Sunday, November 29, 2015

So Long from Alta

Went to So Long meadow from Alta via Catherine’s Pass, Rocky Point, Point Supreme and down. Two laps later I did indeed get a sense that that meadow is Sooo Long… In any case the conditions were astoundingly good although outright chilly. Here are some temps:

08:00 AM Park City at 7,300’:        4 degrees F
08:30 AM Salt Lake on the 215:    18 degrees F
09:00 AM Alta at 8,800’:                 4 degrees F
02:00 PM Alta at 8,800’:                10 degrees F

So today there was a 14 degree difference between Park City/SLC and the same between Alta/SLC. Not sure what the temps were up at 10,600 but with no sun and some wind it sure felt somewhat brisk… 
After the laps in So Long I went back up to Point Supreme and skied out through the resort just to make this more of a loop than an in and out.

Here are the greyish pictures as this was anything but a bluebird (click to enlarge):

Lots of snow on the way up to Catherine's Pass with Devil's Castle
and Sugaloaf in the distance.

Rocky Point and Point Supreme from Catherine's Pass.

Nice snow cover on the North facing slopes.

Looking down on Catherine's Pass from Rocky Point.

Looking down So Long.

Two feet plus on So Long

West Bowl as seen from Point Supreme.

Here are the AWWP:

Arctic sun through the evergreens.

Lone Pine growing on rock. A testament to the resilience of the pine tree,
no wonder these were the first to grow on the tundra at deglaciation.

Hidden slope through the spruces.

Trail between snow covered evergreens.

Friday, November 27, 2015

4°F at Empire Lodge this morning

With an early start the sun didn't show up for a while and with a bit of a breeze you were not immediately overheating on the skin up! The Utah Avalanche center promised a wind-chill of -9°F and it sure felt like they were spot on. If anyone was still wondering whether winter has made it to Park City yet, those doubts were put to rest today. On top of it all we got new snow. Not a lot. Not as much as the forecast promised, but enough to make today's skiing more fun than without those added lower single digit inch values. Not to mention: Nothing like a dusting of snow on the spruces to give that special winter wonderland feel.

Here are the pictures (click to enlarge):

A few inches on top never hurt a tour

Looking up through the spruces towards the Daley Chutes

Matias is putting in the effort...

...and collecting on that reward.

Two buddies in lock step.

Winter wonderland I...

...and winter wonderland II

Sunday, November 22, 2015

The amazing Pro Tongue by Intuition

On December 7, 2013 I presented a few new liners I had received from INTUITION SPORTS. This is almost two years later and I have had ample time to test them “for the duration.” As I promised then "I will do a more in depth analysis of these after a full season with them." So today I will share my experience with the Pro Tongue and show you what they look like after 100+ days in the back country. Yes that is what I have used this liner for, the back country. First a couple of words about me and not only because I love to talk about myself but mostly so you know how much or how little whatever I have to say may apply to you. 


I am 5 feet 10 and weigh in at 180 lbs. I like longer days which for me means 4,000’ – 5,000’ and the occasional “very big day” at 7,000’+. What I am NOT is a featherlight Skimo racer type. I still consider the downhill the main objective and the reward. Once going downhill I like to go after it and so appreciate a lot of control. This all translates into my equipment choices. I like it light but I don’t pick the absolutely lightest. My boots although light are 4-buckle (see below) and although I use Dynafit bindings I opt for the ST Vertical so there again a little bit more weight for a little bit more control. This is to give you a sense of from what perspective I judge my equipment. Another factor to take into consideration, I don't have any commercial interest in INTUITION SPORTS nor do I get any incentives on you or anyone else buying these products. This is just me blogging about my equipment so if it seems biased, it's only based on my appreciation for the equipment I love. There is a fair amount of things I've tried and don't like but I tend to not write about those as my mom taught me that "if you don't have anything nice to say..."


So back to these Pro Tongue by Intuition. The very pair I show below has seen 100+ days in the back country, mostly in the Wasatch, some in the Tetons and a week in Valdez. The Pro Tongue Liner is the stiffest tongue-style liner Intuition makes which means it’s not necessarily the most geared towards BC (for that they do have the Pro Tour, a softer “fluffier” model). However based on what I said above I enjoy the extra responsiveness the higher flex and stiffness this liner offers. It's made with Intuition's light and warm closed-cell EVA foam that I got heat molded for as precise a fit as possible. The liners come with removable 7mm shims that you can use for soles but I use my beloved custom fit footbeds that have my eternal loyalty.

As the title indicates, I do like these a lot: They fit my skiing style, they seem indestructible and as I said two years ago: Intuition liners are designed to improve on stock boot liners by:

Being lighter and warmer than stock liners
Being more durable than stock liners
Offering a better fit than stock liners

For the fit: I had my boots punched out for a small preassure point. I use custom footbeds, and the heat molded Pro Tongue. With that I get all the control I want plus the a level of comfort that gives me the feeling i am skiing in warm slippers...

After two seasons of use I can confirm that it all holds true. Here is what my pair looks like after two seasons (as you can see this is true amateur pics):
First a vue of how they fit in my Garmont (now Scot)
Cosmos shells. from the front..

...and from the side. Note that on all these pictures I
have left out the booster strap that will cover a good
portion of the visble parts of the liner...

...the other side and...

...from the back. This is exactly how much it sticks out
from the shell as the booster strap in the back falls
below it.

Now the "naked" version from the front. As you can see
they are holding up real well. I did not keep the laces
that they came with. In the BC I like to keep it as simple
as possible and will jetison any non critical parts.

From the side even the logo and text imprint are
still fully readable... 

From the back some minimal wear that
won't affect function...

Here again, only minor cosmetics
after 100+ days in the BC!

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Return of The Empire!

Every snowfall counts these days as even the last “1 – 3 inches” made a difference at Empire. Because it was 11 degrees this morning I went up Ore Cart and Domingo which get sun earlier than Orion. Turns out that 1) that side had a better snow cover overall, and 2) the last little snowfall left a little powder on top. In other words what was meant as just another workout became a great uninterrupted ski from top to bottom. It was good enough to justify a couple of laps.

Here are the pictures:

Going up Ore Cart...

...and more Ore Cart

Upper Domingo: It may not be
first tracks but it's real turns.

10,420 - Guradsman Pass - Un-named 10,006

Jupiter is getting filled in

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Jupiter from Empire Lodge

On this dark gray day Silver Lake base was closed to up traffic so I went to Empire Lodge knowing I would be facing a thin “pack”. So this tour is mostly geared towards a workout with a little skiing involved. Anything below the Empire Express south shoulder is skiable all the way to the parking lot. And reasonably OK skiing at that. Of course when you go to Jupiter that stretch represents no more than a quarter or so of the outing, but still… Here are the pictures (click to enlarge):

Beginning of Orion just past the base of
the Empire Express lift

Further up Orion but before the mini "headwall"

From the "pass" separating Empire Express south shoulder
from the way up to Daly Shutes ridge line it's all skiable.

Empire Express south shoulder. That upper part is not
prime skiing just yet.

Practically all the sun there was today was shining on Jupiter...

The McConkey's traverse...

Snow making by the Summit Lodge...

...and more snow making further down Bonanza. Does this mean that
we'll open on Saturday with more than Payday?

Practicably skiable...

Clayton Peak (aka Majestic) from jupiter Peak...


Mt Wolverine, Tuscarora and Millicent

Mt Raymond, Scotts Hill and Pinecone in the foreground.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Alta Pre-Season: 1st good turns of the season

This was my 6th day of the 2015/2016 season which means I am ready to compromise quality a lot. However today was very good skiing and so I got my first excellent turns of the season. The snow, especially above 10,000, has settled a little and offer a bit more of a pack rather than dust with direct access to rocks… having said that even below you could get some good action, I got to ski Nina's Curve for the first time this season and only hit one little pebble in the whole couloir!

Here are the pictures (click to enlarge):


Turns off of Wildcat

From under Sugarloaf looking towards Baldy

Mineral Basin and the Twin Peaks


Suicide is getting filled in...