Hopefully the round trip drive is shorter than your ski day. Squeaked one into that metric under marginal conditions. Marginal conditions for me, that is. Not for the mass of humanity that swarmed to the mountain to ski icy groomers and dodge blue and red poles on even icier slopes (my first weekend day of the year). Nicely, the trip from Bumfuck City to The Claw was traffic free, only had to pass one slow pickup. On the Claw-to-Crystal segment, we fell in line behind a long line of snowplow-hindered traffic (there was no road snow) and parked in the butthole of A-Lot. A long walk to the lodge found mobs of sapling skiers taking nearly every seat, chowing down on Crystal’s best breakfast thingies, and preparing to do battle with colored poles for a top spot on the honor list. Thank you, racers, as that kept most of the crowd out of the lift lines for the day.
Crowd rant over, we loaded C-Nook at 8:30 to get an early start on tearing up what ever we found. I was wary of conditions after this week’s rain event. And it took an hour of poking to confirm (firm is in that word, did he do that on purpose?) wariness justified. Four to six inches of windblown smooth snow over ice of various shapes. Blue ice that still showed 2-day old groomer marks, hidden hard mogul ice, or crunchy chicken head ice. It was easy to find. Variable Conditions was the call of the day as each turn was different. I cancelled the tear it up part.
A few nice turns in Avalanche basin. Too few, given the long traverse in and out. In Powder Bowl, I linked 3 good turns to each bad one - an improvement. All the way from Avie Basin to Snorting Elk without much difference, I was about to give up all hope. Only untried area was Northway. Sounded like a bad idea, but it provided the best runs of the day. Paradise Bowl - Penny Dawgs, and the funnest, most unexpected - Chairline Bumps. Slaloming the Low Chair signs reminded me of the Old Days banging a line down K2 Face with a chair, people, and skis a few feet over your head. But, I guess these days skiing a nasty bump line under the chair, inches from sudden doom, doesn’t get even a slight Whoop from the chair riders. Kids these days. I’m 2 feet away from you and can hear you talking as I drop these huge moguls! Oh well. Mogul skiing is a lost, unappreciated art, I guess.
As I left Northway, the wind picked up, the fog picked up, the snow (an icy sleety snow), picked up and Luckyshot (it wasn’t so Lucky) tried to erase the fun of the Northside. As I’d crossed the threshold of ski time being greater than drive time I was in the OK to leave zone. And so we did.
Who knows? Today’s snowfall was lower/slower than expected. Tomorrow will be cool, snowy, and crowded - Sounds like a repeat of today. Tuesday - more of the same weather. I’m out with Home Improvement Projects till thursday or friday and don’t see much improvement by then. As all the good forecasters say…. We’ll see.
Crowd forecast, after tomorrow - this weekend should be the last big crowd of the season as ski schools wear off and people need to mow their lawns.