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Wasatch Storm Skiing 1/10-1/13

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

 It's been pretty dry around here so last week when we had snow in the forecast everyone got pretty excited. I've actually forgotten when it started, but by 3:00 pm on Thursday the 9th, my office window was turning opaque with snow....




The next morning, we had about 8" of new snow at PCMR on the lower mountain, much more up high. I hooked up with a few Park City friends and my ski buddy from Alta, Emily, came to ski with us on the 3 free lift tickets program that Snowbird, Alta, PCMR and Deer Valley each gave to all their passholders in response to Vail invading Utah...  Em said: The Alta crowd hasn't had powder for weeks, and they're rude. I know. I'm one of them. But today they're gonna be mean..."


We hit the front runs first, Willy's CB's etc. off the Crescent lift. Fluff on bumps- very tasty, but not the untracked powder we were looking for. McKonkeys had it, and the hordes of teenagers tracked it up pretty fast... Patrol was slow to open Jupiter, and the coverage on the usual powder stashes in the woods & meadows was pretty scant. But as the outer lifts started opening from being on wind hold, Pioneer, Thanes, and finally Jupiter, we got the goods. Jupe is still bony, but the howling west wind was dumping copious amounts of powder over the ridges. Did I mention that it snowed all day? Here's Em hiking Scotts bowl. The wind was so strong it stopped you in your tracks at times...



Here's the payoff...





And on down...



The next day, the 11th, was a break in the storm cycle and the sun came out. The original plan was Powder Mountain, but the new storm was forecast to come in that day with sustained winds of 28-40 & 50 mph wind gusts. The kids, after a full week of school, wanted to just hang out, maybe see a movie. It's funny, growing up in a ski town. My kids see skiing kinda like glorified gym class, some grow up to be Ted Ligity, and some don't ski at all. They ride horses or something. In any case, we sat that day out. The forecast never happened, and it was a warm, sunny, bluebird day. I'll bet Pow Mow was heaven.

   Pow Mow was on for Sunday. But then a funny thing happened. No snow that afternoon, no storm. I was up at 12:30- still clear. Sometime during the wee hours the second storm came howling in. Decision time: Here's the call: Deer Valley, no question. No one grooms like DV. They reported 8" , 20" storm total (72hrs). Groomers knock off before midnight. Storm came after. 8" of Utah blower on top of DV cord is unbelievable. Also, if the kids crap out, much nicer lodges than Pow Mow..., So, we head to Deer Valley.  


Sultan and Wasatch were on wind hold, but we wanted Empire & Lady Morgan anyway. Wind direction and blow in. It was nuking snow and the wind was ferocious- perfect Deer Valley skiing- no one there but a few  locals and hardy tele markers from Montana....


However, much of the resort was sheltered from the wind by the ridges and the trees. Some places were dead calm...


   Lady Morgan had the full 20" of snow in it... My 11 year old daughter was pretty scared, but a gamer. Here she is coming down..  We all had pretty fat skis except her (90), my wife on 112 DPS Evettes, Me on 108 Rossie Soul 7s, my son ( big head in foreground) on Shiro Jrs.  Shiro Juniors on order for the little one for nailing that and Empire bowl...repeatedly. The snow in the woods is low- caution- the traverse through the woods below Lady Morgan was a challenge for the kids - me too.





The bowls were my idea for the blow in- but once we got on to the regular stuff it was ridiculous. Deep pow everywhere. Hidden Treasure has a natural half pipe wall that even though groomed down the middle was totally untracked and super fun- especially on the Soul 7's. I took out the Super 7's from the free Rossi demo yurt, and although more stable and burly than the Souls, were trucks in comparison. I'd rather give up something on the bulldozer scale in exchange for the turny, dancey, fun of the Souls. Here's the lift line at Lady Morgan:




 My people on the Runout from Empire bowl:



We ditched the kids for a few laps. There's a lot to be said for parking them at a table next to a roaring fire, throwing on a few logs, and ordering lunch from a phalanx of white suited servers. And what a lunch. For not much more than the price of your average ski hill greeseburger, you get the cuisine of a fine hotel...



The Wife enjoying a groomer- alone...!



On the drive home we could see why it was so quiet. Down in town, the wind was blasting snow horizontally with no end in sight.  People were huddled around the fire. The wind keeps 'em home. Snow kept on coming.


  The next day, today, the 13th, Alta was on the schedule. The plan was that the crowds would be gone, the storm past, and Patrol would open up all that terrain on avi hold just for us. Didn't happen. It was better than that. The storm was late in coming, and in the Cottonwoods, was still raging full on. My son went to school, My wife & daughter took a mom & daughter day off, I pushed work off to tomorrow, and met our friend Emily in the parking lot... this is me, Soul 7's, Lower Sunspot.



 Skied all day off Collins. Much of the mountain was shut down and waits... the high traverse was as bad as I've ever seen it over 20 years skiing Alta. First lap, I hit it too fast and rocked out. Lost a ski and was sliding downhill, head first, fast, in an actual rockslide. Bizarre. Next time, took it more slowly and picked our way across the bare patch. Some of the kids just bombed it. Good for them... Here's Em on lower Sunspot:



These shots were taken on the fly with my i phone. I'm sure some really great photography will come out of this storm from Snowbird and other places... but we've been too busy skiing this crazy stuff to get serious about pictures. The snow was super hero snow, a little wind compressed in spots, real creamy, very deep, and in long stretches, a good three feet of totally untracked, absolute blower Utah Champaign powder. Our tracks would blow in every other lap. The storm total is 40inches, so far, and the weather broke this afternoon. The sun will come out tomorrow and all that terrain on avi hold will open up. Enjoy.

post #2 of 19

Nice stoke! Thumbs Up

post #3 of 19

Nice! :drool 

post #4 of 19

NICE! I left SLC last week, JUST before the snow came. No doubt it was needed - good on you for getting some.

post #5 of 19

Mr. Crab, great report. Nice photos as far as I'm concerned. Know what you mean about the kids. They grow up where they grow up. That's totally normal for them. My kids grew up in Maui and didn't really think it was special to be able to surf or kite surf amazing conditions. But that was just where they grew up. Our kids may have been luckier than us. 

post #6 of 19
Thread Starter 

 ^ I could do Maui... I have a neice who grew up in Eagle Co.- Vail. Doesn't ski, she's a cowgirl. I've had my kids involved in the sport since they were two. Sometimes if I push too hard they push back just as hard. As long as they grow up with an appreciation of physical activity and a positive mental attitude, that's all that matters. Tossing them in the surf with a board sounds like a really good idea sometimes, less stuff, much warmer... 

post #7 of 19


post #8 of 19

Mr. Crab, where was lunch. Always looking for good lunches.

post #9 of 19

Mr. Crab, similar conditions and report from Brighton. Had the goods all to myself. :D





post #10 of 19

That ain't right...

post #11 of 19

Yeah, I know. Tough duty but someone had to do it!  ;)

post #12 of 19

Nice!  It seems you had those slopes to yourself.   I'm still trying to get out there this year.

post #13 of 19
Thread Starter 

Amazing- and with all the powder fever in SLC earlier in the week. Multi day storms are a lovely thing... I hear the long range forecast looks like there are more on tap... Steve- Empire Lodge, Deer Valley.

post #14 of 19

Both Vince and Mr. Crab, great photos. Like the lodge food at DeerValley.

post #15 of 19

My son and I are out here staying at Iron Blosam in Snowbird.  We arrived late Sunday night and skied mostly in trees at the Bird Monday.  WInd was blasting at the top and visibility was not so good. But we found nice soft snow in the trees and just took one tram to the top.  Yesterday the sun came out and we skied Alta.  They opened a lot of stuff and we lapped the backside of Collins  all afternoon from both the Collins Chair and the Sugarloaf lifts.  Huge slide paths and good snow in between which just got deeper and softer as you skied further down the mountain.  The North and East facing slopes were wind loaded the west facing slopes were wind packed.  Heavier than you average Utah blower pow but a heck of a lot better than what we have been getting back east.  Just getting ready to head out, skiing Snowbird again today.  THEy just opened Mineral Basin yesterday...should be a lot of nice chalky crud out there.

post #16 of 19

Mr.Crab - Thanks for the report.  I enjoyed seeing the pictures of all the snow, and it made me reminisce of the great skiing that seemed so long ago now.  Blue skies, cruising groomers, and seeing the off piste snow deteriorate under the current conditions is killing me.  I'm now hitting the park like a 14 year old kid looking for interesting things to do.  Thanks again for the photos - I look forward to skiing powder when the weather eventually brings snow again...and it always does.


T. - www.wasatchreport.com

post #17 of 19

Thanks for the report.  I was in Park City for 7 days over Christmas and saw no new snow.  Jupiter opened the last day we were there, but never made it back there.  Heard it had very limited coverage and some slides from the bombing.  Heading back to PCMR in 2 weeks, so fingers crossed the weather changes and the snow starts falling.

post #18 of 19
Thread Starter 

Long range forecast is hopeful for the first week of February...

post #19 of 19
Originally Posted by Mr. Crab View Post

Long range forecast is hopeful for the first week of February...

Shhh. Dont jinx it. Im hoping for some nice freshies when Im out at snowbasin and powder mountain the first several days of February.

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