I'm sure you've been there. Storm clouds roll in, snowing like crazy, people buzzing about how tomorrow will be awesome. Tomorrow came and with it I checked the Ski Utah snow report - 2" was what Snowbird Resort was reporting.
"2 lousy inches is all we got out of that storm?!?" I thought to myself. But alas, I had a date so I wasn't going to miss it. I hopped in the Subie and off I went to Snowbird.
Arriving at Snowbird I could tell that there was more than 2" on the tram deck as I made my way to the tram line. Looked more like 4".
Evan Moore (local pipe/park skier) and I hooked up and rode up the tram thinking a lap in Mineral might be nice. Word in the tram was that Mineral Basin had opened the day before (Dec. 13) had people buzzing. I was skeptical given that some south faces had gotten a bit of a sun crust this week and wondered if it'd be death crust, rocky or both.
As we got off the tram we fortuitously hooked up with Dave Wintzer (what a cool last name) who aside from riding for Bluehouse Ski Co is a Snowbird regular. He squashed my fears about Mineral Basin saying that he just spun a lap off of the Bookends Traverse finding nice dry pow with untracked areas remaining so we headed that way.
Dropping in off the traverse into Junior's Powder Paradise it was just that - 6" of nice light fluff with few tracks...at 10am no less. We rolled onto the lift with no more than 10 others in the lift line. Pretty much a perfect day.
Heading up the lift we spotted more untracked areas skiers right of the lift in the area in between "Double Down" and "Not Quite Corn" so we dropped in off the top.
It was a bit boney up top and we had to ski light for a bit but once we got down under the wind affected areas we were into a zone of 8-10" of untracked and before long we were hootin' and passing around the high fives. I was starting to wonder about that 2" snow report.
After slipping ever so cautiously into the lower Chamonix Chutes we were all smiles and headed back up the lift.
Dave suggested a zone in Sliver Fox that required a "tricky traverse and a little drop to enter" but with promises that it would be "so worth it" I followed. I've learned to never doubt a local when they are going to lead you to the goods.
Even in mid-season some of the entrances to spots in the cirque can be dicey but once past the entrance the goods are often better than advertised. Today was no different.
A tricky traverse and a straight-line to 5' air later I was making fast sweeping turns in boot deep powder down hanging bowl which is in between "Silver Fox" and "Great Scott". Lower down off of Chip's Run the sides of the run kept things fun with cut up powder and spots of untracked.
That was just the start. The sun came out, the wind died down a bit and mid baldy opened up on the next lap with Dave exclaiming, "He shoots, he scores!" followed by "those were the best turns of the season." Let's hope we get more of that real soon.