Sunday, January 19, 2014

Back Country Skiing Bountiful Ridge, Crescent Bowl and Rectangle Run, Friday, January 17, 2014

Squirrel garbage, and a cyclist turned skier. I have five of those stickers and the best application I found was cutting this one to look like a skier (use your imagination). The other four are gathering dust in my garage.

Sessions Mountain from near Rudy's Flat.

Still 27 inches at Rudy's Flat.

Wasatch bush skinning.

Brett, dead tree, Bountiful Peak in the distance.

Brett, skinning to the sun.

More sun . . .

. . . and blue sky.

Nice, soft turns on the N-NE aspects.

Smoky below.

Art's, Greg's and Paul's re-route due to a downed tree, trail leading the Rudy's Flat from the north.

A couple of friends, who don't like back country skiing, find this bridge (yes, this is a bridge) problematic while cycling. Hmmmm, not much of a problem now. I think they should get off the bike and ski?
Uphill for run number three.

Going for number three, with Bountiful, Woods Cross and North Salt Lake below.

Fat man in a little hat. Sponsorship plug? I'm still waiting to get paid to ski, but I'll take free food any day. Maybe now I can quit my real job and live off the fat of the land, or Pro-Bars?
Ski tracks on the Rectangle. Brushy, but still skiable and hit only a rock or two. Skin track is to the right, in Rectangle Bowl. Crescent Bowl is over the ridge (NE) from those turns.

Back Country Skiing, Bountiful Ridge, Friday, January 17, 2014
Ski Runs: Crescent Bowl and Rectangle Run

There are talkers and there are doers. Brett is a doer. He's always ready for anything, even this year's thin cover and bush-whack approaches.

We skied Bountiful Ridge again today (Friday, January 17, 2014). ‘B-ridge’ is low elevation, requires a long approach with plenty of skin-ripping Gamble Oak (buck-brush to the NRA, big-toy crowd), but ‘B-ridge’ never fails me. There is no pressure to perform, like at work, or even skiing the Cottonwoods, and my head is cleared of the harsh, screaming voices of the real world. When skiing ‘B-ridge’, I am the boss, and I answer only to myself. It’s where I grew up. I’ve skied these lines since the mid-seventies, mostly alone, and I always come down the mountain happy.

Today Brett and I skied great settled powder and we had it to ourselves. Not another skier for miles and miles and miles. I tried to make it a party and asked a handful of acquaintances to join the fun, but was politely ignored. The neighborhood boys say I’m a back country ski snob because I rarely include them in the fun, so this week I extended the invite and expected the shit to hit the snow, at least from a few of the loudest mouths, but the invite went over like a snowboarder at Alta. It didn’t happen. Yeah, I know, I’ve written long and hard about how I don’t like crowds and how I search for the lonely places, but a handful of friends often talk about joining me, and then seem hurt when I don’t include them in my ski circle. So, trying to change my solitary ways, I asked them to come along and all I get is upturned noses. Snubbed, except by Brett. Oh well, their loss. As you can see from the pictures, it was a beautiful, sunny day with great snow. We covered nearly ten miles and skied multiple runs in both the Crescent Bowl and the Rectangle.

After a big day of hiking for turns on Friday, yesterday (Saturday, January 18, 2014) I broke the routine and rode lifts at Snowbird. I have a few passes to burn so on my ‘rest’ day I went to ski some bumps. I love skiing moguls and I love skiing steep technical terrain, I just don’t like skiing with lots of people. A true dilemma. My expectations were correct on both fronts. Skiing moguls with speed and fluidity is a great challenge, and Saturday I had a great time trying to relive my youth, but I kept finding myself hiking to the resort boundaries to scope out Mary Ellen Gulch, White Pine and American Fork, where my heart is, in the back country. And, as good as bump-skiing can get, sure enough, it was tough skiing with so much humanity nearby, but it made me realize that humans have far more in common with sheep than chimpanzees. Like drivers on the interstate, resort skiers seem to be most comfortable cruising with a group, which was obvious as I continually watched them sub-consciously gravitate into skiing in flocks, herds and hoards. It was hilarious to watch them congregate at the top of a steep run, then, when one commits and steps off, they all step off. It was maddening to ski past onto a steep pitch while they're watching from a cat track, thinking I’d be out of the crowd, only to hear 20 skiers on my tail. It was like igniting the attack instinct of a Mountain Lion when Bambie runs by, they can’t resist jumping to action. They have to show who’s the most bad-ass. I doubt there is one original thought in their collective brains. I was just there to ski, not to thump chests and pretend I'm the biggest bad-ass on the hill.  If this observation says anything, maybe it’s this: creationists should not fear the idea of evolution, as the Bible speaks very favorable of sheep and nothing about apes.

That said, in the physical sense only, I just might have been the biggest bad-ass on the hill. Have you seen the size of my ass? I can’t even fit Black Diamonds new “athletic fit” clothing line. What, does B.D. think everyone is built line a prepubescent teenage French-girl? What can I say? I’m not cutout for the SkiMo racing scene, just for my hefty weight (5’8” and a stout 163lbs.).

Other than the lemmings chasing me down the hill, the big downer of the day was when a ski patrolman SCREAMED at me to slow down, complete with neck-veins bulging and eyes bugging out. I thought he was on going to have a stroke, or, at a minimum, move his bowel? He was seriously upset. I’m still scratching my head at his tantrum. In my defense the run was 100 yards wide and I timed it so I was between to the 'flocks of mindless-seagulls'. I bit my tongue, said I was sorry, and skied on down to the truck. Enough bull-shit for one day, I headed for home.  

I am looking forward to back country skiing again this week, away from the sheep and lemmings of Snowbird. Although, I still have a few passes to burn. Maybe my neighbors would like them?   

1 comment:

  1. The best thing about the back country might be your neighbors and all the people skiing at the Bird. They were elsewhere… It is just nice having the place to yourself. No pressure to get a line before someone else skis it, nobody cutting really wide turns, or making a traverse in the wrong place. While there are really busy places in the back country, it is usually possible to find a spot that nobody else cares, or knows, about. So I think you would be fine giving your passes to the neighbors. The Utah Avy Center called the weather forecast "grim," but I'm game for another day skiing the backcountry.