Post subject: JADITW (Just Another Day In The Wasatch)
Posted: Fri Feb 10, 2006 3:06 am
Joined: Fri Nov 19, 2004 8:41 pm Posts: 1622 Location: Santa Cruz, CA
photos by jimw and Tri-U
My riding season got off to a rocky start with a dislocated shoulder the day after Christmas. So I've been kind of taking it easy for a while (well, I did go riding again 5 days after it happened, but that probably wasn't very smart and I digress...), and it's been hard to sit on the sidelines. So when my buddy Franz asked me if I wanted to meet up with his group in Utah for a few days in Feb, I jumped at the chance. I figured I'd be all healed up by then. Initially I was planning on just doing resort days. But then I found out that by chance, by bc buddy Dan B was also going to be in town the same days. So I called up an SLC local I knew - Launce (Tri-U from the ttips board), and we made plans to hook up for at least one bc day. Then bcrider made plans to be down there at the same time, and it was starting to look like a party.
The group that I was staying with was a random group of people that all met through random connections. I think they all know Kevin Bacon though. The core group were in the outdoor retail business, and were there for the OR expo. Apparently they had a tradition of renting a house for the week after the expo to get in some turns. They were a fun group to hang out with.
On Friday, the plan was to go to Snowbird. The first order of business was to get some discount tickets at the ski shop. I was also in the market for a suitable helmet.
The helmet was cool, but check out the hat and shades on the guy behind me. We started up the road to Snowird, but the cars were backed up all the way down LCC road. So we changed our minds and went to Brighton instead. It would have been cool to check out the competition that was going on at Snowbird that day. I would have loved to see that 150 ft front flip that guy pulled off! Anyway, Brighton was a fun, low-key place, and we found some great snow. Here's Bill playing around on a rock:
After a good day of powder (by Tahoe standards), we headed back to the house for a hot tub and gourmet dinner. I could get used to this.
I called up Launce and Dan and made plans for the next day. Launce was thinking about doing Argenta (a run off Kessler Peak in BCC) with his friend Derek (trackhead on ttips), and Derek's brother Vic. I also called up bcrider and DJ, and plans were on for a group of about 8.
The next morning, we were waiting around for bcrider and friends, and then I got a call from Chris saying he was on the bus. Turns out we had gotten our signals crossed and had gone to different parking lots, so they decided to head up LCC to get their turns. We headed about halfway up BCC and pulled off to start the climb to Kessler Peak. The access truly is amazing there. We were literally climbing straight from the car. No time wasted on those pesky "approaches"!
The trees and near the ridge reminded me a lot of areas around Tahoe, like Tallac.
I was my usual slow-skinning self (first trip of the season, just getting over a cold, blah blah blah), so Derek had already dug a pit near the photo above and continued on by the time I got there. The snow here was looking very stable. The line is mostly north-facing, so it also was holding some good powder and wasn't wind-affected.
Skinning along the ridge
Great views looking toward LCC
Vic and Derek at the summit
Right before the summit, I stopped at the entrace to a really nice-looking couloir (east couloir of Kessler). When I saw it, 3 things happened, pretty much by instinct:
1) I said "Holy shit!"
2) I snapped a picture.
3) I wondered if I had a clean pair of underwear in the pack.
(Special side note for bcrider... Speaking of the pack, one of the guys I was staying with was Steve, the product development manager for Osprey. He had one of the 06 Switch prototypes, and he let me borrow it for the trip. He said it would make you jealous! It's definitely a sweet pack with some nice features.)
As it turned out, there were a couple tele skiiers who had arrived at the summit just ahead of us, and one of them ripped this line. Derek got it on video. Looking forward to checking that out sometime.
The views from the summit were incredible.
Soon we started down, and found some nice deep powder. The Utards were complaining that it was a little heavy, but by Tahoe standards it was blower!
It continued like this for pretty much all of the 3000 ft back to the car. One thing that I found amazing (and different from other people's experiences in other areas on the same day) was the lack of people. It sure didn't seem like "Wasangeles". We had only seen the two other skiiers at the top, and didn't see anyone else when looking out from the peak. About 2/3 of the way down, we finally ran into another group. Turned out it was a guided group from Exum. They were asking Derek about conditions, and apparently weren't overly friendly. Probably just mad because we got there first.
Dan above BCC road
Me getting in on the action
We arrived back at the car with huge smiles. I asked Launce if this was typical, and he replied that it was pretty much "just another day in the Wasatch." Damn. You Utards are lucky.
The roadside access is insanely convenient. We were back at the car at 12:30, so we drove another mile or so up the road and did a half day at Solitude. Launce showed us some of good spots to hit. I really didn't notice how much heavier the split is vs. my resort board before, but I sure was noticing it on the lift with that thing hanging off of one foot. Doh! Later that afternoon the board started making a weird noise, and then the tip clip came off. Doh part 2! Damn those Burton tip clip attachments.
All in all, a great day, and a great way to start out the bc season.
That night, it snowed nearly a foot in some areas. I was flying out the next day, so decided to take it easy and do another resort day. This time we went to Snowbird, and we were on the first lift. We took some chutes under the lift, and all I can say is... wow. Steep untracked chutes with light powder and face shots on every turn! That one run was worth the price of the ticket. Which is good because by the next run, the tops of the chutes were already getting tracked out, and I pretty much destroyed my edge on a rock. But there was lots of powder to be had elsewhere on the mountain.
Case in point (I'm actually in the bottom of the picture, just covered in a cloud of pow)
Bill says he's cold
Getting a little air
Dan above untracked in Mineral Basin
Licking the pow
Cool lighting with the sun trying to peek through while it's still snowing
We left the resort at 4 PM, and I still managed to get back to the house, pack, take a shower, and make it to the airport for a 6:55 PM flight with time for a pizza and Starbucks. Damn. That means I could have gotten in another run...
Joined: Wed Mar 09, 2005 4:15 pm Posts: 2583 Location: san diego CA
Bout time Jim, I have been waiting for one of those classic JIMW Tr,s once again not dissapointed. Why did the couloir make you need new underware? I know you drop stuff like that alone, at dusk, after it refreezes so for you to have that kind of reaction, it would probably make me run back to the truck Thanks for the stoke