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.
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!!
A few new inches of frosting covered the dance floor for today’s festivities. Though the sky was overcast, the visibility was good, and that allowed the fresh lines to be navigated on the off trail terrain, which was the place to be. The pack had not frozen again, and the consistency was a bit thick, but very smooth. Traffic was quite light, so it took quite a while for the lines to be worked over. I was able to ski the far reaches that have been off my radar for most of the season, but now offered some slow motion turns that were a nice topping for the season ending days. Here is a shot of Monte Christo and the North side of the Canyon covered in the fresh dusting from the overnight deluge. The machine worked sections were slow to thaw out, with the break hitting around Noon, but that was when the storm clouds moved in, dumping some very intense grauple. Tomorrow, look for some more accumulation from the continuing impulses that are moving through. The accumulation will only be on the upper mountain, with the lower elevations getting rain or very small accumulations. Staying up high is the best call to get the most out of the hill before the limited terrain gets worked over. On my run to the bottom of the hill, I ran into the Chinese Master at the top of Big Emma. We were the only ones on the hill at that point and we discussed the span of the past that these mountains represent, and the far future that stands in front of us. It was nice to share that solitary moment of NOW with such a Sage. See you there for the morning explorations. Stay Frosty!!
After heavy rain pounded the Trailer all night long, there was a few inches of fresh frosting on the top 1000′ of the hill. The snow underneath the new product had not frozen, so the off trail lines were the best quality they have been in a while. Here is a shot of the Twins from the peak as I motored out to the Road to Provo. I kept lapping the Rasta Chutes and Last Chance due to the high quality feel of the snow. There was just a bit of Sun coming through the high clouds during a very short window before the weather moved back in later in the morning. The Groomers were fairly frozen for the first hour, so staying on the off trail and getting the goods there was the call. On the lower mountain, the rain had granulated the snow crystals, making Big Emma a treat on the trip down to the bottom. The stroll across the melted off part of Bass Highway is no problem and gives you a chance to look at all the terrain we go over without a thought. Interesting point of reference. Here is a shot of Toad Hill in Mineral Basin with the new snow freshening the pack. There were interesting clouds building back there as the weather was moving in. I was looking back into Mineral Basin wishing I could go get those big lines, but….. next season. Tomorrow, look for a bit clearer morning as it is predicted to dry out for the beginning of the day. Depending on the overnight temps., the freeze or no freeze conditions will have to be experienced to know. Today’s off trail was a real surprise. Very interesting turn of events. There is still plenty of snow, as there has been little Sun to work the pack. See you there for the morning session. Syrup won’t stop ‘EM!!!
It was a murky morning as the Tram hit the peak, which contained only a few of the faithful. Regulator was already slushy, though consistent and workable. Mark Malu, on the other hand, was offering beautifully sumptuous Cornuroy that let you lay it down like Ligety, with no chance of the turn washing out. Since there was no one on the hill, it was like a private resort, with perfect turns all the way to the bottom of the Little Cloud Chair. I just had to make continuous laps there to dial in the untracked delight that was as good as it gets. The clouds began to lower and snow began to fall as the temps. began to fall a bit. When a light drizzle began to fall lower down on the bowl, I decided to visit the Forklift Chair to enjoy the ambiance and see if the clouds lifted. Here is a shot of Mr. Cage having breakfast at 11,000′ just before heading down for another sorbet breakfast treat. Today was his 86th Day!!!After breakfast, the clouds lifted a bit and a return to the dance was a treat as the quality was still holding up, with not much in the way of stickiness happening on the flats. Lower down on the hill, the exit was still problematic with quite a stroll to cross the melted off stretch of the Bass Highway. The walk is easy and there is plenty of snow after you put your devices back on, but the dirt really makes the stickiness very variable indeed. Here is a shot that Neil took looking down on lower Mark Malu delineated by the very white contrast to the dirty off trail areas. Tomorrow, look for more unsettled weather, refreshed Groomers, and more of the sorbet goodness that is happening with this mature corn cycle. While you can see the extent of melt off on the hill, it is also evident that there is plenty of cover up high. Thanks to Neil for sending these shots as I lost my camera battery the other day trying to get a shot on the chair. It was long gone in a blink of and eye, but I just got a hard to find replacement, so I will get some of my own tomorrow. See you there for the morning perfection. Don’t forget to SIZZLE!!
With an 8 AM start on the day, the first Tram was just about vacant. I rolled in at my usual time, and took the 8:30 AM Tram, where I found that the cold over night temps. had set the machine worked runs up. Even though they were crisp, there was plenty of granular traction on the prepared lines. With no one on the hill, it felt like a private resort. The Cat Crew has done a fine job of finding snow to cover some of the thin areas that had melted off over the weekend. Most notably was Goblin Gulley, that had been covered very well and was a real surprise. I lapped the two worked areas and went to the bottom to visit the Forklift Chair to let some softening occur. That stretch along the Bass Highway has melted off even more, so the stroll is somewhere in the vicinity of 600′. Big Emma was very good and some tenderizing had been done there, making that line remind me of some of the back country lines I cherish. Clouds began to build up around 10:30 AM when the temps. began to fall. Visibility was good, but the light got very flat, so I called it a day, but the skiing was still very good. Here is a shot of a flower that was calling me to give it some love. Tomorrow, look for another crisp start, with perhaps some morning Sun to get things started. With the early opening, the Sun has not yet come up over the ridge line, so the West side of the hill is dark. Clouds are predicted to build in again as the day warms, so get there early for the best visibility, however, that early start will offer crispy lines. We will have to see how it shakes out if it warms up. Over all, the coverage is very good on the hill, though the very top of Regulator is thin, so drop off the Cat Track early to avoid the variations. See you there for the morning turns. Speed Safely!!
The hill got started at 8:00AM this morning, but I could not rally that early and got on the 8:45 AM Tram when the corn was at it’s peak of perfection. I chose Lupine Loop for the first few runs to get to the fresh Cornuroy that was resident there. Today was the last day of Mineral Basin operation, and thus the last day to visit the Landing. Here is a shot from that hallowed spot. This old tree has seen untold seasons and having this sentinel as a monument to the season seem fitting. Next time I take a shot from here the Summit at Hidden Peak will be complete and very cool. On the front of the hill the light freeze had the Groomers feeling just slightly crisp, however, they were very carve able and held the promise of goodness in the next hour. Lower on the hill, the Bass Highway had melted off over quite a stretch and required a good stroll to get back to the snow pack. Staying up high was the best call as the lines were fast and lapable with no lift lines. I stopped at the Knoll on Powder Paradise and encountered these California Dreamers and one self proclaimed Flat Lander who were really enjoying the sorbet delight that was stretched out in front of them.It was great spending time with them talking about the Hyper Dimensional Realms and other things that don’t matter. I am glad they got such good snow after coming so far. Tomorrow, the hill will open again at 8:00AM, though I will be pulling in at the usual time. The Little Cloud Chair is the last remaining chair operating, but there is still plenty of terrain to work, especially after the freeze breaks and some of those worked over off trail lines get good. I did ski a long line of interference patterns today that had a spacing developed by the high concentration of good skiers, which made these features very fun and carvey!! Here is a great shot of Sully getting freshies in the Sanduroy down in San Diego. It looks delightfully sumptuous!!! Nice turns Sully!!! See you there for the last of the season’s turns. Peace Out!!
It was a beautiful morning that offered more of the corn goodness for the morning session. Though there were predictions of afternoon storms, only a few meandering cloud decks moved over the front. With the continued warm temps the quality was not going to last long, and getting to the smooth lines was worth an early start. Here is a shot of the first Rasta Chute looking fully filled with only minimal static that moved easily when things got soft. The High North aspects are the last bastion of consistency as these days warm up. The coverage remains good on the upper elevations, but the lower exit road is even more melted off. Tomorrow, look for another similar day as the weather activity seems to be spotty. I will be there first thing to get the cornuroy lines that have been so good in the past few days. Off trail is getting better as the pack morphs and becomes a bit smoother. I had fun doing some far off the beaten path lines that I had been avoiding for some time. Tomorrow will be the last day for Mineral Basin, so I am going for focus the attention there until it gets too soft. The front of the hill will have to wait. Peace Out!!