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.

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.


Today was a short groomer day at Alta. I also experimented with my GoPro camera setup. I think I now have a setup that works. It provides a good point-of-view camera angle with minimal shaking. Now I just need to start skiing some more interesting terrain.

With that said, the following GoPro footage only features some easy terrain off the Sunnyside lift. The skiing footage isn’t too exciting, but it was a beautiful day. Enjoy!

Oahu 2014

Last Thursday (October 30, 2014), I returned from a vacation to the Hawaiian Island of Oahu. The trip was very fun, but–make no mistake–Oahu is not a paradise. No paradise should be as crowded as Oahu! Kauai is a paradise. Oahu is more like an awesome playground, which is not a bad thing.

Over the course of my week-long trip, I hiked, surfed, kayaked, drove around the entire island (except for a 10-mile stretch west of Hale’iwa) and visited a lot of the major sites. I stayed very busy.

My only complaint about Oahu is in regards to the hiking. Oahu’s hiking simply cannot compare to the hiking on Kauai, in my opinion. It was difficult for me not to compare the two islands during this trip. For example, the biggest hike I did on Oahu was a portion of the Maunawili Trail. The trail did have a few excellent front-row views of the Ko’olau Range’s steep cliffs, but, overall, I was mostly bored by the scenery. The best parts of the Maunawili Trail were not even as good as the worst parts of the Kalalau Trail on Kauai. Oh, well. The hike was enjoyable, nonetheless.

Oahu does, however, seem to have more accessible water activities compared to Kauai. Waikiki is a perfect spot to learn how to surf. Kaneohe Bay is a calm bay great for a kayaking novice like myself. Hanauma Bay is a very inviting snorkeling area, although I do regret that I never made it back there to do some snorkeling on this trip.

Overall, this trip to Oahu went very well and I have very few regrets. So, now I’ve visited two of the six main Hawaiian Islands. I look forward to visiting the rest of the islands someday. Enjoy the photos and video!