Friday, December 28, 2012

BC Skiing - Silver Fork 12-27-2012

Silver Fork Meadows - view south.
Today I skied Silver Fork with Christian, Clark, Brett and Harrison. Christian and Clark are co-workers and Brett is an old friend with whom I’ve shared many adventures. Brett and I use to climb and ski together, a lot, but the last few years it has been tough to coordinate schedules, mostly my fault, mainly due to tightening work demands. Why is it that capitalism demands blood from a turnip? But I digress. The last member of our group, Harrison, is Brett’s son, 18 years old and a Base player for a local garage band. My advice to Harrison: stick to the Base for as long as you can, one day you will be handcuffed to a cubicle like the rest of us.

We approached Silver Fork from the bottom up, from Solitude ski area, due to avalanche control work on the Alta side, which meant skinning the cabin road into Silver Fork proper. Most of the cabins we passed were modest and old, just right for a retreat, but the one we saw for sale, and on the market since last spring – last time I skied Silver Fork - was huge and modern, 3 car garage, rock exterior and all, but with an asking price $1.7+ million is a bit out of range.

So we skin up the cabin road, then up the Silver Fork Drainage and ascend the first skin track we find leading up the Silver Fork Meadows. That’s the great thing about skiing the Central Wasatch, unless you are stupid, you never have to set the skin track. If you go early if, upon reaching the TH, you see no skin track, snooze in the warmth of your truck for twenty minutes and let some other Gumby fight the deep snow. That is the one benefit of skiing the Central Wasatch. On my home hills of Davis County I ALWAYS set the skin track. Yes, I have it all to myself, but there is a price to be paid for skiing off the grid. So, when I do ski Big, Little or Millcreek, which is usually only early season, I’d be burning Lincoln's if I set the track for a thousand other skiers.

I was worried about my company today. Rather, I was worried about keeping up. Bret and I are very compatible, but Christian and Clark are a world apart. Christian is a former CAT 1 Cyclist, now an ultra-trail runner; Clark is a former CAT 2 cyclist and now a 20 time Ironman finisher and a cycle-cross fanatic.

Clark, incidentally, was a mission companion to my little brother 25 years ago. Even then, when one is serving higher ideals, Clark was competitive to the hilt. The story goes that he was serving in Yuma, Arizona and was transferred to San Diego, California, all part of the San Diego Mission. Unfortunately, or just bad timing, he had just purchased a high-end road bike to more efficiently spread the word of the lord. The unfortunate part is that Mission rules dictate that Missionaries are required to leave their bikes in their current area to be used by the new Missionary coming to take their place. To that, Clark said bull-shit! It’s my bike and I’m keeping it! Their car was a Chevy Chevette and, with no bike rack, Clark had only one option, ride it from Yuma to San Diego, a distance of 175 miles. So, on transfer day, Clark hopped on his bike and started pedaling, while his pissed-off companion followed along in the Chevette. It took eight hours rather than three, and, needless to say, the Mission President was not happy. Clark still has that single-minded focus and determination today.

But back to Silver Fork, I led the way most of the day as Clark and Christian were very gracious to let me set the pace. They never once complained about my slow pace. All I can say, when you have IT (them, not me), you never have to brag about your abilities.

Oh, the skiing? It was excellent! The best powder day I’ve had in two years. Even on my 138mm, BD Justices (i.e. super flotation), if was face-shot after face-shot. Although the rating that day was considerable, the avalanche risk seemed low. I never once heard a collapse or saw any shooting cracks. When tested, the snow structure seemed welded. We skied three runs in the Silver Creek Meadows, progressively working southward (upward) along the Silver/Days divide, our exit run just north of the run called Doug’s Drop. The coverage was good, albeit thin on the lower third. On the skin tack there is still sage showing on the lower half, and on the exit run I nearly clipped a barely hidden tree stump, but I hit no rocks and never hit bottom.

A great day, but really weird to be based out of a ski area parking lot when I’m used to be totally alone. That is soon to change. My home hills are piling-up fast.

Christian and Clark.

Christian and Solitude's Honeycomb return (lift-line) on the right. 

Skinning up for run #2. Clark and Christian leading the way.

Tracks. Mid-meadows.

Run 2. Christian and Clark ripping skins. Prince of Whales and Honeycomb Ridge across the way.

Christian and Clark.

12-noon and only 4 tracks. The powder would be toast by 8:05AM at Alta, Snowbird and the lot. 


Harrison. Base player on a day off.

FJ Cruiser tells the snow story. Getting there, but we need more.

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