This past week has been awesome strange and super disappointing all wrapped up in a historic 100 inch storm. Historic in avalanches, and record setting in time that Alta was under inter-lodge. It was very disappointing for Nate and me because we got shut out of the canyon for 3 days and then the following 2 days we were unable to ski due to prior commitments. We finally got up there to join in on all of the fun and the snow was incredibly varied. Let’s break it down.
Our first run was down the lift line of Wildcat. The best way to describe the snow was dust on icy moguly crust. This was a huge let down and set the tone for the day. It looked so good from the lift but in actuality the snow sucked. Baldy Shoulder opened around 11am for the first time all week. This was the best snow we found all day and took 2 runs. It wasn’t blower but it was soft and deep. It got tracked quickly so we decided to hit the side country.
On our way out to the top of Supreme we were treated to beautiful views of Devil’s Castle and Backside. Both were pristine without a single track on them. This made us realize some weird things were going on in the snowpack. Ski Patrol hadn’t even ventured out into those areas. When we arrived at Rocky Point we were stunned to see Sunset Peak had been utterly wind scoured. 2 weeks ago it was looking primo and after 100 inches it now looks like crap. Crazy. We noticed Rocky had some wind ripples too. But the line we chose had what looked like perfect powder. I dropped into the line with perfect powder in mind. This was not at all the case. As I landed the snow began to pull my skis in all directions. The snow was wind hammered and loaded. We also found some upside down pockets. 
On the hike up to Patsey we were now not at all confident we could find good snow, but we wanted to make it on top anyway. We found wind affected and sun affected snow. There was a crust and you really had to point it and hope for the best. All and all a fun day but it was disappointing considering the amount of snow. Either way, Utah needs the water content and we will take it! Everything is filled in. 
Devil’s Castle has a huge avalanche crown in the Apron. Backside obviously has serious wind loading and hammering. Hopefully the snowpack will stabilize and those areas can open but the snow will likely be less than ideal. More snow in the forecast though so things will get going again! 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.