Thursday, December 12, 2013
Temperatures rose into the mid-20s at all elevations of the hill this afternoon in stark contrast to the -15F just three days ago! Combined with blue-bird skies, you couldn’t ask for more pleasant weather. Sundown lift opened today, along with Sunshine and South Peak and the rest of the terrain on the south side of the hill.
My interest was in Lower Shadows as that opened for the first time this season as well. It would have been nice if that could have been opened even a day earlier as the snow has become increasingly heavy as the temperatures rise. Still, large swaths of untracked powder were available at the end of the day, probably because the denser snow required strong turns executed with conviction. Definitely easier skiing for those inclined to ignore the untracked and ski where others have ‘groomed’ the terrain.
Great soft skiing on the Sundown lifline as well as Kruus Cruise, though you had to be careful just above Duster as rocks were poking through the snow. Ted’s Ridge on the lower mountain is starting to ski well, though the snow surface was still a bit uneven as it has not been groomed yet. But the groomed snow on Heavenly Daze is skiing great in these warmer temperatures.
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
A beautiful sunny day and much warmer temperatures in the low teens made for a delightful afternoon of skiing. The cold temperatures have kept the snow in fine shape and contributed to soft powdery skiing in the less skied areas. I did 3 runs in the Shadows and Closet area before finishing up with a cruiser down High Noon to Rolex. Still a bit thin for the evergreens on that side of the hill, but the left side of Rolex had great snow with minimal bumps.
Lower down Rolex I did venture into the aspen, and there were still short lines of untracked, though I had to cross many tracks to get those three or four linked powder turns. After riding Elkhead, I headed over to Oops to ski more cold northwest facing snow. While that was good, I had high hopes for Concentration which looked very recently opened, perhaps as recently as today. However, this snow was very stiff and made skiing both the untracked powder and the tracked snow difficult.
Up one more time and a final cruiser down Heavenly Daze and SeeYa with great views of the South Valley. I did notice that Ted’s Ridge was also recently opened, but I was trying to catch a bus and opted for the beeline down the hill.
Sunday, December 8, 2013
A 4” mid-mountain report with 7” up top and snowing sounded promising on the 5am report, indeed by the 1pm report there were 9” at mid and 8” up top. The temperature at the Storm Peak Lab fell from 0F at the 5am report to -7F by 8:30am, so I prepared for another cold powder day.
While riding up the Gondola, I noticed Patrol had opened Upper Valley View for the first time this season, so took that as my first run. A bit tracked up top, but very deep bottomless turns near the sides. On the way back to the Gondola, I noticed that the Bashor chair was running for the first time this season, so I did a couple of laps in the untracked in Bashor Bowl. Again, deep powder, but the pitch was just not steep enough to make many linked turns.
Back up the Gondola and up Storm Peak to check out Shadows, and I was very surprised to measure 11-15” of snow in the favored locations. I’ve not been in Shadows for a couple of days as I was skiing the newly opened terrain around Rolex, so not sure how much of that fell overnight. But really good powder, especially the lower half of Upper Shadows down to the Duster cat track.
Saturday, December 7, 2013
It finally warmed up to 2F at mid-mountain and -6F up top, so I headed up in the afternoon to check out the new terrain opening, specifically Rolex as Elkhead started operations yesterday. The groomed terrain was just fantastic as it was soft and buttery. Rolex itself was fairly skied by the time I got to it, but lots of high quality bouncy powder in the trees.
I only had time for two laps as without Sundown running yet, you had to ski down to Storm Peak to regain access to the Priest Creek area. Second lap was pretty much a repeat of the first as still lots of untracked left if you are willing to look for it. I even did a couple of laps on the Gondola as the Heavenly Daze and Vogue edges were skiing very well.
Temperatures have warmed a bit ahead of the next storm and with light snow currently falling, I expect another day of great skiing on the hill!
Wednesday, December 4, 2013
I couldn’t bring myself to press glass with only a 7.5” overnight report, and caught the 10:40 am bus to see what was left. I was not planning on heading up to the -8F temperatures up top, but it was clear the powder hounds were out early this morning as all of the Four Points trails were very tracked. First run was in the upper parts of Closet and then a traverse over to Shadows, which is the usual for me. Good skiing, but not great as there was some crunchiness underneath from the sun this past weekend. It got better as I went lower as the snow report went from 7” on top to 9” at mid-mountain, and the snow became less tracked.
But I wanted UNTRACKED, so I headed over to the Twilight area. Because the egress from the Priest Creek area is on the Duster cat track, the runs get progressively less tracked the further towards High Noon you go. In here I found the goods as bouncy bottomless powder greeted my every turn. I did have to cross tracks, but that did not affect the quality of the turns.
I had considered going over toward Flying Z, but went back for more in Twilight. Even though the temperature had risen a few degrees to -6F, it wasn’t warm enough to convince me for another run and I headed down Heavenly Daze.