Thursday, November 24, 2016

Giving Thanks to the latest storm

The season's first outing with Mike was to Empire Express top station from the Empire Lodge (next to the Montage). Elevation gain is 1,350 feet and we did three laps so a bit over 4,000 feet elev. gain before lunch. For the first lap (that started at 8:00 am) we were pretty much alone and had to break a fair amount of trail as today we were first to the Empire Express top station. On the third lap (past 10:30 am) the lower half of the hill was crowded, it felt like we were sharing this thing with another 100+ people. Here are a few pictures (click to enlarge):
View of Jupiter Peak from Empire Express top station.

Mike transitioning to the downhill at Empire Express.

Skadi hydrating...

...and Loki thinking about it.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Winter Wonderland - LCC

Today I went back to Alta Collins expecting pretty much the same conditions as last time. How wrong was I? Really, really wrong I am glad to say. This last storm made a huge difference. Everything was skiable, there was good powder everywhere and all the snow machines were limited to below the Collins angle station. A picture being worth a thousand words, here are the pictures (click to enlarge):

Mt Superior looks a whole lot better than just two days ago.

Cardiff Pass

Toledo Bowl

On the way to the north shoulder of Mt Baldy.

I'll just call this one "magic of  winter."

Crossing over from the Wildcat area going
towards Germania Pass.

Looking back on my turns off the north shoulder of Baldy.

Below Sugarloaf from Germania Pass (aka Collins top station).

Training the zoom onto Twin Lakes Pass.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

1st Ski of the Season!

I went up to the Alta Collins base today and was pleasantly surprised to find that I could skin from the parking lot. Had one of those “stolen winter days” where everything around you tells you it really is winter, the wait is finally over. The wait has not been as bad as it seems, my first ski this year is only 12 days later than my first ski last year. It is true that the two years prior I was able to ski in October but then those two years turned into pitiful seasons while last season was quite OK. Here is to hoping that two late starts in a row translates into two proper seasons (or better).

I skinned to Germania Pass (top of Collins lift) but the snow up high was just insufficient for any real ski so I Nordic skied down on my skins and went across and up to the top of Wildcat. From there I again Nordic skied down but only to the Collins angle station as from there on the skiing was good and fun.

So what do you get out of a day like that?

1) A snow day
2) Lots of skinning
3) Average turns

Number 1) requires no comment. Number 2) gets you exercise while enjoying the Sub-Arctic flora, and 3) is amazing as everyone knows that bad turns let alone average turns, are a ton better than no turns at all!

Here are the pictures (click to enlarge):
Snow straight from the parking lot!

'Tis the season for a fair amount of service road action...

Limited but decent skiing opportunities

It looks like this is yet another year where the resort is
going to open before Graet Baldy chute is in condition...

...but thanks god Suicide chute is still there to
take up the slack.

I have passed here a million times (take or leave...) but
until today never noticed the indian head in profile.
Look inside the oval on the ridge-line and  look for the
nose then you'll figure out the eye and the mouth.

Monday, November 14, 2016

ARE WE THERE YET?!!!#@$%!!!!

OK, so we already have two false alerts here and here. Is this going the be the one? Is this going to be the week that we remember as launching an amazing 2016/2017 season! This horribly delayed start of the season is really a cruel and unusual hardship. There are two reasons it is almost survivable 1) we did not get a regular shoulder season monsoon so pre-season training on the hill never got interrupted, and 2) last year was a later start than the two prior seasons yet it was a much better winter than the two prior. This means there is still hope for an amazing 2016/2017 season!

Her's the forecast (click to enlarge):