Utah Little Cottonwood Canyon 2017-2018, Reports, Pics, and Banter

Discussion in 'General Resort Discussion' started by BobMc, Nov 22, 2017.

  1. BobMc

    BobMc In line for the tram Skier

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    Today was the first day of operations for Snowbird, Alta has chosen to not open until conditions improve. The first day of the season started optimistically enough, I got up early and had plans on hitting the Bird about 7:45. I knew that wouldn't put me anywhere near the front of the line but I'd be in the ropes at least.

    I hit the light past the 7-11 and gunned it to pass a person that was attempting to snake me on the right. As I moved past them I look in my rear view to see smoke from the back of my car. Great. I pulled into the park and ride and found an upper radiator hose had blown. As some of you may know I own an auto shop, it was the typical cobbler who's children have no shoes. I had my son do an oil change on it last week, "Dad that upper radiator hose is pretty soft." We were busy and I gave him the "it'll be all right." Till it wasn't.

    Times like these you find out your friends. I called Travis who was already in the lot booting up. "Dude, I just blew a radiator hose." "You want me to come get you?" "Umm, if you will?"

    We still made it to the line up by about 8:15. We weren't close to the front, which took a 2:00am penalty to acquire. But, we were still within the ropes. By the time they opened the lift line stretched to below the Mid Gad Chair and beyond. It was pretty festive, lotta schwag thrown out, music, and the Ski Utah Yeti.

    We had parked a couple spots from Digi Dave (Snowbird's Marketing Director.), I immediately asked him where my foam finger was. Then on the way down to the lift I spotted Burke, we hooked up with Burke and rode with him for the day (Our two runs). Riding around with Burke is pretty funny, the dude is a Wasatch institution and gets hollers from everyone.

    We were about 30 chairs back and got to see people as they hit the steepish part of Bassackwards just above the flats before the restaurant and cut off to Gad 2. The sounds of loud pow and not much carving told us it was going to be a bit stiff. Burke was on his Big Feet and found it a bit firm for those. We headed to the parking lot after finding ropes down the entire trail and patrol and mountain safety patrol positioned everywhere that one might saunter off into the woods to discuss safety.

    As we took off our skis up strolled Marcus Caston, I fist bumped him (bro style, ;) and welcomed him to the 2017-18 season. Travis noticed he was carrying tele gear. Looks like the return of the turn is going to feature some tele turns, he asked and received some tele tips from my buddy. Riding at Snowbird you meet a lot of the folks in the industry, I can't think of any I've met that weren't totally chill.

    The skiing and terrain open are pretty underwhelming, but the scene makes up for it. Travis had to work and I was on his schedule, so we made two runs and headed home. That was pretty much all I wanted to do, there is only one run open and it was getting a bit hectic. The choke of death is right where the Bass Highway peels off from Emma, it gets a bit thin there and everyone is forced through a chicane. Early season always has plenty of people going multiple miles per hour on the same terrain as beginners.

    I'll be back tomorrow morning and I hope there are less folks. The forecast isn't looking favorable, hoping for a change.

    Oh crap, someone call a tow truck.

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    Line

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    Return of the tele turn

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    Burke was having fun.

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  2. BobMc

    BobMc In line for the tram Skier

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    Ski Utah put out a video on Burke today, pretty entertaining.



    Burke is quite a character, I'm proud to call him a friend.
     
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  3. AmyPJ

    AmyPJ Let's go! Pugski Ski Tester

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    Fun stuff. Thanks for sharing, Bob!
    Forecast looks pretty good next week. We can only hope we're having an encore of last season! (With colder temps, that would be the only improvement I can think of.)
     
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  4. BobMc

    BobMc In line for the tram Skier

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    Happy Thanksgiving! Travis and I went up for Thanksgiving morning turns. Today the pressure was a lot less, the line-up far shorter. We got there about 8:40 and grabbed the closest spot in the preferred spots. Once again we saw Burke first thing and spun a couple laps with him. It was pretty crispy first run, but that kept the rocks from coming through. We ended up skiing three runs, the last the rocks were starting to come through just above the Bass Highway cut off. They were only open till 1:00 today anyways, in an attempt to prolong the minimal snow.

    We headed down to the car and found Junior Bounous debooting parked next to us. Nice guy, he chatted with us and headed home for Thanksgiving. Pretty cool to see a 92 year old getting after it.

    Didn't take many pics, pic Travis got of me.


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    Turkey is in the oven, time to eat in a few hours and skiing teed up for tomorrow. Life is good. Hope all feel similar.
     
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  5. BobMc

    BobMc In line for the tram Skier

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    Junember! It definitely felt like a spring day up there today. The crowds were a minimum first off, thankfully, cause the hill was pretty stiff. In typical spring fashion the top of Bassackwards was pretty frozen. It was hard to get a purchase first run down, the freeze relented a bit at the top of Emma. It's getting to be a spring like habit and we rode with Burke for most of the morning.

    It didn't warm a lot today, but what little warming didn't do the snowpack any good. The area just above the cut off to the Bass Highway was getting very thin. Some folks were opting to walk down it at the end of the day. It hasn't been cold enough at night to blow snow and there isn't enough to push around. Word on the street is they will be closing and opening when conditions permit again.

    There weren't quite as many people on the trail today but it still felt pretty harrowing given the crispiness and the narrow parameters. I've forgotten to grab my headphones from work and haven't missed them. I'm not sure I'd feel safe with music at this point in the season.

    The closure at 1:00 seemed to surprise quite a few folks, I watched numerous people arrive just before then and start booting up. I'd bet people will be surprised tomorrow morning when they're closed as well. (So I've heard)

    We need snow or low temps.

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    Junior parked next to me again today. He was pretty stoked about skiing with grandkids.

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  6. Jim Kenney

    Jim Kenney Travel Correspondent Team Gathermeister Industry Insider

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    Love the photos esp Junior and Burke. Something about calling a 92 year old Junior has got to be good for everyone's morale! He's a Snowbird legend.
     
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  7. BobMc

    BobMc In line for the tram Skier

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    We need snow! I skied both days this weekend, even though it's rather uninspiring. You can only ski Bassackwards to Emma so many times before it gets a little boring. The only thing keeping you from lulling is the presence of the entire parking lot of people on the same run you are on. Saturday was definitely busier, but both days skied much better first thing in the morning before the crowds get there and begin to put the sheen on.

    The good news is that it's currently snowing pretty hard in the valley and up to 20 inches is forecasted for this storm. It was pretty breezy up there today and felt more like winter than it has. Talked to patrol and they said that Regulator will probably open after this storm. They've been blowing snow on it last week and have a fair amount built up. The Bass Highway still needs some work but it looks like mountain temps should stay pretty low for the next few days letting them blow some decent snow.

    I'm liking the reserved front row parking.

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    It's inversion season already.

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    Not much to ski on.

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    The run out for the doors looks a little thin.

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    Travis today.

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    Drove up to Alta on Saturday after we left, looked pretty busy up there for two trails.

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  8. Bigtinnie

    Bigtinnie Formerly 'sbooker' in another world. Skier

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    Oh dear.
    With no more snow forecast after this storm until at least the 20th I'm thinking my plans of skiing Snowbird this year will be changing. Unless of course it dumps a couple of times between the 20th and the 28th. (Silently praying).
    Will have to scrap Utah for Jackson/Targhee.
    Of course it is then inevitable that I will induce major snow while I'm driving north.
    Thanks for the pics.
     
  9. BobMc

    BobMc In line for the tram Skier

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  10. Tricia

    Tricia The Velvet Hammer Admin Pugski Ski Tester

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    We had some nice snow come through Tahoe last night. Saved some for you and sent ULLR on his way to Utah.
    :D
     
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  11. Bigtinnie

    Bigtinnie Formerly 'sbooker' in another world. Skier

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    Go the Powderbuoy!!
    This gaper tourist will be happy to ski anything with decent cover in Salt Lake and surrounds. Alta’s more gentle terrain would probably be quicker to fill in than Snowbird I guess?
     
  12. TonyC

    TonyC Contact me at bestsnow.net Pass Pulled

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    Yes, Alta and Brighton are the only places worth considering in low tide conditions. But barring a big storm after Dec. 15 you should head north immediately upon landing in SLC. As noted in the other thread, you do not want to be anywhere during Christmas week with restricted operation.
     
  13. Bigtinnie

    Bigtinnie Formerly 'sbooker' in another world. Skier

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    If only. My wife’s aunt that lives in Midvale is intent on making us dinner. The things you do.........
    So we’ll definitely have one day somewhere just to get our ski legs back. I’m guessing with no lodging on mountain and a bit longer drive for locals (along with the fact conditions are poor and they won’t be bothered) Snowbasin might be best bet for that day?
     
  14. TonyC

    TonyC Contact me at bestsnow.net Pass Pulled

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    Unlikely, Alta and Brighton will preserve the meager snowpack much better than Snowbasin 2,000 feet lower. One day is not a big deal. It's these other cases where people are scheduled into the drought zone for a week or more that major reassessments are necessary.
     
  15. BobMc

    BobMc In line for the tram Skier

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    Rumor is the tram is opening this weekend! That will definitely enhance the enjoyment level.
     
  16. BobMc

    BobMc In line for the tram Skier

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    The rumor appears to have been correct. The tram will open on Sunday with Regulator Johnson as the only way down. I definitely plan on being on that first boat of the season as always. I made a deal with my wife lately, we've been down a mechanic and I've gone back to turning wrenches in exchange for a day off during the week to ski. We'll see how that goes but so far so good. I didn't get the whole day but instead made it up by 2:15.

    They're still closing Zoom at 3:00 so I only had time for two laps. But, they were a quite enjoyable way to start the weekend. The snow was a bit firm as it's pretty much an all man made base. The snow earlier in the week coupled with the low temps have allowed them to fatten up the runs and give us a few more places to stretch out. Lunch Run is now open as well as Creek Road, Bass Highway, and the crossover onto Lowest Bassackwards. Mid Gad was also loading today. After skiing we took a drive up canyon, it doesn't appear they've blown any snow in the Peruvian Gulch. Apparently they're content to wait for natural snow to open that side of the mountain.

    They're blowing as much snow as they can to open top to bottom skiing.

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    The guns are blowing on the ramp from the top of tram. IMG_7342.JPG

    In lieu of the tram opening I may venture over to Solitude and taste their white ribbon offerings tomorrow while meeting up with the man of Ice.
     
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  17. BobMc

    BobMc In line for the tram Skier

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    The tram is back in play!

    I went to Solitude yesterday, it was a beautiful day and their coverage is pretty good over there. It was a bit icy at the top of Apex but the rest of what was open skied very well. It was fun to see old Solifriends, Travis and I skied on shop passes from Level 9, so I've got to throw out some props to them. They take good care of their employees, my buddy Dibs has worked there a while and they work around his skiing addiction.

    Once again the preferred parking pass worked out well today, we rolled up at about 8:15 and took one of the closest spots in the pond lot. We got to the tram line-up at about 8:30 to find it full of familiar faces, most all of the regulars had made it a point to make the first first tram of the season. I swear the slowest time ever is the time spent in line waiting for the lifts to open. A half hour seems to take three hours, the anticipation building the whole time you stand there. I felt back at home when we were able to load and I got my usual spot at the railing by the operator.

    It was a new tram operator and I think he gave the shortest tram announcements I'd ever heard. "Peruvian side is closed, Mineral is closed, Regulator is the only way down and it's ICY." I figured Regulator would be pretty firm and I wasn't disappointed, the top section was pretty hard to get a purchase on. My planned tactic worked pretty well, I knew if I could hold on through the top section and work my way to the guns on the rh side I'd be good. It was tough getting enough of an edge into the ice to move rightward, but once I got over by the blazing guns the ice relented and one could find just enough softness to make real turns.

    I think most folks were one and done with the tram, I had to be on the first, but I was content to ride Zoom the rest of our day. We skied till noon when Emma started to get quite congested. The tram is open but everyone still gets choked down on Emma. They're blowing a lot of snow on Election and the pitch of Bassackwards below the Gad 2 lift. I'd bet those two runs are next to open, hopefully that will spread people around a bit off of Emma.

    The moon over Powderhorn Bowl at Solitude.

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    The tram line wasn't too bad this morning, although the line was longer than the capacity, some didn't make first.

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    Burke was even on the tram, in jeans.

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    Regulator was firm.

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    A few blocks of snow below the Bass Highway.

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  18. 4ster

    4ster Now with more photos! Instructor

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    This is not necessarily or always the case. This time of year the sun is so low in the sky that even on warm days losing snow is not really an issue, unless it rains. During times of an inversion, generally mountaintop temperatures are as much as 10 to 20° warmer then the lower elevations. Snowbasin has an extremely sophisticated snowmaking system and a virtually unlimited water supply. Snowmaking conditions at the lower elevations have been perfect. I am sure snowbasin is cranking out tons of quality machine made snow every night. We usually say that it takes about 70 inches at Snowbird before you can call it high tide conditions. At Snowbasin it only takes about 50 inches to say the same thing. Because the main runs are summer groomed so well it takes a lot less snow to provide good coverage.

    An example would be what’s happening in Tahoe now. I’ve been skiing Squaw and Alpine during this recent inversion. Everyday, the conditions are improving on the lower mountain while the upper is deteriorating. With that said there are a lot of other factors that go into making for good ski conditions. If it comes down to skiing machine made snow, I’ll take snowbasin any day over areas in the cottonwoods except maybe on a Saturday where Snowbasin has gotten completely out of control. ;)

    If it was me I’d just get real time reports once you’re in Utah from folks like @BobMc , @Lorenzzo or @AmyPJ who are actually there skiing regularly. Also check @Bob Peters reports from Jackson.
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2017
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  19. Bigtinnie

    Bigtinnie Formerly 'sbooker' in another world. Skier

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    Thanks for this. Encouraging.
    I would like to get a day in at Snowbasin even if conditions are far from ideal. First day might be ideal as it will be a warm up day and we could be jet lagged.
     
  20. 4ster

    4ster Now with more photos! Instructor

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    On a sunny day it can be a beautiful place.
     

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