A Guide to Big Mountain Skiing by JacksonHogen and Guru Dave Powers
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A beautiful morning greeted the Morning Crew with balmy Temps., smooth lines, and a quick start to the fast laps. The break was quick to hit the hill, with the Mineral Basin lines good to go from the start. Those High North lines, while still good, are getting worked by the late afternoon ambient temps, but warm up with the day. It is still wise to avoid those South, East, and West aspects until that warmth gets things stirred up, but all in all that Spring feel is well established. Around 1:00 PM a dry front moved through the Front, bringing just the slightest drop in temps., but only had some sparse clouds associated with it’s passage. With the Spring time looking like it is here to stay, I offer this very unusual shot of the Bookends, taken by Jones Malone last Summer from an undisclosed location. It has so many elements going on here that I just had to share such a nice perspective on the hill now covered with snow. Tomorrow, look for another Spring day, though, with the passage of that cold front, the temps. might be a tad cooler to start and the break a bit longer in going off. Look to the Groomers for the smooth ground pounding lines that have been the hallmark of the morning sessions. Later in the day, after the break, the hill will be opening up more terrain as the off trail softens up and becomes approachable. I had a great day off, where I recharged and got a lot done here at the Trailer. See you for the morning session in the Sun. Don’t forget to SIZZLE!!
I was driving with the top down from the very first Tram, as the peak temp. was balmy and still for the morning session. Very nice Grooming had been worked on all sides of the hill, but the Mineral Basin drops were offering the goods right from the word Go. Once again, the White Diamonds- Lower Silver Dipper line had been prepared, and with the morning Sun, was sporting a perfect break of sorbet sweetness that kept me doing the big laps to get as much of that Spring rarity as I could get. On the front of the hill, Regulator was going to take a lot more time to break, but in the mean time, the tenderized lines were good to go and gave ample tooth right from first Tram if you wanted to rock the Tram laps. When the break hit the entire hill, the goodness was a treat, with only some of the cat tracks hinting at the sticky factor later on. Here is a shot of Door # 3 with the Sun peaking over the cliff band. It looked very sketchy, as that old layer looked very crunchy before the break. Tomorrow, look for another warm day and an earlier brake than today. Look for the Groomers to be offering the goods for the first few hours out in the back, with the front following close behind. An earlier start will pay dividends as the super soft conditions of the later afternoon may be very sticky on the lower mountain. It is predicted that record breaking warmth is in store for the day, so take advantage of the early goodness, and today’s example was hard to beat. The High North is still holding up and smoothing out, but I think the high ambient temps up high will begin to work even these lines. Here is a shot of the great music happening on the Plaza for the afternoon crowd. Great conditions and great cover are still happening on all sides of the hill, so get there and get your share of the Spring fun, and stay for the Plaza performances. See you Sunday. Ciao!!
Bright Sun and cold temps. greeted the Morning Crew as the Tram hit the peak. Deluxe corduroy had been prepared on all sides of the hill, as the Cat Crew was able to use the quality of that last installment to work the goods into the mat. Out in Mineral Basin, The White Diamonds- Lower Silver Dipper line had been given yet another fine till, which let you choose which approach was best for you. It could be the full on minimal turn assault, or a more contemplative involvement in each turn. What a treat indeed. Lewis and Clark also was offering the low angle buffage, that let you lay it down like Ligety, leaving lacerations that rival the tracks that TrenchZilla has been seen to leave. On the front of the hill, a dry chalky feel was on tap top to bottom with a special fresh till of 4 new passes on Chips face that screamed for a dig deep approach. Here is a shot of some of today’s Hydro Velvet up close and personal. How sweet it is!!! Tomorrow, look for more great Grooming lines to be fast and fun on all sides of the hill. The marginal warmth of today’s temps. did not really affect the pack beyond the most surface layers, so we can expect more dry chalky feel for the first few hours of the day. The High North is still holding up nicely, with the cold dry soft snow still happening out of the Sun’s reach. The lines have been smoothing with the lack of heavy traffic, so more aggressive lines can be taken with out the jarring effects of the interference patterns. Here is a shot of Pagan Bowl that has finally been signed with some nice looking tracks. Great conditions are happening despite the low snow fall this year. IBBY!!
It was full on Winter cold this morning as the Tram hit the peak. The Temp. was 13 degrees with a fair breeze still blowing after the front had moved through overnight. 1 inch of accumulation was all we could squeeze out of the last impulse, but it was enough to make the conditions fun and fast in the bright Sun. Out in Mineral Basin, White Diamonds and Lower Silver Dipper had been re buffed, tilling the fresh installment into the mat, which offered a dry cold feel. Lewis and Clark had been over looked yesterday, and those blown in lines were very silky on the low angle aspects. The High North was offering some of the best conditions of recent memory and there was a lot of pressure for those obvious lines. The cold air held on all day long with only the very last couple of hours offering any kind of softening at all. I stayed all day, as the consistency remained excellent and improving as the late Sun finally softened runs like Regulator. Here is a shot of Door # 1 under the Zoom Chair with the Sun finally high enough in the sky to throw these rays on it. Tomorrow, look for another cold morning, but warming will be a bit earlier. Those freshly Groomed lines will be offering the goods to start, but the High North is still soft and offering smooth lines. Those aspects that baked all day and finally softened will be crispy, but I expect some additional tenderizing to be employed there. The front of the hill will still be offering dry cold lines, though the lowest elevations will be a touch crispy for the first few hours. A later start will get you the break, but an early start will not disappoint. See you there for the fast laps and bright Sun. Don’t forget to SIZZLE!!!
Bright Sun greeted the morning crew as the Tram hit the peak. It was quite cold with a stiff breeze blowing out of the West. Mineral Basin was calling, and some wind lines had built up overnight, however, that East facing aspect was seriously crunchy underneath the accumulated transported snow. White Diamonds had been freshly buffed, and with the new snow from yesterday tilled into the mat, that drop seemed mid January delightful. Lewis and Clark laps were offering low angle untracked lines that had been overlooked during yesterday’s visibility issues. The bottom was in play, but the low angle lines made the ride smooth and tasty. On the front of the hill, the Groomers were also very nice, though a bit firm, especially on the very lowest elevations. The High North aspects were much improved with the new product, and reports from Great Scott were favorable. As promised, I did a full on survey of one of the big off trail areas to see how the off trail was fairing. I found the new snow cushioned the Gnar fairly well, but still one needed to be cognizant of the piled up frozen surface below. I had fun doing the survey, but I will be sticking with the known smooth for the next time. Here is a shot of some snow swells way out on the far reaches. They were running 10′ every 15 seconds and stacked to the horizon. Tomorrow, look for some additional accumulation forecast for overnight, giving way to a sunny morning as the system moves out of the area. North wind will still be pumping very cold air, so be sure to dress for cold. If this morning was any indication, put on an extra layer. Brrrrr. The Groomers will be offering more smoothness for the morning session, and the High North aspects will still be worth checking out with the new product. Stay with the smooth lines, and avoid those South, East and West facing aspects that will not be thawing out at all if the forecast temps. hold up. See you there for the fun and fast laps. IBBY!!
A fast moving front moved into the Wasatch, delivering a 4 to 5” installment of medium to high density product, depending on the elevation. After yesterday’s Spring time feel, this morning brought back a full on Winter blast that included blinding wind gusts, very marginal visibility, and some fresh frosting that was the perfect consistency to stick to the old layer. Sticking to the smooth lines was key, as the off trail was seriously bouncy and jarring if you missed the line. The morning crew split up to do recon work on different sides of the hill. With visibility at a premium, I opted to let the other guys sound the Abyss of Mineral Basin, with reports of smooth untracked lines on the Groomers, though the visibility was Zero Zero. I led a recon of Mark Malu, which also was rated Zero Zero for those morning hours, finding very nice smooth lines that actually gave me knee shots of fresh product. We actually got kind of lost for lack of reference, but finally got some bearings lower down on the hill. Here is a shot I got of the Mine on the other side of the Valley as it caught a window of Sunshine during the heavy part of the impulse that was hitting the hill. After the new snow got skied out, the Harbor Chop built up quickly, sending me to the Forklift Chair to consider the options. Visibility improved as the morning impulse moved off, but I was going to get some work done on the Trailer. Tomorrow, look for additional accumulation to have continued overnight, so there will be fresh lines for the morning session. The off trail, while still problematic, should be improving with the high density cushion that is building up. I will venture off into the known smooth off trail sections tomorrow, to get a feel for the ride. At this time of the season, the quality does not stand up for long like it does early in the season, so it is important to get to it early and fast. See you there for the morning freshies. Syrup won’t stop ‘EM!!
The Sun was out in force for the first few hours of the day, illuminating Mineral Basin, where those big lines had been prepared for the folks who showed up early. The tenderized lines held up for the first hour and a half, offering that cold granular feel that kept me doing laps back there for the duration. On the Front of the hill, tenderizing efforts had been employed, making those lines fun and fast. Light traffic kept the pace moving with no waiting and wide open slopes. It was Customer Appreciation Day today and there was donuts, hot chocolate, and coffee on hand for everyone. Here is a shot of Mr Collins offering me a personally selected donut to go with the coffee. Thanks guys!!The break came around Noon, when the hill started to soften up slowly. It was great getting the goods before the consistency got too soft. The off trail was slow in softening, and staying clear on those aspects was highly recommended until it softened up. With the Spring feel, there are plenty of folks getting in the spirit of the day. Here is a shot of Billy Bob sporting a very festive shell. Tomorrow, look for the weather to have changed back into a Winter feel, with snow expected for the next few days. This will be a welcome change to the current pattern. Remember those smooth lines to keep the ride consistent, as this initial accumulation will take a while to cushion the old layer. The cover is still very good overall, and any more cover will go a long way to smoothing out the dance floor. I was thrilled to see Luis and Elizabeth, who were back visiting us after they had retired from the ski life and giving a life time to the dance. Rock on folks, great to see you!! It will be an interesting morning, and I will be staying close to the Groomers while I wait for it to build up. See you there for the weather change. IBBY!!
The strange weather continues as the temps. were warmer still, with the temp. here at the Trailer hitting 74 Degrees. There is no doubt that the Big Return is now in full on effect. Here is a shot of a prime example of the melt off as this was taken at 10400′. Of course, I am still holding the visualization of blower powder still to come, and in this place that is a fair expectation. Up on the hill, the Groomers were the place to be for the morning session, but it would have to wait a while for the off trail to soften up, where the South and West faces are becoming spring time happening. It will require your best route finding, but good lines are available later in the afternoon. The High North is still holding up, but with these very warm temps. that may change. I will keep you posted on the changes as they happen. Tomorrow, look for another day of Spring conditions, with those early morning Groomers to be offering some corduroy that does not last long. Depending on the overnight temps., the break will be around Noon, with those West and Lower North faces taking quite a bit longer to come around. I had a great day getting things ready for this coming week. I will see you for the first Tram. Don’t forget to SIZZLE!!
Today was the first day of Spring and it was all of that and more. Another cold night had provided a hard freeze, but the peak temp. was 32 Degrees when the First Tram hit the peak. Out in Mineral Basin, the tenderizing lines had been prepared, offering the corduroy goodness for those first few runs before it got cut up. Those 3” deep granular carpets are hard to beat. The morning traffic was drawn back there, and a fair line built up, however, the line moved quickly. On the front of the hill, tenderizing efforts were available as well, though the folks who waited to start later in the morning were not disappointed. The break was going to be long in coming, but after Noon lines were developing a bit more tooth. By the mid afternoon the softness became consistent overall and the turns were much easier to dial in. Here is a shot I took a couple of days ago of an interesting cloud formation that was hung over the Twins. Tomorrow, look for another solid freeze on the hill. Mineral Basin will be offering those corduroy lines that will be good for the first hour. Look for tenderizing efforts on the front of the hill as well, but it will take the break in the freeze to make that consistency a sorbet delight. Spring conditions are another of the many faces of the season and can be counted on to offer another level of perfect. Perfect is where you find it. The High North is still holding the cold as the pack has not absorbed the day time warmth, so you can get that cold chalk that is still worth a look see. Some of the more remote High North lines are beginning to smooth out now, and I was tempted to check them out, but that will have to wait until Sunday. I will be taking the day off tomorrow, so you can have my share. Peace Out!!
The clear night brought a hard freeze to the hill, which set up yesterday’s thaw up tougher than nails. Tenderizing efforts were employed on some of the main lines on the hill, with the best consistency happening on the Peruvian Gulch, where that line felt fast and velvety. Out in Mineral Basin, the Sun was going to take quite a while to heat things up, with the off trail areas very difficult, but the Groomers were offering consistent granularity for the first hour before it began to get stirred up by the traffic. After breakfast, a quick lap out to Lewis and Clark revealed some serious Ratchet Chop on the lower pitches, where the granular loose snow had been piled up with very greasy tiles in between the piles. This was distinctly different than Harbor Chop, where the piles solidify. This is spring time conditions a month early. Here is a shot of the interference patterns built up on Upper Silver Fox, highlighted by the morning Sun. There is still some chalky feel on these High North aspects and will still be holding the cold after today’s very cold start. The break did not begin until well after 1:00PM, when some of the aspects began to soften and become a bit more approachable. Tomorrow, look for another slow start as the night will be cold once again. I am always about First Tram, but it would not hurt a bit to wait for a later start. I will still be working the morning session, but I did go for the Forklift Chair early today. Look for tenderizing efforts to be employed once again, and those lines are best when fresh and untracked. Here is another very interesting fashion statement I saw today. Dress for morning cold. Ciao!!