Friday, April 3, 2009

9.75

“It was a 9.75—we rate them.”

That’s what Richard told me when we got back to the parking lot. Richard and Scott, whom I had met on a previous outing in Scotties, were the only people there besides Tyler and me.

Scott is in his 50’s and every year tries to do at least one tour for every year he is old. Today was number 66. He’s ahead of schedule.

We had an auspicious start when the snow plow almost hit my car with its blade on its way out of the White Pine parking lot followed by Liam Fitzgerald from UDOT pulling in to tell us he was closing the canyon and this was our last chance to go back down unless we wanted to risk being stuck for a while.

But with the snow still falling, being stuck up the canyon was a chance we were willing to take. Worst case scenario we’d just have to ski more. Please don’t throw me into that briar patch!

Skiing knee deep Utah dry on April 3 was gravy on top of what has already been an impossibly good season. It’s been nearly five months to the day since my first powder day of the season, and today was up there with the best of them.

I was slightly worried about stability but more than anything curious as to what would happen if it broke, so at the top of the ridge, I knocked down this cornice. Notice the crown line to the right of the cornice. The resulting slide was limited to the new snow, didn’t propagate very wide or run very far, but was due warning that we should watch our sluff.

A very happy Tyler makes his way through the trees.

My turn to pose for the camera.

I like skiing during the storm rather than waiting until after, as the best conditions are often while the snow is falling. Doesn’t make for great pictures, but then again the pictures are really only so Rob can see what he missed.

This probably isn’t the best way to train for a bike race tomorrow, but do I look like I care? Who knows, maybe I’ll skip the race and ski instead.

6 comments:

  1. "Liam Fitzgerald from UDOT pulling in to tell us he was closing the canyon and this was our last chance to leave unless we wanted to risk being stuck for a while."

    i wish he had done that the day jay forgot her socks.

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  2. Dug, we were already in the parking lot for Scotties, not at the mouth of the canyon. He was giving us a chance to leave and go back down and skip the skiing, not the other way around.

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  3. It's in the 90s down here every day. I can't imagine being somewhere where it's still feasible to ski.

    On another topic -- your photos are always great. Do you have to interrupt your skiing to take them, or are you taking advantage of some built in idle time during the run?

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  4. 331, typically when backcountry skiing, one person will ski 500 vertical ft or so then duck into an "island of safety"--somewhere not likely to be affected if the slope slides--and wait for his partner(s) to ski down. You don't want to all be skiing at the same time unless it's super stable. This way, if there is a slide, you're not all affected, and you're not so far away from one another that the one not affected has to hike forever to help with the rescue.

    In practice, depending on conditions, it doesn't always work that way, but generally I take photos when I am stopped and waiting for a partner to come down anyway. I ski with my camera around my neck and zipped inside my jacket so it's easy to access.

    Thanks for the compliment on the photos, though. I just use a Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ8, leave it on idiot mode, then crop the photos in picasa to try and make it look like I actually composed the shot.

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  5. Was is Scott Whipperman? Cool guy - he's the one that gave me the ride down the canyon when my binding broke...

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