My summer tradition of skiing Gunsight at Alta Ski Area continues. I hit Gunsight a couple of days ago and it was, uh, not good skiing.
The chute was full of large sun-cups, rocks, pine cones, branches, and even one lady’s season pass to Jackson Hole. When I got home it took me quite a bit of time to rub off the pine sap from the bottoms of my skis.
The summer road wasn’t open yet, so I had to hike up from the Albion parking lot, which added about another 2 miles round trip of hiking in the heat. At the start of the hike it was 80 degrees and when I finished it was 85. Very hot for up there. By the time I got to the top of Gunsight I was asking myself if my season was finally over due to the ever worsening effort to reward ratio.
Captured some of the avalanche damage in Little Cottonwood Canyon today with my latest drone, a slow flyer which is designed for more “cinematic” filming. Only flown it a couple of times so far but I’m digging it. The damage is stunning, including of parts of Tanners Flat Campground. Below are two versions of the video, a long and a short one. The short one is going viral on Twitter, at over 40K views in 24 hours!
Today I imposed an interesting test on myself both physically and mentally. Lovely bride asked me why I like to do stuff like this and it kind of set me aback. I’ll have to ponder that.
Anyway… Today’s run was on Eddie’s High Nowhere, a special area where you can go in to skimo (ski mountaineering) mode inbounds. After lots of side-stepping and traversing you have to boot pack to the top, where you’ll almost always find a cornice as the winds howl in this spot. Today’s boot pack was so windy I couldn’t hold my skis in the typical place over my shoulder. So I crawled with my poles and skis ahead of me.
The top is an amazing spot. Super rugged. No-fall-zone in all directions. The drop from the cornice to the run is about the steepest thing there is at Alta. It’s practically straight down and today that drop was about as wide as a pair of skis. I chose no on that. I didn’t think side-sliding it was possible and I sure as hell wasn’t going to point a ski down it. So I went for the side entrance below the cornice. There was a steep drop there too. Because of the poor visibility I couldn’t tell if there was anything to avoid, bumps, ice, who knows. My mind wouldn’t let me point a ski down that either. So for perhaps the first time ever, I started thinking about how I was going to back out. I’d probably have to reverse boot pack down where I came from.
On the way out I checked the trees to see if I could find another way to enter Eddies, and I managed to find one. I had to traverse a section of trees that is extremely steep. The video can’t convey just how steep it is. Not even close. A fall there would result in a case of human pinball. So I took it slow and eventually found my way in. Once I was in, the skiing was on ice and breakable crust with wind blown dust on top. Did I mention the poor visibility? LOL So you don’t know if you’re going to hit a bump, slide on ice, or stop suddenly. It’s basically defensive skiing at that point.
It felt satisfying to get down Eddie’s today. That’s where my thighs cramped up a few weeks ago, so I had a bit of a mental demon to exercise.
Hilariously, after getting down one of the toughest runs at Alta, I crashed into a tree (yes I know, another tree) off the cat track at the top of Collins, in front of all the people who get off the lift. What a hack I’m sure they were thinking.
Stoked to hear that the final load testing of the new Sunnyside lift at Alta Ski Area is taking place. I’ve been watching the construction for months. See photo below:
A couple of days ago I watched the lift actually move. Load testing and brake testing is happening now and if all goes according to plan the lift will be carrying skiers this Saturday the 21st of January, 2023! Looking forward to riding it on Saturday!
This was a tough video to make. So many awesome clips from the 2021-2022 ski season to choose from! Some of the clips feature pow on Mount Baldy, East Castle, backcountry skiing, Main Chute (Mount Baldy), Perlas, High Boy (Alf’s High Rustler), Jitter Bug, Stone Crusher, Gunsight, Deseret Peak’s Twin Couloirs and more.
What a thrilling day it was for me to record my third time “down” the Main Chute in the Baldy Chutes at Alta Ski Area a couple of weeks ago. I say “down” because I’ve only technically skied it twice as the first time I attempted it I fell 1,100 feet from the top to the bottom.
This time around was a nice spring day with mostly soft snow conditions, though some parts of the chute were icy. This was certainly my best run at it. I was in the most control, most relaxed (if that’s possible) and best turns. The first time I hit it after my fall I was terrified and was simply trying to get down it without getting hurt.
I was happy to take my buddy Mike there for his first time. As can be expected, he was psyched out at first. It is visually intimidating at the first. But after watching a couple of other skiers do it, he got up the will and did it without incident. Nice job Mike!
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:
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.
I’ve been eyeballing Little Apron at Alta Ski Area for many years. Little Apron is a small coulior in the Devil’s Castle area. It is located next to Castle Apron which is much larger.
The hike up would usually be about 10 minutes, but it was easily 20+ because the snow was not cooperating. The top layer was a breakable crust and underneath was powder. Once my foot would break through too far, I would sink. Each step took three steps to complete. By the time I got to the top I was drenched in sweat.