The Unexpected Bonus at The Canyons
on March 14, 2008
I woke up today with a skiff of snow on my deck. Like the powder snob this season has made me into I was half trying to rationalize why I didn't need to meet my buddy Brian at The Canyons for some turns, thinking that they likely got little new snow overnight.
Funny thing was Brian was doing the same thing.
Then I checked the SkiUtah.com snow report. It looked like this:
As I scanned the report this is what I was thinking:
"Alta - 7" yea, not bad, could be scratchy underneath in spots...Brian Head, 0", no love for the south....Brighton 10", nice, a Big Cottonwood storm, westerly flow likely....The Canyons 10"!?, whoa, could it be true? wow, 10", but where? 9990? hmmm....DV, 8"....Basin, 6"...Bird, only 5"? interesting...Solly, 10", right on...straight up westerly storm....could be good. I guess The Canyons is a green light"
I donned my Eider jacket and tossed my Rossignol Scratch Brigades in the car thinking at 98mm under waist they'd be fine for today. After all, it's only 10", not nearly enough for the big guns. Scanning the snow report in my mind I wondered when during the past 24 hours the snow actually fell? How deep will it really be? Would it be tracked from yesterday? Questions raced through my mind...
While riding up the gondola I was with two couples who were looking over the trail map, wondering where to go. So I passed the time giving them a full run down of what to expect, where to go, what runs would suit their preferences, telling them that the long groomers with a couple inches on top of them may be the ticket today given a possible dust on crust scenario in many places.
At the top of the gondola I hooked up with Brian who runs Park City based Locals Have More Fun and we pushed off towards Tombstone thinking a strategy of high with north aspects would be best. Starting down Chicane I tested the sides of the run only to realize it was boot deep everywhere and deeper in select spots. Riding up Tombstone with a small handful of people around only confirmed that the report was indeed wrong...there was definitely more than 10" of new snow. BONUS!
Tombstone kept our attention for a few laps with untracked lines of 20-30 turns each run. Lifts were nearly empty and the trees even less so. South facing slopes were a bit scratchy under the 10" but anything north or east facing was money, the bumps from the previous week only added to the soft texture of the experience.
Tombstone was far from skied out given the scarce skier population, but we headed towards 9990 anyway, only to find it was still closed for avalanche control work. Bonus was that we bumped into my buddy Ben to make it a trio.
Peak 5 would have to hold our attention until 9990 opened...and it did just that. Two quick laps in some of the best gladed pines you'll ever find had me giggling like a school boy. Given the banner year we bee lined for "The Abyss", a double black diamond area on the north side of Peak 5 that offers plenty of billy-goat lines through rock bands and old snag trees. Working our way skiers right I honed in on a chute and sent it, Brian and Ben following as we indulged in face shots towards the apron.
9990 opened and the powder frenzy was on. What was boot high to knee deep on Tombstone was now knee deep to face shots on 9990. I should have brought the big guns.
The next hour or so of repeated laps was accompanied by an intense snowstorm that filled in tracks and kept stoke levels spiked. And we had only scratched the surface. We had only skied 3 of the 11 upper mountain lifts. I'm sure a mile to the north and nearly 3000+ acres away on the Condor Lift conditions were more of the same. Acreage certainly does have its privileges.