Here's a quick TR from Alpine and Squaw over the past weekend.
We hit Alpine Saturday. The backside was "open" but the only way to get there was via High-T. We opted out for the morning and heard over lunch that the backside was still pretty bony. The front was decent if a bit crowded with the President's Day folks all showing up at once. We hit Alpine Bowl--plenty of rocks on skiers left entrance, Fall line for some great snow, and yellow trail for the best turns of the day. There was an unfortunate accident under the Hot Wheels chair right near the base of the lift. We learned later that a ski instructor trying to make a traverse over to Roundhouse collided with an out of control skier and sent him to the hospital. There was a lot of blood on the ground making for a gruesome site.
Sunday we went to Squaw. I signed up for a group lesson and lucked out when I was the only "Advanced" skier. First run we headed up Red Dog and went down Squaw Creek. We headed left after a bit of the groomer and went into some really nice smallish bumps and soft snow.
For the next lap, we headed up Squaw Creek and went immediately left into a pitch marked expert only. My instructor kept telling to to face the fall line more, this was my first off-piste skiing of the season and I was probably a little rusty. We found some legitimate powder in some trees lower on the pitch. It was maybe 6" or so but a sweet find. We trekked out on a little trail all the way at the bottom of the powder field, skiers left of the lift line. I was relieved to get back to the groomed and finish up the run back to Squaw Creek.
We hit KT and had to pick our way through a rocky entrance to get some goods skiers left working around around for a view of Alpine off the back of the lift. Lots of the runs were skied out but my instructor sure knew where to find the best snow. By about noon I was worked and huffing. We went in for a quick break then back out up Squaw One.
The best run of the day for me came right after lunch as we made it up Siberia Express. We went right off the chair and found an awesome soft mogul field that hardly anyone had been on. Other than a rocky start it was absolutely awesome skiing. I have to say I slayed it because the instructor was finally giving me some props for "charging!" He took me through a natural half pipe then over to Emigrant lift. It looked like the funnel was closed but we saw someone trying for it. We took the attic down and went over to Granite.
On a little traverse on Granite Chief, disaster struck. I was trying to scrub some speed and got my tips dug into some deeper snow and double ejected. When I went to regroup I realized I had destroyed my right binding's heelpiece. The metal has sheared at the bolt holding the brake on and there was no repairing it. I had to hike back up to Granite and offload down with ski patrol.
I tried to remain upbeat and focus on the great skiing all day and take some consolation in the fact that I was so worked skiing that hard in the morning that the afternoon was going to be a real slog on my legs.
I was super impressed with the instructor's ability to sniff out the best snow despite the crowds and lack of recent snowfall. One takeaway from this is that the group lesson can be a great way to get a private on the sly.
View from the hike up to Granite:
Edited by dmourati - 2/20/12 at 6:50pm