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.
The forecast high clouds held off until later in the day, so the morning was bright and sunny, though there was still a nip in the air. The Groomers were offering carvelicious carpets of Hydro Velvet to dial in your inner Ligety. The off trail was still offering soft cold snow that was still explosive and blastable. The faithful were in full attendance and there was quite a bit of pressure for the goods, but there was plenty of room to find your own line with no pressure if you looked a bit outside the box. The day warmed up as the day wore on, and that was a nice treat after all that very cold air. I am still pealing some of the frost bite off my nose from last week. Here is a shot I took yesterday of the the Twins looking mysterious through the mist, and the fresh lines waiting in the wings for the opening of the Road to Provo. The entire mountain is feeling very good right now, and any line you choose is bound to be a treat no matter the exposure. Tomorrow, look for another great day, though they predict some high clouds for the AM. The Groomers will be offering some real fun, especially with all the new lines the Cat Crew has been adding to the list of prepared runs. I will be looking to get a look at the Lower Lower Chips Face to feel the steep urgency of that particular pitch. It is rarely prepared and I always look forward to getting those cold dry lines that a fresh till offers. Off trail should be offering great lines as well, though I think there might be a bit more chop happening on the high traffic lines. Here is a parting shot of the entrance to the Snowbird Pharmacy, which just happens to be located adjacent to where two of the Universal Axes converge. Of course the Time Axis is always NOW. Just so you know. Peace Out!!
The predicted 1 to 3” of overnight accumulation turned into a full 13” of 4% Essence that was totally blower and just like you see in the magazines and movies. The explosive nature of the cover was providing serious face shots, especially in the areas where the accumulation was much deeper than the average. Here are two shots of Flying Brian Beck working Fields of Glory up on High West Baldy when it opened today. The consistency out there was stellar and the underlying pack was smooth and free of rumble, which is a real treat when you are in full power blasting mode as Mr. Beck is demonstrating here. Here is the next in the sequence to pull it together, with trails of glorious cold smoke hanging in the air long after the powder passage. I think these shots say it all as it was this good wall to wall all over the hill. As the day wore on, the harbor chop began to build up as it will under heavy traffic, but there was plenty of real estate where blastable line were good to go. Here is a shot of Superior this morning, where it did not take long for the faithful to make the arduous trek to that forbidding peak. Tomorrow, look for the Groomers to be offering stellar Hydro Velvet for the morning session. The off trail will still be offering very soft snow that resisted deterioration due to the quite cold temps. It should be another quite cold morning, so dress accordingly, but the day should warm up later. There is expected to be band of high clouds moving through, so it may flatten the light a touch. Look for areas that may be waiting in the wings that did not get opened today. These are the days we have been waiting for and they are here in full effect. I will be taking the day off tomorrow to do some work on the antenna array here at the Trailer. The horses in the coral will be watching the process, as that is the most exciting thing they get to see. Straight Ahead!!
A low energy storm had moved over the Front overnight, leaving an inch of freshness on the dance floor for the morning session. Visibility was at a premium, however, there was enough clarity to use the trees as a reference. Out in Mineral Basin, difficult off trail conditions sent me back to the smooth prepared lines that were incredible and untracked when I hit them. On the front of the hill, the Anderson’s Hill- Lower Primrose line had been re buffed and covered with freshness that kept my attention after that foray into Mineral. The Cat Crew has cut a new line on the bottom of the Lower Primrose Path that was dry, chalky, steep, and nicely covered with the overnight Essence. It gets deeper, it does not get better. I tried some other off trail lines, but was sent back to buffed lines to preserve my knee integrity, and maintain a consistent turn cadence. I got this great shot of a very bold fashion statement, that oozed a patriotic theme. Around 12:30 PM. a rime ice event began to cause consternation as the fog froze to the goggles, making the visibility even more interesting. It was at this point I called it a day, as I did not want to fight the variations with no idea what was in front of me. Tomorrow, look for clearing skies, more accumulation from the last of the storm energy to be covering the dance floor, and another day of ripping Hydro Velvet to greet the early morning faithful. Areas that were close today should be opening after control work is complete, so we have that waiting in the wings. Still, expect variable conditions off trail, but there will be some lines that were favored by the wind and may offer deeper accumulation. Those wind lines will be offering the best off trail options. See you there for another day of really exquisite hard driving rock and roll. Speed Safely!!
After days of limited visibility, the Sun finally broke out in the afternoon hours. The hill offered a wide variety of conditions depending on aspect and it’s exposure to the wind that has been working the hill these past few days. The Peruvian side of the hill offered unreal Groomers top to bottom, that were covered with a perfect angel dust that was totally untracked for the first runs. It was like 40” of Zero percent covering the hill. Powder Paradise opened after control work was completed, but you had to really follow your senses to feel for the goods. The lower aspects were quite wind slabbed, causing me to beat a hasty retreat back to the prepared lines. Back on the front of the hill, The Road to Provo opened offering really consistent deep goodness that felt picture perfect underfoot. I made numerous laps there to get as much of it as I could during such a low traffic day. Here is a shot of the Twins framed by the rime crusted trees. Having the Sun come out was such a treat, and made line choice a much easier call as all the details were in sharp focus. I also took a exploratory run out to the Exotic Trees where I found the pack had been trammeled soundly, leaving only stiff piles to plow through. Here is a shot of the perfect Essence that was suspended tantalizingly above the traverse. Tomorrow, look for another weak storm system to be moving through, so visibility may be an issue once again. The Groomers should be offering sumptuous HydroVelvet top to bottom, with only Regulator showing a firmer face. The off trail will be a bit stiff after today’s traffic, but a direct power drive line will punch though the variations. Still, be aware of that slabby consistency on some aspects out in Mineral Basin, but, there too, the Groomers will be off the chart ripping. See you there for the hard driving fun fest. Stay Frosty!!
The hill was covered with added fluff by the continued unstable air that was bringing Lake Effect snow to cover the hill. There was a fairly early push for the goods, leaving me getting third Tram even though I hit it at the usual time. Up on the hill, the Western aspects received the deepest accumulation thanks to the continued wind that was transporting the goods to those lines. I showed some great folks from NH. some of my lines out in the far reaches where we found some very nice fluffulescence that was delightfully light and effortless. Upper Peruvian Gulch opened after a bit and I worked a Great Scott line that offered both wind slab goodness followed by some boot top deep transported snow. Those High North sections are really starting to shape up. Visibility was at a premium, and with the wind, snow, and clouds, it made navigating a bit of a challenge, but the trees kept the reference points close and stable.I ran into TEAM POWDER, who were mounting up for another adventure in search of the steep and deep. I pointed out a couple of my observations that I think they would find advantageous. I will find out later how it worked out for them. I am sure they found it where they were going. Tomorrow, look for another very cold day, thought I think the clouds will have pulled off and we might see some detail again. After all the wind and accumulation, there will be many variations all over the hill, but I still think there will be some very deep and light lines to find. The underlying rumble is still in evidence, but the fresh cushion is mitigating the ride for the most part. Here is a shot of Jill, who is holding down the chair in the Activity Center, where all the other activities you will find available on the hill are booked. I love the studious look of those cool glasses she is sporting. See you tomorrow for another awesome day of Snow Sport Sliding. Straight Ahead!!
The snow was driving and whipped by the wind this morning as the day got off to a flying start. Most of the mountain was open right off with a small accumulation overnight. It was the wind that was pumping out of the North East that was transporting the product to the West aspects and the sheltered North lines. I made a long trek out to Wilbre Bowl and Lone Pine, where there was plenty of freshness stacked up with no tracks to be seen top to bottom. The Road to Provo was also offering very deep lines where the wind had left the goods, and it was so great to work them with no pressure. Visibility was at a premium, so I did not venture into Mineral Basin due to the high winds and the scouring of the Eastern aspects. Wherever I went today, I found great lines and the underlying pack was fairly consistent with just some interesting crust popping up that did not cause any issues at all. I took a moment and visited the Summit at Hidden Peak to check out the different specialty stations that are offered. Here is the Panini station with these two ladies ready to press a fresh sandwich. Next to this station is the brick oven pizza station that was offering really great looking pizza that made me want to grab a slice, but I just left the Forklift Chair, so I was good to go. Right next to this station was the carving station that looked so good with the fresh roasted meats that were calling. There would be lots of folks hitting up these stations for the lunch rush. Tomorrow, look for more fresh Essence to be on hand, with some of the areas that closed today due to the high winds and the continuous snow fall to be waiting in the wings. The hill is in great shape, with most of the entrances to the big drops becoming much more realistic with each dump. Visibility may still be marginal, and prepare for continued cold temps. Today was quite chilly, and with the wind, it was especially biting. Don’t Forget To SIZZLE!!
The storm moved off overnight leaving clear skies and cold temps. The faithful were in full attendance at the opening bell, having heard the Powder call. Up on the hill, the cold temps. preserved the quality of the fresh Essence that was still waiting in the wings. When the rope line dropped there was a huge push for the goods and it did not take long for Mineral Basin to get worked. The same event happened with the Road to Provo, but despite the push, there was plenty of incredibly light fluffulescene to give everyone the goods. I opted for some more obscure lines to keep away from the push, where I found very nice thigh deep lines that were absolutely perfect. I stopped in to the Forklift Chair to consider the options and was greeted by these two beautiful smiling faces who wanted to know all about the morning session. The Forklift Chair never disappoints. Tomorrow, look for some residual accumulation as a storm skirts by to the South, but I think some swing back impulses could be happening as they come back from the East. I will be looking for smooth lines on the Groomers, but, with all this new snow, they have been feeling a bit punchable if you stick your edge too hard at any one point in the turn. It is better to smooth the pressure and stay on top. Interference patterns are building up again as the traffic has been high in the usual lines, but the soft snow cushions the variations and there is a good cadence to the spacing. There is still plenty to find all over the hill, and any line you choose will offer very good snow wall to wall. Even the far out lines are holding the goods if you are willing to look for the pockets. See you there for the opening bell. Dress for another cold morning and overcast skies. IBBY!!
All of the storm signals were going off full on this morning, with a closed road, heavy precipitation, and a pent up stoke that was hard to contain. Up on the hill, overnight accumulation was cushioning the already softer conditions that we have been enjoying this last week. Most of the well defined interference patterns have been mitigated for the most part and are not really presenting much of an issue for smooth arcing lines. I saw lots of posts on the fine quality that was being enjoyed. Here is a shot of Mr. Brian Beck getting the goods today. This is great evidence of a full effect turn. Tomorrow, look for a bit more accumulation on the hill, areas that were not open today will be waiting in the wings, and a hill that is ready for a big line if you dial it in. With all this snow, it reminds me of years in the far distant past. Here is a shot of some activity that has been etched in my memory. This is also a subject lesson on obeying the signs. Pictured here is my friend Chris, who was part of a very ambitious crew of back country visionaries, who went places no one else was even thinking about. This next shot is evidence of these visions, where he and the crew were out getting the big lines off Toad Hill long before there was a lift accessing Mineral Basin. Note how fat this pitch is during that year so long ago. They were busy as you can see. Now, we get to access this terrain all before breakfast. We all used to drool about the possibilities of a lift back there and now we have it and so much more. See you for the early morning fun zone!! Syrup Won’t Stop ‘EM!!
The storm that is on it’s way was a bit slow to arrive, leaving an entire morning session bathed in beautiful Sunshine. There was a stiff breeze blowing, and out in Mineral Basin smooth wind lines were filling in and were offering some fantastically smooth off trail fun. No one was after these lines so they were all for the taking if you kept after it. There had been a trace of precipitation overnight, which had been piled up in areas by the wind. These areas of fluff were a lot of fun on the perfectly prepared Groomed lines that were available on all sides of the hill. Once again, Anderson’s Hill and Lower Primrose Path were given another stellar treatment, and the overnight fluff that laid in the bottom of the gut felt ultra silky and transcendent for those first few runs. Very light traffic for today’s offering left the lifts walk on available, and the vertical was piling up fast. Around 1:00PM the clouds moved in with light precipitation beginning to fall. Conditions continued to be fun, but the details went away and you just had to trust the smooth when dialing in the lines. Tomorrow, look for weather to have been working the hill overnight. It will be a storm day for sure, so dress for the conditions and check the road report for restrictions in the AM. The hill is in great shape wall to wall, and all lines will be good to go with new accumulation covering the dance floor. Remember those due South faces did get a bit crunchy with the Sun playing on them, so they may be a tad tricky with cover. I skied from one end of the resort to the other with this lovely lady who was skiing from the Heart and getting every bit of juice from every turn she made. The big steep lines were her favorite and she dialed them in with full effect. See you Sunday after my day off. Straight Ahead!!
Hard work by the Cat Crew made Shredtastic lines happen on all sided of the hill this morning. Mineral Basin was bathed in bright Sun, with nice fresh corduroy to dial in dead accurate arcs on every turn. This was the type of day you could lay it down like Ligety and really feel the Gs. On the front of the hill, that Anderson’s Hill- Lower Primrose Path line had been prepared once again, that kept me hitting that smoking line for the rest of the morning until the Forklift Break. Regulator was offering fast and smooth lines wall to wall, with the lower lines in Gad Valley offering excellent carpets of Hydro Velvet as well. Off trail, the crud is still holding up, though it is setting up in places. Those due South aspects continue to be worked by the direct Sun and are deteriorating in quality. The High North and shaded West aspects are holding the cold snow that remains soft and blastable. Here is a shot of Lower Primrose in the late afternoon Sun looking as smooth and carvelicious as you could wish. Traffic was very light, and back to back Trams were easy to make with a consistent pace. At Noon, I went into the Summit at Hidden Peak and spoke with George and Fred, who are responsible for the cutting edge format of the new facility. I will be getting some more shots of the different stations tomorrow. Tomorrow, look for all the usual lines to be re dressed for the morning session. Clouds look to be part of the mix as a new system moves in for the next few days. We might even see some precipitation during the day. Dress for weather, and remember the old stand by lines to be sure of a smooth relaxed ride. As a parting shot I offer this shot of my friends, who have been part of my life for these past 40 years. It is so great to still share the Mountain in just the same way we did when we were kids, but then this hill keeps you forever young. Speed Safely!!!