Sunday, November 24, 2013

Pre-season training: Empire Lodge – McConkey’s top

With PCMR opening this week-end, I had to move my pre-season skinning sessions to Deer Valley. I went to the Empire Express base to skin up to the lift top station then on to McConkey’s. That’s about 1,500 feet elevation gain, ideally I would continue to the Jupiter summit but was on a schedule with Max to pick up from ski training at PCMR at noon sharp.
I went up for a solo tour but bumped in to Lance plus Drew and his dog Maya in the parking lot, so my dog Skadi and I had the good fortune of being in a good group of aggressive tri-athletes (not me, them: Drew and Lance). Once on top of McConkey’s a quick inspection of the conditions showed that although some parts probably have close to two feet of cover on grass this is also interspersed with a lot of islands of shallow cover, down to two inches and less over rocks. That ruled out skiing McConkey’s for the day. We will need another foot or more before you can have a great ski down this slope. Essentially the same goes for Jupiter but with the added concern of the large rocks there that you don’t have at McConkey’s. I am not complaining though, this is more than the last couple of seasons, and more than the 2009/2010 season when I was up here at the same time of the year (click here to compare).
The “variable” snow cover, as in rocks and snow, makes it absolutely impossible to relax completely on your skis unless you stopped counting the core shots a while back... Having said that there are portions of really good cover and thus fun skiing to be had on the way back down to the Empire Lodge.
Here are today’s pictures (click to enlarge):
Daly chutes don't have a consistent cover just yet.
Photo credit: Drew Izzo. Taken from the POark City
ridgeline see the clouds covering Heber Valley and
the sun rays piercing thriough the clouds.

Lance on top of McKonkey's with 10,420 in the background.

Drew enjoying the great outdoors with
Deer Valley in the background.

Drew and Lance barrelling down from McConkey's
and back to Deer Valley.

From top to bottom: Lance, Maya, Drew, and Skadi
that got hurt right around here...

...left arrow: her blood, right arrow the "fix".

Skadi and Maya almost back to Empire Lodge.

Skadi inspecting her war wound...

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