet.  I missed the opening day of the season, as when I left, things were not looking too promising, but, the Promise Of The Wasatch came through just in time. I lifted this shot by my good friend Hippy G from FB to give you an idea of the coverage.  I know he won’t mind, and I did call him for a personal blessing, but no answer.  Thanks G!!15253594_10207462253295859_92594794989508114_nThe inside information I was able to ascertain reported good coverage top to bottom on the main run that was open from the top of the Gad Zoom Chair.  The consistency was a bit firm due to the warm temps of recent days and the emphasis on man made snow on the main line.  That was a good thing, as it keeps the quality preserved for the next days.  The crowd was large as would be expected, but the High Speed Quad moved the faithful up the hill quickly.  Access from the Snowbird Center is available on the lower road as well as the shuttle.  The coverage is good there as well, with just a few rocks at the Wilbre Ridge corner on the Bass Highway on the return trip.  I will be there tomorrow to get a first hand look at the hill and I will have fresh pictures to share.  The forecast is looking very promising with snow tomorrow morning and a much more substantial installment coming in Monday=Tuesday.  If we get as much as they are predicting, that will go a long way in getting a lot more terrain open in the very near future.  See you there in the AM.  Take it easy on the one run and dial in some turns.  IBBY!!



After having finally been done with my recent tour fighting the Dark Matter Wars, and taking the time to get the Antenna Array dialed in here at the Trailer, I took a trip up to the Bird to see what this last impulse, which just blew through, brought to the hill.  Patience is a virtue, so I have  been patiently waiting for the season to get started.  Up on the hill the fresh coat of Essence is tantalizingly exciting, but it is not nearly enough to get rolling.  Here is a shot of the Peruvian Gulch I took from the Hellgate Slide area.  dsc04056While the upper two thirds of the hill look like it is filling in, the lower elevation is still very sparse and in need of quite a bit more cover.  It was rather brisk up there even though the Sun was shining brightly, and it made for a better look at the hill than the previous days.  The snow makers have the Guns blazing on the Gad side of the hill and you could see the clouds from the blast lofting up in the air.  Here is a shot looking up at the lower elevation of the Gad Valley from the Gad parking lot.  dsc04059There is another impulse predicted to come in for Wednesday and Thursday that may help the pack, and, if we are very lucky, will exceed the forecast for accumulation.  With a warm Great Salt Lake, anything is possible.  There is as yet no definitive opening date, but rest assured, the hill will open as soon as it is possible to do so safely for everyone.  Again, patience is a virtue and it will come as we seem to be in the flow, so I am going to go with it.  Have a happy holiday with family and friends.  Stay Frosty!!