|Rudy's Flat, and not a Strava-head in sight. 18-inches total coverage (elevation 7,100 feet).|
|1 mile further, 1,000 feet higher (elevation 8,100 feet) , 33-inches.|
|Near the top and still rocky.|
|Central Wasatch. Near: City Creek. Far skyline: Dromedary, Sunrise, O-Sullivan's, Broads Fork Twins, Thunder and Lone.|
|Windy and breaking cornices.|
|Great turning on NW aspects, albeit a few stumps and rocks.|
|Turns (l) and skin track (r).|
Skiing my favorite run on my home hill, my ski tip catches on a hidden stump and sends me cartwheeling into the snow. One second I’m making big GS turns through the still-exposed brush, the next I’m tumbling over the snow and scrub. My tumble is stopped when I roll into a stand Mt. Mahogany. I’m unhurt but for one small gash on my face, left by the grabby action of the Gamble Oak. I had hit a few rocks up higher, and with brush visible everywhere there was plenty of evidence of the thin snow-pack, but the powder was perfect and the steepening angle prompted longer, faster turns. I gather myself, brush off the snow and finish the run, this time at a more moderate speed and with a bit more caution.
It is still early season conditions, but it is good to be home. Even with the thin snowpack, longer approach, the early season wrestling match with brush and the guarantee of trail breaking, it is good to be back on home turf. I’ll take all those downers to get away from the hordes in the central Wasatch. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, anything within 3 miles of a ski lift is nothing more than resort side-country. Mere suburbs of Alta, Snowbird, Solitude, Brighton and the mess over in Summit County. The sad and funny thing about SLC BC skiing is this: when Cardiac Bowl is moguled-out, which is a common occurrence, the SLC BC crowd still calls it ‘backcountry’.
I realize that many BC skiers are in it for the social networking. I am not. That has never been the draw. In fact, I’m there to get away from humanity, if only for an hour or two. I often ski alone, or with a handful of good friends, but I don’t search out the crowd just to be with the crowd. Last week up Silver Fork, albeit perfect powder and with great friends, every time we encountered another group I felt the stress levels rise, along with the hackles on my neck. I’m not really sure why that is? Maybe it’s the quizzing on snow stability? (Who cares – we all dig pits then ignore the results and ski it anyway.) Maybe it’s the race to the best lines? (I hate the leap frogging as groups become splinted.) Maybe it’s just the overall attitude, like they have something to prove? (I get enough of that at work and church.) Who knows what the answer is? For me the big draw is to break free into a world where I answer to no one, where every decision is mine alone, and where that decision could mean the differences between life and death. That is pure freedom. I ski unpopular locations and I’ve met a few others doing the same. And those few lone skiers I’ve met on my home hills are laid back and unobtrusive. We understand each other. We choose to ski way off the beaten path for a reason. We’ve consciously chosen those long, brushy, trail-breaking locals in order to escape the crowd and the attitude.
Today was a great ski day – even with the thin snow-pack and the gash on my face.