Slushy but fantastic day in the backcountry

Hard to put into words how rewarding and challenging climbing up a mountain and skiing down it is, not to mention the scenery. In today’s case it was very heavy slush; 52 degrees. It’s hard to turn in slush. No quick or tight turns. Have to make wide or better yet, no turns. Difficult to score style points in these conditions! I must be getting mushy because I can sense each day I get out and ski may be the real-deal last for the season.  The snow is melting fast.

East Baldy Rope Drop

East Baldy at Alta Ski Area is a short side step and/or boot back hike to a big open face on Mount Baldy. Often times snow conditions aren’t great on that face, but when conditions are right it can be a pow fest. Check out the video and photos below.

A YouTube follower asked about the photos from Peak Photo Alta, so I took the opportunity to post them here:

Skiing Stone Crusher at Alta Ski Area

Skied Stone Crusher last weekend with a couple of friends from out of town. Stone Crusher is a less-known run at Alta compared to High Boy (Alf’s High Rustler) or Main Chute on Mount Baldy.  Stone Crusher is right next to High Boy though, and is just as steep but not quite as long. The entrance to the run was quite difficult to navigate due to a less than optimal base and lack of new snow over the last month or so.  Enjoy the video.

The entrance:

East Castle – Alta Ski Area

What a great day. The seldom open East Castle at Alta Ski Area was open today. I can’t say no to an opportunity like that. To get to the top, one must left side-step for about 45 minutes. It’s a hell of a workout.

The main face was full of avalanche debris and was a thick breakable crust. Not optimal skiing.  But the face you arrive at prior to the main face had some decent snow which was much more skiable.

Mountain Biking at Gooseberry Mesa

Did my first mountain biking at Gooseberry Mesa in Southern Utah.  What an incredible place. There are miles of trails which are right on the edge of the plateau.  Incredible riding and incredible scenery.

Here’s some drone follow footage. Be sure to watch at full 4K if possible.

Mountain Biking Cottonwood Valley Nevada

After attending the Pac-12 Championship game I did some mountain biking west of Las Vegas.  Never done any riding in Nevada before. It was quite interesting.  I made a new friend who showed me around and we did almost 20 miles of trails.

The ride started in the Blue Diamond area, which is a neat spot.

NBD (New Boot Day) – Technica Zero G Tour Pro

I’ve been suffering bad blisters on my old Technica Cochise 130 touring boots.  I tried everything to resolve the blisters from tweaking/molding the liners, Squirrel’s Nut Butter, athletic tape, moleskin… None of those things addressed the problem, which was that the boots were too big. I finally did it right, and got some new boots completely fitted, molded, orthotic-ed (just made that word up), and every possible customization and adaptation to my feet possible.  I have faith in Technical and that’s one reason why I chose them again with the Zero G Tour Pro. That at the fitter said these boots are the best of the best.

Above: note the alternate buckle. Interesting.

This walk/ski mechanism above is very hot right now.

I’ve done one tour with them so far, then the snow melted.  The tour was a success.  No blisters on the achilles.  I had a little bit of rubbing on the right ankle bone, but I think I need to change socks to a less abrasive pair.

I felt great in ski mode. My feet and my skis were connected. My foot wasn’t floating around in the boot.  My toes didn’t go numb either, which was another issue I had.

This is way too early to come to a conclusion and I may need another tweak or two to the boots, but they’re already a huge improvement.

The Lesson

Do it right the first time.  Get the right boot.  Get the right size. Get fitted by a pro.

Testing: Deity Supracush Bike Grips

While replacing my tires I also have the need to replace my very worn grips.  The local shop only had the Deity Supracush in stock, so that’s what I’ll be testing out!

I’ve been using them now for a couple of months and so far I’m really liking them.  Full review soon.

Testing out Moreok Mountain Biking Gloves

My gloves have been super worn and I’ve desperately needed new ones. Stopped by a couple of bike shops and found the selection to be very limited, and very overpriced. So naturally my next stop was Amazon, where I found these Moreok gloves, one pair at about $7.00 and the other at $15.

It’s so hot here right now that I’m using two pairs of gloves per ride. One pair I use on the sweaty climb. The second pair I use on the downhill to insure I have a clean and solid grip.

So far the gloves are well worth the money and have more padding than my previous gloves.  We’ll see how long they last. Stay tuned for a possible follow-up report on that.