Utah Little Cottonwood Canyon 2018-2019, Reports, Pics, and Banter

BobMc

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Last season lasted until May 13th, hopefully we get a longer season this time.

After the season ended I quickly segued into camping and fishing, doing quite a lot of each from the spring into the fall. Got to float and fish a lot of new to me water, good times with good friends.

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If you buy your Snowbird season pass early enough you get a free night at the Cliff Lodge, we went up last night and used ours. We figured it'd be a bit slower as there isn't much going on with Oktoberfest over and ski season not kicked in yet. I think a lot of other people had the same thing in mind as the hot tubs were pretty busy.

They've done a few improvements since last season, there is now a pedestrian bridge leading from the Cliff Lodge down to the tram center, it also has a spur leading to the Peruvian chair from the center. A rather large monument to Dick Bass is surrounded by a new area with more tables and sitting spaces. The walkway to the Peruvian will be a nice addition for those times when you get to the plaza and encounter a soul crushing tram line, now you can easily walk over to Peruvian.

They also enclosed the center section of the plaza building's second floor and put in a nice lounge with large screen monitors and lot of new seating spaces.

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Yesterday evening.

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This morning.

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The snow guns are blowing. (Although, I drove up to Alta and they as usual have a lot more snow, it looks like they could open next weekend if they wanted.)

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BobMc

BobMc

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Opening weekend! Yesterday's opener was definitely a lot better than last year. We got there fairly early and were about 20 chairs back from the front. 11 inches overnight insured that first run was delicious. It was the usual Bassackwards and Lunch Run to Emma only. It snowed all morning and the winds were a bit harsh. The lift line was pretty long, more standing around than skiing.

We left a bit before noon and drove up to the bypass to see how the Peruvian side looked. The roads were snow covered and the wind made white out conditions, we encountered a guy off the side of the road on the bypass. I found a spot to pull off and we attempted to help him out. Our enthusiasm dimmed when we noticed his bald tires. On the way down we encountered several others off the side of the road, this was rather surprising as when we came by at 7am they had an officer actually physically inspecting your tires. I was glad to have a new set of snows on, snows make a world of difference for mountain storm travel.

I was running a bit late this morning, got to the lot and booted up, called Travis and asked him if he was in line and if he had room on his chair? "We'll make room." I got to a full maze at 8:55, look for Travis and see he's up front at the turnstile. I briefly consider just joining the big singles line but said screw it and "excuse me" my way through the 7 Summits line to the front of the line. I joined my buddy Vince, his buddy and a single to make a foursome for first chair. I felt guilty loading first chair after arriving five minutes prior and probably wouldn't have done it had it been a powder morning. I'm sure there were people in line wondering who this guy thought he was, heh.

It was pretty nice this morning, sunny and chalky, the groomers are in fantastic shape, I haven't hit anything in the first two days. We lapped Gadzoom for a while, which was much easier with a smaller line today. At line-up we'd been told by a buddy that's a host that the tram was going to open between noon and one. We headed down to the plaza around noon and it was a who's who of tram regulars. The line up commenced and we all stood there till about 12:40 when they boarded us for first public tram of the season. It was Regulator only but it was in fine shape, like a shag carpet where you could really get an edge in.

Looks like a small storm for Wednesday on, this year is definitely starting out better than last year. We ended up with about 21 inches out of this last storm and patrol was slowly pushing ropelines out today.

Opening morning schwag, I'm hoping they don't get sued for the t-shirts.

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Opening morning line up.

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Sunny skies at the top of the tram today.

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cosmoliu

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^^^ Thanks for the great report and pics, as always! I'm up for my first trip this season the second week of January. I broke in my first ever 'Bird season pass last April and am looking forward to 20ish days this year. I'm really glad to see the season kicked off in style!
 

Shawn C.

Getting off the lift
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Ogden, UT
Love it when you can actually see the valley from the top of LCC!
Nice report as usual, Bob!
 
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BobMc

BobMc

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What a great weekend! It snowed 21 inches Friday into Saturday. Saturday morning the report read 10 inches overnight. This put the pressure on, we got there about 7:30 and joined the line at about 7:45. We were pretty close to the front and the line built quickly. Towards the end of last season someone snuck on an early tram during an IFSA event. Since then they've crowdsourced the punishment and make us wait outside. By the time they let us in at 8:30 the line stretched across the plaza past Christy Sports.

It was worth it for first tram, 10 inches of decent snow. It's still Regulator only but that includes pretty much all of Little Cloud bowl. We made a few laps until the crowds got unbearable. And by unbearable I really mean it, it was a super busy day yesterday, we quit skiing at 11:30 and drove down at noon. There were plenty of people parked on 210, we drove up to Alta via the bypass and there were a lot of people parked on the bypass even though that meant a hefty walk back to the car at the end of the day with the Peruvian side still not open.

Emma like all early season days was the problem yesterday, everyone in the resort had to go down Emma to get to either the tram or Zoom/Mid-Gad. By mid-morning the stuffed full resort load of people on Emma was dangerous, as we have no interest in skiing in that kind of proximity to people we left.

Yesterday was a bluebird day, it was supposed to have been a storm day. Today was supposed to be sunny. I woke up this morning at 6:40 and was surprised by a fair amount of snow in my yard that wasn't there last night. I checked the report and Snowbird claimed 3 overnight and 3-7 forecasted for today. Most Saturday's my buddy Travis rides with me and Sunday's his son skis with us and he drives up with him. I left my neighborhood, got on a main road and called Travis and asked where he was, he was just turning into entry 2. I knew I was about 25 minutes away still and figured I'd be standing in line by myself. I got there, booted up and got to the tram line about 8:00, to find Travis only about 10 people in front of me. Quite a marked difference from yesterday. It's like the three inch report couldn't roust the powderhounds.

They let us in a bit after 8:30, we were once again close to the front of the line and I scored my usual spot on the rail by the tram operator. Steve ran first tram today and assured us that it was nice snow up there, he said it wouldn't stay on the shovel while shoveling off the top deck. Yesterday's 10 inches was good in pockets but there were some pockets of crispiness here and there. Today was a bit lighter, Little Cloud Bowl skied very well.

It snowed for pretty much all of the time we were there. We skied till 12:30 and left at 1:00 today. They opened the Little Cloud lift yesterday afternoon and opened Gad 2 this morning. Gad 2 is Election only and you can't even ski down from the bottom of the lift. Just after we left yesterday they opened Fluffy Bunny, Wilbere Ridge and both Harper's. This helped spread people out and combined with the much less crowds made today quite enjoyable. We would've skied longer but two days of skiing pow this early in the season pointed out my lack of ski season shape preparation. Stairs hurt tonight.

Word is we'll get Peruvian next weekend, possibly only via the tram but at least the terrain. On another note, I messaged them nicely about the standing outside situation with the tram and they messaged me back nicely assuring me they'd look into the situation.

Travis in Little Cloud Bowl off first tram.

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Our lines on the Bass Benches first run down. We thought we'd head to Zoom and get away from the huge tram line, only to find a huge line.

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Looking down Race Hill to a stiff Zoom line.

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Lotta people in the backcountry yesterday, someone farming lines on the apron of Superior.

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Snowy morning in the plaza, visibility was tough today.

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Stopped into the Summit at about 11:30 today to warm up, place was a ghost town.

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They've moved some snowmaking into the Peruvian valley.

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The drive down today was a joke, once again no UPD at the mouth checking vehicle validity, lotta morons on bad tires. It was red snaked from Tanners to almost the A gate.

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BobMc

BobMc

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It almost feels like mid-winter. Friday Peruvian opened, I was tempted to take the day off work but decided to save days off for later in the season. Last Sunday my buddy Travis took a high speed digger and dinged up his knee a bit. Nothing too serious but it kept him from skiing this weekend. His 9yo still wanted to ski so I offered to take him around for the weekend. I arrived early both days this weekend, and patiently waited outside till they let us in at 8:30. They got back to me about my message to them and thanked me for my concerns but we still aren't getting in.

It was a beautiful weekend, yesterday they pushed the ropes out by giving us Mid-Cirque and everything down from it mid-morning and then upper Cirque later in the day. I was pretty impressed they opened Anderson's and Blackjack as well, the bypass road parking is now in play. Basically we now have the entire front side minus the Road to Provo and High Baldy. There is still some sticks in a few of the lower runs but for the most part the coverage is excellent. They've been working hard on Mineral, Saturday they had all the groomers in on the Lupine Loop side, today they had a cat track cut out the Path to Paradise. I'd bet Mineral opens by next weekend.

Today it was a bit crisper, yesterdays lack of hardness gave way to some sheen, especially in the high traffic areas. I couldn't go gate chasing with the 9yo so our secret of the day was finding guns in low traffic areas. There were piles of gunpowder to be found here and there. The Gad side definitely felt busier, Emma was a bit hectic with lessons and Race kiddies. The Back Door to Blackjack and cheater Baldy opened today, patrol has been doing a good job of getting stuff open.

Views from the Summit taken yesterday.

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Went to a new to us place in Midvale called the Junction, great burgers, pizza, and a good beer selection.

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The haze is building in the valley, a sea of pollution.

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The tram traversing the sea.

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Had a good time with the #9yoteleskier

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Folks skied the Hellgate headwall and rappelled the cliff.

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Travis snapped a shot of my bases, getting a grind and phantomed this week, it's good to have friends in low places.

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BobMc

BobMc

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Sunshine, sunshine and more sunshine. I snuck out on Friday and skied a half day hoping Mineral would open. Talked to a host buddy and found out they'd put it off till the 21st. The rumor is they are having some power issues, cause lack of snow back there shouldn't be an issue. Except for the Baby Thunder area and above it the entire frontside is now open. With the lack of new snow crowds weren't too bad this weekend, line-ups for first tram are pretty casual, even if you showed up at 8:45 you probably would've been on first each day. It was getting a bit firm in the afternoons especially in the high traffic areas like the top of Emma or the chokepoints on the Peruvian side. With the warmer weather the parking lots were a bit more festive as well, a lot of tailgating going on.

Sunday I skied with the first person I'd ever met from a skiing message board. Back in the early 2000's I worked at a BMW dealer and we worked on the corporate vehicles for American Ski Company, at the time they owned the Canyons. They brought in a roll of lift tickets and gave them to us at the dealer, most folks there didn't ski so I ended up with a number of them. I used as many as I could and when the end of the season was approaching I went on-line and found Paula's Ski Lovers and posted there that I had some extra lift tickets and offered them up for free. Jamesdeluxe messaged me and we made plans to meet at the Canyons. Had an enjoyable day skiing with James at the time and he told me about Epic and Powmag, both were pretty small at that time and that began my internet skiing career.

I've kept in touch with James over the years and he texted me Saturday night he was in town. I picked him up at the BCC park and ride and we had another enjoyable day skiing. Travis came up and brought Dylan along, we asked Dylan if he was up for a ride down the Cirque. It was pretty fun taking him out there for his first ride down, the traverse was in pretty poor shape and the snow was set up a bit but he was pretty proud when he made it down. Nine years old skiing the Cirque on teles...

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The haze has been building in the valley, the mountains offer a respite.

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Plenty of snow back in Mineral.

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Red tram

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Blue tram

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Travis and Dylan on the Cirque

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BobMc

BobMc

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Haven’t been taking many pics this year, nor feeling the need to document, just skiing.

Saturday was non-eventful, Sunday was one of the best of the season. 5 inches overnight and 14 inches while we were there. Gotta love storm skiing, especially when finding open gates most folks didn’t see.

I think this may be the first shot of both Travis and I skiing together.

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Travis

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We had the area to ourselves.

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Footage of Travis.


They shut down Blackjack around 2:00, too much snow building up. They decided to shoot the ridge and stopped people from walking up to their cars on the bypass. My prefered parking pass paid off again as my car was low enough for me to get to it. Patrol was stopping people at the row my car was on, quite a few of them were gathered as I came back. As I cleared the snow off my car I had to field questions as to how long it had been there and a general disbelief by the crowd that I’d get out. Dedicated snows for the win as I backed up and pulled right out of 20 inches of snow.

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Finally replaced my worn out floppy alpine boots with an AT boot. Couldn’t be happier, I hadn’t realized how bad my old boots had gotten after 7 seasons of a lot of days.

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Decreed_It

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love this thread, we were there (Alta) for Xmas week and it was some of the best early season I've had in my mere 6 years of going there. You do this uniquely amazing part of the world justice Bob, thanks. Making me start to regret my plans to ski elsewhere this season . . .
 

blackke17

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First of 7 days at Alta this season on the IKON pass did not disappoint. Started off the day with a few runs into the wild cat bowl area. Found some good turns and some not so good turns in there so we shifted over to Collins. We have been hearing reports that High Rustler was skiing well so we took the plunge. Got a bit dicey on High T as usual but we eventually got through the traverse and found great snow on High Rustler .

We skied the whole mountain yesterday including some nice chutes under Supreme chair. Skis found some rocks but most areas skied great with excellent coverage. Yesterday was a nice reminder of why Alta is one of my favorite places on earth

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cosmoliu

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Been up at the Iron Blosam since Saturday, introducing the granddaughter and her mom to LCC. As referenced repeatedly in this thread, LCC has been skiing really well for this early in the season. Snowbird, particularly after the 20" Sunday, has been a bit much for the step daughter but she felt right at home at Alta yesterday. We'll be sending her back over the top tomorrow so the granddaughter and I can resume her introduction to Snowbird.
 
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BobMc

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I’ve been here 24 seasons and I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like today. I left my house at a time that would normally put me there around 7:15. I finally pulled into the lot about 8:00. Made it down to the tram line and it was already a full maze inside and a quad maze around the building. Before they started loading it had gone back to the plaza doubled back on the new walkway, up the stairs and partly to the Cliff Lodge.

Luckily, the Peruvian side opening was delayed so fifth tram was just as good as first. We waited inside up top till we got the word it would be soon. 90% of the people staged up at the gate to Chips because the board showed the Cirque traverse as closed. Patrol gave us the heads up they were headed down to open it.

We skied Glens without a track in sight. Not up on your face blower but nice surfy turny snow. Definitely worth the standing around.

Took a lap on Wilbere and headed back to Peruvian/tram and encountered a soul crushing line at each. We walked back uphill to the bypass and bypassed that scene.

Hopefully tomorrow most of the powder princesses have shot their wad and we have only the tourists.

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Jim Kenney

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The growing crowds are troubling. I know you've talked about it in the past and long for less busy places to the north. What can I say? I hope to be part of the problem soon.:rolleyes: I guess it makes you re-think powder day strategies?
 

Wasatchman

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I’ve been here 24 seasons and I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like today. I left my house at a time that would normally put me there around 7:15. I finally pulled into the lot about 8:00. Made it down to the tram line and it was already a full maze inside and a quad maze around the building. Before they started loading it had gone back to the plaza doubled back on the new walkway, up the stairs and partly to the Cliff Lodge.

Luckily, the Peruvian side opening was delayed so fifth tram was just as good as first. We waited inside up top till we got the word it would be soon. 90% of the people staged up at the gate to Chips because the board showed the Cirque traverse as closed. Patrol gave us the heads up they were headed down to open it.

We skied Glens without a track in sight. Not up on your face blower but nice surfy turny snow. Definitely worth the standing around.

Took a lap on Wilbere and headed back to Peruvian/tram and encountered a soul crushing line at each. We walked back uphill to the bypass and bypassed that scene.

Hopefully tomorrow most of the powder princesses have shot their wad and we have only the tourists.

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Yeah, it is shocking! Never seen anything like it on Friday. Just decided to sit out this weekend and fortunately 2 good NFL games to watch today anyway.

Absolutely shocking and depressing. I'd argue we are pretty much at full capacity in the Cottonwood resorts at this point.
 

cosmoliu

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Depressing indeed. I was up at the Iron Blosam week before last with a friend who was also there for one of those crazy days after Christmas. He was in a room facing the road and had a number of people from the valley with him waiting for the road to clear. (He always has at least one bottle of wine open, so the wait was tolerable) Apparently it was four hours to get to the bottom, starting with two hours to exit the parking lots. They watched out the balcony window as the same cars stayed in view for tens of minutes.
 
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BobMc

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I'd argue we are pretty much at full capacity in the Cottonwood resorts at this point.
Parking wise for sure, yesterday Alta closed it's lots to busses and commercial vehicles only. Snowbird was road parked from entry 1 to 4 completely. People were cruising the lots constantly looking for opening spots. I'm pretty sure I could've gotten $20 for my primo down low bypass spot. When I got back to my car yesterday I was debooting when fools pulled in and triple parked into a row, completely blocking someone in. They booted up obliviously, I walked over and asked them how they figured the car they were blocking was going to get out? They explained "We're not parking here." And then moved over one spot blocking someone else in. I gave up at that point and luckily snowbird public safety came by and made their moronic selves move.

I don't know the solution but it's been a lot of years of talk about it and nothing done. Someone above my pay grade needs to figure it out.

I do know this isn't the solution, once again they did the moronic "traffic metering" which just snarls traffic at a usual zipper line.

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Yesterday they didn’t pull that maneuver and even though there were more cars traffic flowed better. Had a family in a late model full size van ride my ass the whole way upcanyon today. We hit the upper pass lane and they immediately darted out and passed me, coming around a corner passing the car in front of me they discovered why nobody was in the black iced passing lane as they got all kinds of sideways. I thought for sure I was going to see an accident right in front of me, luckily they pulled it back together and immediately rejoined everyone else in the right lane.

Thankfully today was a bit more subdued, the tram line didn’t get much bigger than a three boat wait and became walk on once Mineral opened around 11ish. We let everyone have that and enjoyed a vacant frontside.

While driving down a little after 2:00 today encountered the Alta town marshal putting up cones blocking the downhill passing lanes. That is a decision I do agree with, morons in a hurry driving down cause problems at those lanes all the time, bravo.
 

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