Sunday, October 20, 2013

First ski of the 2013/14 season!

It’s always a special day when you get to make the first turns of the season, especially when “first skin” and “first ski” are on the same day. Some seasons both are not on the same day see Wasatch 2009 (skin ski) and Alps 2012 (skin ski). Yesterday I hiked from Alta up Baldy by its western ridge and back down by its eastern. Comparing the current conditions with last week’s hike it was clear that we got a fair amount of more snow during the week as I found at least an extra foot compared to last Saturday. However I still found a bit too many rocks lurking just beneath the surface to qualify for “snow cover”. I got to inspect the Great Baldy chute entrance and there too the amount of rock would bring stone grind to a whole new level that I wouldn’t expose even my rock skis to. This is a kind of a close call though and several ski tracks could be seen off the chutelettes off of Baldy west ridge, Great baldy and a little in the Ballroom; clearly people with a higher tolerance for equipment abuse... In any case as I was hiking up the western ridge I got a fairly good view of the Cirque in Snowbird and that looked a lot more promising so I decided to bring the skis up there on Sunday and check out the conditions a bit.
Turned out to be quite the good move: I got to skin about 3,400 and ski 1,200 in powder and another 2,000 on all sorts of icy crud in more of a combat skiing mode. Combat skiing mode is generally code for worthless, heinous skiing that is better left alone. However I have always been of the opinion that bad skiing beats no skiing any day of the week, so I had quite a good day of it!
Here are the pictures (click to enlarge):
The Cirque this morning

First skin: My rock skis and boots, these can take abuse, within reason...

First turns (looks a lot flatter than it is).

First core shot, good thing these are rock skis.

Suicide chute is doing a lot better than last week...
...whatever ski you get out of this though, it's all work before and after.

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