Archive for December, 2016



The temps. were quite cold this morning, with -8 Degrees on the peak, but no wind.  The snow was very cold and the sliding devices were woefully slow even if you did have wax.  The wind had worked the hill over night and the Northeast aspects were a quite breakable and needed a light tough to stay close to the fall line.   I got this shot of the glowing Tram cables from the lower Cirque as I was waiting for the Sun to come up over the ridge. dsc04187 High Baldy opened as well, and I got the best turns of the season there with knee deep perfection that was right side up and floated the turns with ease.  There was little pressure for the opening as it was a bit later in the morning and not many were waiting for the drop.   Mineral Basin also opened for the first time of the season.  Here is a shot I took from the Summit staircase as I was waiting for the rope drop and it dropped just as I took this shot.  dsc04188There was quite a crowd waiting for the drop, but all of them had started the line by the time I got to the gate.  The consistency back there had been heavily compromised by the wind, with some serious variability wall to wall.  There were some very nice turns here and there, where a slight tilt in aspect kept the pack from crusting over.  The line built up rapidly and I bailed on that scene to let it get a bit more tracked out. dsc04189  Here is a great shot of my friend Steve, who was at the Gate for the drop.  He gave me the quick 411 on the conditions, so I took a line that was being over looked by the masses.  It is great to have the back open, as now the Morning Crew can do the Lewis and Clark loop that is so great when the lines are buffed.  Tomorrow, look for more cold air to be still hanging on, great Groomers to be off the charts chalky smooth and dry, and the entire mountain to be once again in play.   Welcome back to the Bird  ’16- “17!!  Ciao For Now!!



After that front moved through yesterday, it dropped a lot of very nice Essence on the hill after some sputters and starts the past few days.  The Faithful showed up to get as much of the long awaited deep as possible, and who could blame them.  Reports from the hill were stellar, with tales and pictures of soft, cold, and deep fluffulescence.  With the hill primed to take this new coating you know it was going to be all time.  The temps. were very cold and that kept the product nicely refrigerated, so it kept that early season quality all day long.  You had to know this was in the cards and we were dealt a winning hand.  Now the hill is ready and primed to move into high gear and any additional accumulation will be icing on the cake.  dsc04179On one of my laps on the Tram yesterday, I saw this manifestation that seemed oddly out of place and time.  My good friend Jim Brown passed not long ago, and he was a passionate skier, who lived to be on the hill.  I have known him for decades and he was a Brassiere Magnate- literally- who owned a factory back in NY.  Many of the garments on the underwear tree came from him over the years.  When I saw this on the Tram, I knew it was a sign that he was here with us and enjoying the stoke factor.  It was an interesting and amusing sight and I thought about all the great times we shared on the hill.    Tomorrow, look for more terrain to open, cold temps. to still be holding strong, and amazing snow to play in wall to wall.  With this new cover, many of the features that were issues the other day are no longer in play, but still be cautious as the bigger ones are still in the mix.  I will be back on the hill tomorrow to get the leftovers, and I love leftovers.  IBBY!!!



It was a wild morning with rain to 7500′ when I got to the hill.  It had rained to 9000′ during the night and the mountain was on hold as crews worked to get the frozen wheels turning as well as snow safety work.  It was a perfect time for the morning crew to gather in the Planetary Office and consider the options.  Here is a mug shot of the core membership.  mug-shot-1After news from folks who were returning from the chairs after waiting a long time with no movement, we decided to call it a day and leave the Canyon before the Frontal Passage which was not far off.  The road was still in great shape with the warm temps out ahead of the front.  The lower chairs opened around 11:00 AM, where  very dense wet snow was the flavor of the day.  While it might seem a sad situation, this installment will help give the pack a bit more water to take into the Spring.  I got this shot of the Cold Front swallowing the Valley when I was drivingdsc04181back to The Trailer.  This weather extravaganza was about to unleash some real whoop ass on the Valley, with heavy hail to start and driving snow to follow up the passage.  Up on the hill, the front brought fresh Essence as the temperatures plummeted after the passage.  Tomorrow, look for a lot of fresh snow on the hill, with a lot of pressure for the goods, but the quality will be well worth being there and getting after it. It may be a day of sequential openings, as the control crews work the hill.  Dress for very cold temps., as this pattern drew down some cold air with it.  Check the Bird site for Canyon updates and official info.  It is going to be a great day, and the hill is in great shape.  I will be taking the day off for R and R.  Speed Safely!!



Just a trace of snow fell overnight, but the wind was working the hill hard.  The West aspects had been stripped to the old icy layer, with the transported snow ending up on the North and Northeast aspects, which were wind buffed smooth top to bottom.  Yesterday, an upper shot was bare rock, and this morning it was covered with over 4′ of wind buffed that made laps there hard to deny.  The fairly light traffic and continued wind conditions, made those lines stay perfect and wide open all day.  I made a trip over to Gad 2 to check out the pack.  I found lots of nice lines and the newly machine worked lines really topped off the fun factor over there.  Here is a shot of Vince who was getting every bit of the loose dust that he could scare up.  dsc04175These are the days that never get tracked out and have to be savored for the continuous resurfacing that only the wind can provide. The snow that was holding on the surface was dry and chalky, and it shaved effortlessly under the edge.  Here is an example of what can happen if you don’t make sure your boots are laced up tight.  This will be a problem.dsc04176While the West side of the hill took a beating from the wind, it still managed to hang on to plenty of cover with the high density pack that exists there and will not easily be moved.  Tomorrow, look for a storm day to be on tap if the weather dude’s predictions pan out.  Remember the smooth lines from today, but after all the wind much of the hill is fairly smooth with the low amplitude rumble mellowing out quickly.   It is only on those more sheltered, high traffic lines that are still holding significant interference patterns.  I continually meet folks who are new to the hill and are exploring the possibilities.  I am always excited for them.  Here is a shot of Team TEXAS, who were stoked to get to the peak and see the smooth lines that awaited them.  dsc04178Check the Bird site in the AM for further updates and info on the Canyon.  It is going to be a great day and lots of snow is in the forecast.  Syrup Won’t Stop ‘EM!!                                                                       There was another famous Kazoodie’s Pizza Extravaganza last night, where Mike brought all the fixin’s for the pie with him on his flight from LA. where he stashed it all in checked luggage.  He owns several restaurants there and he brought the LA experience to LCC.  Here are a couple of shots of the pan pies he made next to his trademark take out boxes.   dsc04164dsc04174These pies were off the charts tasty and with Kazoodie’s new Pizza Oven giving it that special something something, it was a pizza tasting delight.   This could turn into something.  IBBY!!



It was a stormy day on the hill, with a few inches of high density product to start things out.  I stuck with the tried and true wind lines I have been plying of late, but some aspects took a hit from the wind  and had returned to a breakable crust, when just yesterday they were soft and supportable.  The hill changes just that fast, and with such a stout wind blowing it changes by the hour. Both sides of the hill were feeling about the same, but the low angle lines were the best quality.  The old layer is still in play and must be addressed, but overall the soft feel is getting more wide spread.  I kept doing laps on the lines I had dialed in to take full advantage of the threads of goodness that had set up on both sides of the hill.  These are some of the best days of the season, with no crowd, smooth lines, soft snow, and good consistency all day  long.  I stopped on the peak to spend some time at The Summit to chill while the storm raged outside.  dsc04162I was talking to Team Martin here at the corner table looking out over the deck.  They have just moved here for real and are very stoked to be right at the foot of the hill.  Nice to have a back yard like this.  There is a lot of work being done to get Mineral Basin ready to open for the season.  There has been no word on a date, but I think it will be very soon.  I am looking forward to the mornings back there.   Tomorrow, look for additional accumulation to have fallen.  There may be a bit more traffic with the new snow, but we will see how it all shakes out.  I think the bottom will still be in effect, but this dense snow has been cushioning the ride quite a bit and more will only be better.  See you for the first Boat.  IBBY!!



The Groomers and the wind worked lines were the big feature of today’s carving extravaganza.  Light traffic made the hill feel like a private resort.  I was working  the wind lines I remember from yesterday and ventured into some areas I have not been all season to get the smooth velvety wind slab that nature provided.  Both sides of the hill were offering excellent lines and it just took some exploration to find yours.  There was plenty to go around and there never was a build up of chop, which kept me on the hill until 3PM.   High Baldy opened today, so I took a little jaunt to check out the lines.  The snow there was very deep and very thick, which required my full fall line, drive line technique to focus the power needed to blow thought it.  There was a bit of a zipper crust on it just to add to the excitement.  As the hill gets worked, the consistency improves and some of the features are better revealed.  dsc04159I get to meet great folks every day and I met Meeshang who was really stoked to be here and is ready to ride the wave as it breaks on the hill in the next few days.  The weather dude promises snow for tomorrow, but it looks to be light flurries.  All those wind worked lines remain smooth and supportable, so work those same lines when they get covered with fresh.  Much of the breakable that I ran into some days ago is gone, so dial in your line and get it all.  There may be a punchable spot or two, however, and light touch and easy transitions will keep you on top.  Visibility will be variable again as it was today, with some periods of very flat light.  See you there for the fresh smooth lines.  See the line, Be the line!!



As anticipated, the corduroy was off the charts perfect today, with Regulator offering perfect, dry, chalky wind slab that was absolutely sensational.  While the Groomers where firm, they had just the right amount of velvet to let you lay it over like Ligety!!.   There was a stout wind blowing out of the Northwest, which began transporting the loose snow and depositing it in long flowing lines that stretched down the hill.  Later in the day, those lines would become threads of perfection that kept me doing laps to get the goods when they were happening.  Both sides of the hill were offering great lines, with upper Silverfox getting that wind slab smooth consistency that is rare and perfect.    The morning crew took a tour of the Gad 2 chair, where we found more exceptional groomers that had an even softer feel with the lack of traffic that it has seen this season.  Here is a shot of The Tram Rat and Captain Jake standing at the top of  Gad 2 with the Twins in the background.  dsc04156Overall , the wind improved the conditions a lot since yesterday, and I think the wind will continue to do great things all over the hill.  Tomorrow, look for those lines of goodness on both sides of the hill.  Look for those low hollows and aspect tilts that catch the transport.  With the super light traffic, it is a wall to wall, ground pounding fun fest.  Dial in your deepest turns and extract as much juiciness as you can from each run.  These days really offer the best snow of the season, which is unaffected by the Sun or the temperature gradients that affect the pack later in the season.   More snow is coming, so get ready for the goods.  Syrup Won’t Stop ‘EM!!



The high density product that fell with this last installment was the perfect consistency for base building.  It was dense, cold, and still soft even when it got piled up.   There as a very large turn out of The Faithful to get the goods, but they would have to be patient as the hill opened a bit late and then in stages.  I made a couple of laps on Gad 2 to scope it out, finding very nice snow in the trees, with the smooth underlying base making each turn round and quiet, without the bounce of high amplitude interference patterns which develop with more traffic.   Here is a shot of the Kennecott Mine across the Valley, with a fresh coating of white and interesting morning Sun lighting it up.  dsc04151As more of the mountain opened up the crowd became more spread out and the lines eased up a bit.  Excellent lines were to be found off of the Cirque Traverse on both sides of the hill, but the cover is still shy and extra caution should be used when pushing a line.  Again, most of the rumble has been mitigated by the recent accumulation, so dialing in a full power fall line approach is no problem.  I have still been concentrating on dialing the smooth and round turns that keep my knees from becoming grumpy.   Here is another shot of the Mine from the peak on my first Tram.dsc04155The weather lifted and some Sun began to make an appearance, making this shot much more detailed.  The difference in elevation between the two perspectives is  interesting and gives you an idea of the scale of those excavations.  Tomorrow, look for some awesome Groomers to be the feature of the day, with the off trail still offering soft lines on all sides of the hill.  The harbor chop has built up with the dense product, so the bounce factor will be something to consider. There is more snow on the way in the coming week, and it should put the frosting on the cake.  Don’t Forget To SIZZLE!!



This series of storms seems to be very slow in getting the goods going.  Overnight, not much accumulation on the hill, but still there was a fresh coating for the expectant faithful.  High density product was just the thing to build base and make the consistency smooth, thought the old layer was still in play where the wind thinned out the cover. Here is a shot from my friend Mikeimg_9846took on his first line down South Chute.. That looks pretty tasty to me, but it is still thin out there.  The wind was offering up free refills on the Gad side of the hill, which certain lines there worth the wait for the Tram.  Tomorrow, look for additional accumulation to be a feature, as it is raining hard here at the Trailer and that translates as dumpage up on the hill. Flurries will continue in the AM. but we may see some clearing later.  Expect a lot of pressure on the hill with all the new snow.  dsc04144I came across this wrangler coming off the hill with a very large stetson.  He was stoked to be enjoying all the new snow and was having a really good time.  I love it when the folks get into the spirit and  let their flag fly.  Check the Bird site in the AM for road restrictions and hill access.  I will be back up on the hill first thing, so I will have a first hand report for tomorrow.  IBBY!!



The faithful had high anticipation for the storm that had been predicted to move in.  There was 4 to 5” of fresh high density Essence that covered the rasty off trail, making it much more approachable.  Snow was falling for the morning session, but did not accumulate as anticipated.  The Sun actually made an appearance off and on all afternoon.  Here is a shot of the Salt Lake dsc04148Twins being illuminated by one of those windows.  The storm is still on the way and looking juicy, with fairly high accumulation predictions.  We will just have to wait and see what tomorrow brings.  The Cirque Traverse opened today as well as Gad 2, so there is a lot of new terrain to check out.  If there is significant accumulation, those areas may re close again.  The Cirque offered very nice soft frosting that felt perfect underfoot, and had just the right amount of resistance to make the turns feel effortless.  Tomorrow, look for a full on storm riding day, with a lot of accumulation during the day.  There should be high traffic to get the goods after today’s short depth.  Still, the conditions continue to build into a very consistent excellence that will only get better with additional depth.  I expect a very nice cycle to give us a, perhaps, legendary scenario.  Have fun, as I will be taking the day off to recover from a big week of vertical.  Stay Frosty!!