Thursday, June 11, 2009

Half a hundred

Anyone who regularly reads this blog knows I’m a box ticker and perhaps a bit obsessive. Yet somehow finishing my ski season with 49 days didn’t really bother me. Despite my obsessive nature, round numbers are just numbers to me, so the only difference between reaching 50 and 49 was one more day on snow.

But since the weather in Utah has pretty much sucked for the last week and getting workouts on the bike has proved difficult, Tyler and I decided to ski this morning. That’s right, on June 11.

One might ask what sort of skiing could be had on June 11. Some damn fine skiing, actually. I skied worse conditions mid-winter. The rain in the valley has actually been snow, albeit moist and grainy, in the mountains. Which left a soft, creamy layer on top, with the snow underneath warm enough to be carveable and not grabby.

The objective of the day was the Main Baldy Chute at Alta, an in-bounds line that’s usually closed during the season, and the first truly steep, technical line I ever skied back in 1993 but hadn’t been back to since.

We were able to skin all the way up to the base of the chute before we started booting.

What is it that Watcher says, if someone takes a good shot of your ass, you should post it to the Internet? Not sure this counts, but here it is anyway.

I’ll admit it seemed a bit ominous staring up into this thing with clouds shrouding the top.

Tyler practicing the rest step.

Looking back down at what we’d come up. The first 2,000 feet of climbing were the easiest. The next 500 as hard as the first 2,000, and the last 500 as hard as everything before.

About 100 vertical feet from the summit, the snow was getting harder, our footholds were less secure, and fatigue was setting in. Rather than risk taking a ride all the way back to the bottom, we decided to just descend from there. Here I am, wishing I could ski like Tyler.

Tyler, showing me how it’s done.

At the bottom of the chute where it widened enough that we could let our skis run, the skiing was incredible. It was like that all the way down the apron.

We skied all the way back to the car. Considering our expectation was to slog through the mud for a while before reaching snow, and then to hike and ski crappy snow with no expectation other than getting some exercise, today was a fantastic day. Good enough that Rick, who transitioned from skis to bikes way back in March, is making noises about getting out next week. I have a feeling it will be a group comparable to a mid-winter powder day.


  1. Sweet. 50 days is mind boggling. That is a lot of early wake up calls.

    There is still a ton-o-snow up there.

  2. Today exceeded all expectations. I never thought skiing in rainy June weather could be so nice. Thanks again for the invite.

  3. Glad you're finding something good about this weather. Wait, maybe I'm not glad, perhaps I'm bitter and angry. I'm too depressed to know.

  4. very nice. maybe ski season in't over after all.

  5. Adam, I'll admit that I wondered how I did it twice a week all winter when the alarm went off this morning. When I got back to the car, my question was answered.

    For anyone lamenting the weather, strap on some boots and a rain jacket and head for the canyons. Skis or no skis, it's absolutely gorgeous up there right now, with lush green foliage and waterfalls at every turn.

  6. Very nice. Glad you were able to take advantage of the week's odd weather. And doesn't posting your ass-shot fill you with an all-round general sense of well-being?

  7. Nice pictures & great run. I skied the same run a couple weeks ago although probably too early in the a.m. Chute & apron were good, but the rest was bulletproof ice. Maybe it's better with the warmer weather now. I may have to check it out.