Quest for 116 – Century Mark at Alta Ski Area

Though I’ve posted quite a bit about backcountry skiing, I’m an off-piste resort skier mostly at this point.  I grew up skiing Alta Ski Area here in northern Utah.  I even took lessons from, and skied many times with, Alf Engen.  That explains my incredibly beautiful form (yeah, right).

This winter (2019-2020) I’m in much better physical shape and have been skiing more than any year in my entire life. It has been fantastic.  I made a goal this ski season to ski every marked run Alta. There are 116 of them, 55% of them black diamond rating for advanced skiers.

After knocking off about 5 more runs yesterday, I reached the century mark!  I’ve skied 100 of the 116 as of Feb 10, 2020.  Below is a resort map with pink highlights for each run I’ve done this season.

When I get home after each ski day, I sit down at my desk with my pink highlighter and mark the runs I did that day.

I’ve got about 16 more to go, but some of these may be difficult to cross off the list.  A couple of areas are not open that often, like the Baldy Chutes and East Castle. I’ve not seen East Castle open yet this season. That one will take skinning, side stepping, or boot packing to get to the top.

I’ll be back at it this weekend, tying to bust out a few more of the marked runs.  I’ve captured video for many of the runs and will post here and on my YouTube channel.

Stay tuned and see you on the slopes.

I was in a small avalanche

Had an interesting experience skiing at Alta Ski Area today. I was out in the boonies like I normally am. I stopped on a hillside where I was plotting the next run of deep powder I was going to take. I felt a poof above me and thought a skier was going by, but it wasn’t. Then I realized I was in a small avalanche. It hit me in the back and covered me up to about my waist, and went on by down the hill. Check out these two photos. Notice in the first photo way up below/right of the tree in the middle, you can see where the snow broke away. The 2nd photo was looking downhill. I’d say it was probably 20 feet wide by the time it hit me, and it probably traveled 150 yards. The most interesting, concerning, notable thing was that it was absolutely silent. I had no clue it was coming.

The avalanche came from above. Look closely where the snow breaks away.

I’m fine. Just had some snow covering my skis and legs. But had that been heavier and/or deeper snow, there may have been an issue.