Thursday, January 26, 2012

Little Pine Couloir

It's a little wet, a little boiler plate, but pretty solid all around (i.e. lacking powder). She's in though along with a number of her friends. Already avalached at least once (either new snow or a wet slide). Slightly steeper turns, definitely more stable than anything facing North, but lacking what's that stuff called...oh yeah Powder.

 Early morning in the Wasatch

She's IN!!! No rocks to be found in the actual chute, amazing what one storm can do. 

Monday, January 23, 2012

DEEP but not so steep

What's almost as bad as no much snow that you can't do anything but ski in the parking lot (at least if you're not willing to pay for a 75 dollar lift ticket). This weekend the avalanche danger shot up to extreme and since I'm writing this post I somehow repressed my inherent desire to go STEEP. Fortunately I still had plenty of low angle turns, even when I saw a number of south facing chutes at least partially filled in. After an interesting race on Friday, Saturday was the first pow day of many (yeah I said that in November too).

 Chesy Stuck in "Deep Pow"

"Now I remember where I parked"

After an uneventful Saturday (we survived), Sunday I got a call from Adam to do some low angle turns (plenty more photos HERE). Of course low angle turns for a backcountry skier means hike in 4 miles get 10 turns and then ski out. On our route up to Lake Blanche we witnessed several collapses (about 100). For the non-avy-savy this means the lower layers can't support the new snow causing the snow to crash in on itself, without any steep ground however it can only go into itself instead of down the mountain (hence don't go into steep terrain because it's going to collapse and then slide). Nonetheless, several of these were enough to give you goosebumps and shake the snow off the trees (sounds kind of like thunder).

Did I mention aside from all our observations we still got some good skiing in too?

A OK putting in the skinner in front of The Sundial.

Still going

If my fat ass didn't collapse it I doubt yours will.

Low Angle Turns...Check

Oh did I also mention despite all the collapsing and extreme avy danger, the hardest thing we did was ski out of this "Hiking trail"? Go straight, go fast, and pray that you'll come to a spot to stop.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Monday, January 16, 2012

Delta Force or Backcountry Why Not Both?

Skinning at the resort is as out of context as bringing prime rib to a vegan convention, questions are asked, stares are invoked, and overall  it's hard to hold back "smartass" comments when dumb things are said. I personally prefer Adam's (unspoken yet eloquently thought out) answer to why we were skinning uphill and whether or not we were ever going down. "No, we have special passes that let us ride the chairlift down all day long. They’re half price." Someone even asked if we were doing special forces training
A OK training for Delta Force Backcountry Division

As elite as we are (and I mean that in the best way possible) there have been a number of times where I, and many others, get aggravated as to the amount of people in the backcountry. Hell, when Alta got it's first big storm there were so many people there it looked like the chairs were running. But it's events like Saturday's that really show you the inherent laziness of a sport, sure people love going down but the only way up is on a doppelmayr 7100. Even the most avid pow thrashers find the 10 min. hike to temptation ridge to be too much when Snowbird opens there bc terrain, so allow me to rant.

After being an avid (yet amateur) weightlifter for 7 years it was always funny to see the post new-years spike and pre-spring break spike at the gym. It was like people thought they could get jacked in 5 days as long as they had their protein shake in there newly purchased GNC mixer. Even with illegal help (i.e. steroids) it still takes months, if even years, of practice to get the mechanics and motions down to where you are building muscle during and after every workout, and even at that point it's still really difficult. Sure on Monday, January 9th there were a ton of people at the gym, every bench was taken, every rack was used but on Friday the building had lost its appeal, why? Because it's hard to go before the weekend, it's hard to sack up and lift for an hour when you'd rather just go home and watch ESPN.

A little hard work just won't cut it if you want to be spring break ready, it takes time, sweat, effort, and a lot of hard work. Michael Phelps trains twice a day every day, no breaks, no vacation just a cold pool for years on end. I enjoy that backcountry skiing possesses these same characteristics. It's not easy, when you wake up at 5 a.m. to go ski powder, you're cold, wet, tired, it's dark and you only get one run sometimes two. Even on the best powder days you'll still hit the wall where a warm shower and a cold beer feel much more needed than another face shot. 

Trying to keep up with the Big Guns for 2 hours allows this to happen.

So while we fly or stumble uphill you're more than welcome to keep watching us from the chairlift, from the parking lot, and from the comfort of your car cause we're willing to push through the blisters, the leg cramps, the hunger, and the sweat to keep on slashing pow (or in this years case groomed runs at Brighton).

Harvesting the fruits of our labor (Little Pine Couloir January 1, 2011(2012 I wish))

Monday, January 9, 2012


Not to add insult to injury but at the end of July last year I skied the south side of Superior with better coverage than yesterday. Nonetheless some "serious" (serious being relative, compared to say...skiing on Mars) powder turns resulted. 

A little...boney?

Skin Track

If you look closely the turns almost resemble powder turns.

But the real issue is whether or not to bring my newly equipped Dynafit setup to the race on Thursday or go big just for the sake of not looking "Foolishly slow"