|The 'Rock' just west of Rudy's Flat at the North Canyon divide. Bikers might recognize this. I say 'might' because without snow it stands chest high rather than knee high. Last week it was nearly covered.|
Remember how I whined about how Wasatch Powder Bird Guides had tracked the hell out of the Burro Mine area, leaving me with just table scraps (see February 12th blog)? And remember how I called and called them to get beta on where they were flying so I could time my tour to avoid their dominatrix-monopoly on fresh snow, and how they refused to give specifics on where they planned to ski? And remember how I skinned all the way in to Burro Mine only to find the ham bone nearly chewed to the marrow?
Well it happened again! Only difference is this time I didn’t bother calling them beforehand.
Why should I? They don’t provide specifics anyway (kind of makes their blog a pile of shit), but I’m a gentleman and won’t use such course language unless it is truly called for. The really bothersome thing here is when I did talk to WPG, I got a clear indications that they have no clue about the locations I was talking about. To them everything north of I-80 is “The Sessions,” which if you look on Google (let alone a USGS map), Sessions is one tiny pin-prick in a huge universe. WPG’s don’t know where Howard and Frederick Hollows are, so, evidently, that is the reason they wouldn’t – or couldn’t - tell me where they would be flying. This point is bothersome because they could get lost without knowing the geographic names of their flight paths. If they had a client incur a serious injury (avalanche?) and they needed medical assistance, how would they direct search and rescue top their location? Just throwing it out there for conjecture.
My point? It happened again, dammit!! WPG beat me to it.
Today I headed back up to Burro Mine, without calling WPG because it’s pointless. I chanced it anyway because I still know a few hidden gems near the Burro Mine that WPG have never touched (albeit hard to get back out). Today the only saving grace is that I saw them before I fully committed to skiing Burro Mine. When I topped out on Rectangle Peak (about ¼ mile from the Burro Mine divide) I hear the thwop-thwop-thwoping of a helicopter and see it flying south form the “real” Session’s Mountain, directly towards my location. The heli gets closer and they drop over the Burro Mine ridge, out of sight, and it sounds like they fly multiple circles over the Burro Mine area, presumably to scope out the best lines (it’s been unseasonably warm so any ski lines in the sun are wet and gloppy). I can hear them but not see them, but the roar gets louder and louder so I know they are coming my way. Then I see them. They rise, gently but loudly, over the top of the ridge and land on the top of a great, sun protected run (due north aspect) I call Big Drop One. Shit!! Did I tell you I was a gentleman? Well not today! Crap! Fetch! H-E-Double-Mormon-Hockey-Sticks!!!
From my vantage I watch rich, fat, old men, and barely stem-christy-ing, botoxed-to-the max women, stumble out of the heli and fumble to put on skis. Alarmingly, the guide actually helps one client place their boot into their binding because they couldn’t do it themselves. Buenos Dio! Heaven help them!
I watch the Gumbies drop off Big Drop One and out of sight. The heli starts up, a rotor wash of snow pillowing around and above it, rises above the trees then also drop over the edge and out of sight.
I want no part of that mess, so I abort my plans for the Burro Mine and instead ski my old stand-bys: Rectangle Peak, Crescent Peak and Crescent Bowl. They are more westerly, so a bit more sun-damaged, but I still found soft, creamy old powder in the shade. I push off Rectangle Peak for a fun, machine free day.
|Ski tracks from last week. We need a storm!|
|Near Rudy's Flat, the trail is melting out by the minute.|
|Wind damage from last week's wind event, evidenced by this downed tree blocking the summer trail from Rudy's Flat to Bountiful Ridge.|
|Three inches of soft snow on a hard crust necessitated ski crampons. My skins kept skating on the hard base.|
|View SW from Rectangle Peak.|
|Wasatch Powder Bird Guides Helicopter on top of a great ski run I call Big Drop One. Damn! That was my run and they beat me to it!! The run drops off the other side, toward the Burro Mine, into Howard Hollow.|
|Small cornice on Bountiful Ridge, on the lower edge of Rectangle Bowl.|
|"All the seeds beneath the snow, start to grow, start to grow.|
All the seeds that lie below, deep in the heart of what we know." - Ruth Moody
|First run's ski track on upper Rectangle Run.|
|Second run's track on Crescent Peak.|
|Tracks on Crescent Peak heading into Crescent Bowl.|
|Small cat on the summer trail heading back towards Rudy's Flat. For my exit run I skied the fall line through the forest down from Rectangle Peak to the summer trail, then skinned back to Rudy's Flat.|
|When is Greg and Art going to take out this stump? It blew over during a wind storm in December of 2010, blocking the trail which now diverts around it.|
|The bridges before Rudy's Flat, almost emerging through the snow.|
|Big cat on trail near Rudy's Flat.|
|Ski track on the Rectangle from my first run.|
|Summer trail from Mueller Park is showing more and more.|