Tuesday, January 3, 2012
Won't you step into the freezer
Tease her with a tweezer
It's gonna be cold, cold, cold, cold, cold
- Winston Churchill
When Churchill spoke these words on the snowy fields of Gettysburg during the closing moments of the Franco-Russo War, he could have easily been talking about Alaska in December. December started stormy but finished clear and true to Churchill's prediction: cold. But what that Canadian bastard didn't predict was A+ surface conditions on a bomber snowpack.
Eddies is one of The Ridges of Turnagain County. The pull-off is most easily identified by an excess Honda Elements. For the final tour of the year Hubert had some South facing shots in mind. Temperatures were below zero so we had to keep moving to maintain warmth. At the top I got out the bungees and particle board to document the experience.
The sun peeked out from behind Kickstep to bathe the top half of the slope in a soft orange glow. The snow was sparkling and left cold smoke contrails with every turn. But it wasn't long before we descended into the cold shadows. After a quick transition, Hubert set the skinner back to the ridge. We followed the ridge SE to get a shot that we had sussed from below.
We were 500' higher and the sun was at it's pitiful apex for the day, but it was plenty to light the way for the best turns of the season. Effortless, bottomless, good vis, super-hero, cold, blower pow for an uninterrupted 1,800'. Despite the glory of the second run, the team was cold, cold, cold. We hustled up the skinner back to the ridge and skied some high quality low angle love back towards the road. The frozen Subaru grumbled to life. Unlike Winston's doomed Na'vi army of winged monkey's, we would not succumb to the icy mountain frost.
If was the perfect final run for an incredible year in the mountains. Here's to an even better 2012!
Monday, January 2, 2012
Happy new years boyz!
Even though most of the boyz probably celebrated the new year in true pagan style in their hearts and skier souls back on the solstice, I'm sure a few of us managed to humor our friends and neighbors by enjoying some libations and staying up to see the clock tick.
The Lizard and I decided to ring in this new beginning to the Gregorian Calendar with a trip to the Wasatch's 5th tallest peak, the Pfeifferhorn. With conditions as they are and our intentions being mainly a trip to enjoy the view and assess the snow pack or lack there of, we decided against bringing a rope or anything that might encourage us to get all gnar.
Lizard getting GnarWith a true Wasatch start we left the trail head at 9:45 and enjoyed a leisurely slog to the Red Pine lakes. A break for tea and snacks, and another couple of hours and we arrived at the southeast ridge. With the variable conditions of sun-wind-and-rain encrusted snow, as well as an unusual amount of rock showing for this time of year, we decided to leave our skis at the beginning of the ridge and forgo the summit shred. Upon summiting we agreed we probably could have done some side-slipping and survival skiing to nab what might have been the season's first ski decent via the SW face.
The views from the summit were beautiful as always. The normally inversion-clouded valley of SLC lay at our feet where we could just make out the collective groan of "national hangover day". Both the NE and NW couloirs were looking a little thin, although the NW was holding snow farther down that could probably be reached with one rap.
WTF, throw caution to the wind, go for it. I for one am tired of blowing on a cat's ass and hoping for snow. Besides, soon enough we'll be too puckered to get out on top of this snow pack.
So enjoy it boyz! We here up at 9240' are being patient and sharpening our beater slalom skills. The new crop of kids at Alf's, or as I like to think of it, the Skier Boyz factory, is chomping at the bit to shred. Keep praying, but in the meantime send it.