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First Utah Powder Turns of 02/03 Season!

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
I made some turns in fresh snow yesterday (hee, hee).

Like Endlesseason, I've been skiing at least once a month for quite a while (of course, he's been at it twice as long as I have). Yesterday was my last opportunity to get some turns for September, so I either had to "go skiing" or break the streak.

Unfortunately, no significant new snow had fallen in the Wasatch this September, so the only remaining alternative is the remnant snow patches on Mount Timpanogos. Timp has always been the fall-back, but I don't much like going there because it's a *long* slog carrying skis/boots all the way up and down.

When we looked out the window in the morning, there were clouds hanging around the mountains, but the Salt Lake valley was clear and it looked like a pretty day (looks can be very deceiving). One of my buddies backed out, but my wife agreed to go along for the hike. So, we loaded up the packs and drove to the trailhead.

As we started hiking, the sun was out, the aspen and maple leaves were turning, and everything was gorgeous. About a half-hour up the trail, low clouds rolled over the mountain and it started to spit little graupel balls. We put our coats on and kept going. Before long, the intermittent stuff turned into a full-on snowstorm. The trail got sloppy and slippery, but we kept going.

About the time we reached timberline, we had hiked up into the clouds and visibility was about forty feet.

These trips have a sort of self-momentum. Once you've loaded packs, left home, driven 40 miles to the trailhead, geared up, and trekked a few thousand vertical feet up the mountain, you kinda don't want to admit the obvious - that's it's a miserable day, only idiots would be out doing this kind of thing, and the really smart thing to do would be to turn around and head back to the car. We kept going.

Our intent was to hike to Emerald Lake, which is the lower end of what used to be a big permanent snowfield. As we were trudging up a scree field just to the north and west of the lake, a fairly large white patch appeared through the fog and falling snow. Overhung by a huge cliff wall, it looked to be an old-snow patch. At that point, we'd been hiking in a cloud through driving snow for almost two hours and we both decided it looked good enough.

We scrambled up through a rockfield (nice and slippery with the new snow) and made it to the base of the snow patch. Imagine my surprise to find that there was two to three inches of nice, soft snow on top of the old stuff. I got my boots on, kicked steps up the snowfield, and started down. A whole twenty turns. The new snow was soft and fluffy and *just* thick enough to cushion some of the impact when I'd ski over rocks that were barely covered. My first powder turns of the new season!

It was so much fun that I had to do it again, and by then my wife was tired of standing in the snow and the wind, so I repacked and we headed back down the mountain.

Definitely an outing we'll remember.

post #2 of 6
Respectful Envy. [img]graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img]
post #3 of 6
Bob Way to go, Glad to hear the streak is alive and well! you need to record these events. It would be nice to post some pics along with your story.
post #4 of 6
Niiiice, Bob!!
You're the only guy I've heard of that got September turns in Ootah. And I've gotta say, hiking Timp for them is supremely hard core (that would certainly be my absolute option of last resort). From what I understand, it's at least 10 hours round trip (including skiing) for most people. Is that right?
Nice job, animal.

If all this snow had just come a few hours earlier...
post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 
Hi, Endless.

It's actually not *quite* as much of a slog as you might think. Most people in reasonably good shape can make the summit round trip in about seven hours, plus or minus an hour.

On Sunday, we didn't go to the summit. There's a major cliff wall along the north and east ridge of the summit that provides shade and some snow patches survive through most summers. We skied at the base of that cliff, so where we skied is probably about 1500 vertical feet (and more than an hour less round trip travel time) below the summit.

BTW, you've been a source of inspiration for me. I wasn't aware of your streak when I started mine. I just wanted to be able to say I'd skied at least once a month all through a year. Then somehow one year stretched into two, etc. This was my 60th month, which I believe is exactly half of yours. My hat's off to you.

It's been fun, though. The skiing has provided an excuse to have some very strange adventures during the summers, and we've really enjoyed it. The highlight was skiing at 13,000+ feet outside Aspen over Labor Day last year. We skied in the evening (August 31), camped out overnight, then skied the next day. It was great.

post #6 of 6
Originally posted by Bob.Peters:
.... I just wanted to be able to say I'd skied at least once a month all through a year. Then somehow one year stretched into two, etc.....
Now you know too--that's how the sickness starts...;D
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