Powder Skiing at Snowbird and Alta

I asked for Friday off from work in anticipation of what I hoped would be an epic bluebird powder day. On Thursday, I kept track of which areas at Snowbird remained closed during the storm because those areas would likely have the best snow conditions on Friday.

I arrived at Snowbird early enough to catch the first (public) tram to the top of Hidden Peak. Mineral Basin didn’t open yesterday, so I figured its south- and southeast-facing runs would be loaded with powder snow because of the storm’s strong west-northwest winds.

I was right. The 19 inches of fresh powder on White Diamonds was some of the deepest I’ve ever skied.

It had been years since I skied that much fresh powder. I fell three times, but, in between, the skiing was great.

White Diamonds
White Diamonds at Snowbird
White Diamonds
Fresh powder on White Diamonds at Snowbird

For my second run, I decided to head out to The Bookends, which still had plenty of untracked snow. While riding the Mineral Basin Express lift, I noticed that the wind was blowing across the north-facing slopes, but the more northeast-facing slopes seemed to be protected from the wind. When the crowded Bookends Traverse slowed to a crawl, however, I got impatient and dropped in before I turned the corner for the more northeast-facing slopes. Wind had, indeed, scraped snow off the slope I skied. The snow was only a few inches deep near the top of the run, but the skiing was still good.

After one more run at Snowbird, I headed over to Alta. There were still some opportunities there to hike for fresh tracks, but I decided instead to take what I could get from the gravity traverses. Ballroom was tracked, but still fresh. I also dipped into the trees and stayed off trail for some more powder turns before skiing Collins Face down to the base of the Wildcat lift.

After a good run down from Wildcat and a decent run down Yellow Trail and East Greeley, I ended up on the Sunnyside lift. With most everything else tracked out, I still found some fresh powder on Blue Bell off the Sunnyside lift. Although it’s low-angle terrain, it’s still powder skiing and there’s nothing wrong with that.

Back at Snowbird, Little Cloud Bowl’s fresh, untracked powder glistened in the afternoon sun, but ski patrol never did open Road to Provo while I was there. That fresh powder would be for someone else to enjoy. After one last run at Snowbird, I called it a day and headed home content with what was surely one of the best ski days I’ve ever had.

Ragnar Trail North Shore Oahu

Ragnar Trail OahuLast weekend (April 21–22), I participated in a Ragnar Trail race on the Hawaiian Island of Oahu.

The setting on the North Shore near Turtle Bay was very nice. The weather, however, was not nice. It rained the whole time (off and on). Sections of the trails were covered with puddles and ankle-deep mud, especially the yellow trail. Although the conditions weren’t at all what I was expecting when I signed up, the event was awesome.

READ MORERagnar Trail North Shore Oahu

Build a Ski Boot Spreader Board

Ski Boot Spreader Board

To make it easier to do work on my ski boots, I needed to build a ski boot spreader board. A boot spreader board provides solutions for a couple problems:

  1. The ski binding attached to the board secures the boot in place while doing work.
  2. The board provides a way to hold open the boot flaps, which is useful for checking fit and getting equipment in place before executing shell stretches.

A boot spreader board is not always necessary when doing work on your ski boots, but it is nice to have available, and it is easy to build one at home. Here’s how I built and use my boot spreader board:

READ MOREBuild a Ski Boot Spreader Board

Snowbird Tour

I took the day off work to go skiing at Snowbird. My goals for today were to ski the Upper Cirque and to film the view from atop some of the Upper Cirque chutes. I succeeded on both accounts, but I didn’t ski my run very well. The conditions weren’t great, and it had been a long time since I last skied anything that challenging, but I figured I could put it all together for one run. I did not, but that’s OK. I also accidentally passed the chute I had planned to ski. It’s one of my favorites, so I cut back across the next chute to get to it, which didn’t make for great footage, but I wanted to ski that chute because it was more familiar.

Washington State Trip

Our big trip this year was to Washington state in July. During our ten days there, we drove over 1,600 miles. We flew into Seattle and watched the Mariners play the Angels at Safeco Field. We visited Olympic, Mount Rainier and North Cascades National Parks, Vancouver, British Columbia, and we spent time exploring the area around Mount Baker.

I was most impressed by the incredible scale of the Cascade Range, especially Mount Rainier. Photos of Rainier’s somewhat rounded peak do not do it justice. Although Rainier’s profile isn’t as jagged as other peaks I’ve seen, nothing can compete with it on sheer vertical. While sitting on the porch of the National Park Inn inside Mount Rainier National Park, I was in awe that Rainier rises almost 12,000 feet above.