Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Temple Bowl, January 21, 2017

White out and snowing hard.

Today I skied the foothills above Bountiful, specifically, a NW facing "bowl" above the Bountiful LDS Temple, which tops out at about 5,700 feet. I call it the 'Holy of Holies' (a Bible and LDS Temple thing). God has been generous with the white stuff the last few weeks and today I woke up to 15 inches of snow in my driveway so I decided to go hit the 'Holy of Holies' while I could. It is ski-able only about once or twice in an average year, at least by my lowly standards. This year it has been ski-able much more but I have not skied it in four years. And when I say ski-able, it's got to be unusually deep coverage. Eight-inches means guaranteed core-shots and hitting rocks on every turn, which is not acceptable. Today there was about 17 new inches of low density (4% or less) powder on NO base (it all melted last week during the 'January thaw'). That is, 17 inches of low density snow laying atop grass, sagebrush and rocks, so if you laid down an edge like Herman Myer on the Hannenkham, one should expect to hit solid ground and inflict big ski damage. That said, the snow was deep enough and the bowl low angle enough, like a boring 25 degrees, that laying an edge like the Hermanator was out of the question. I almost had to straight-line just to get to the base, which is a terrain trap by the way. I say terrain-trap because the snow was unstable and constantly collapsing, and if there was a base it could possibly have slid. The bottom of the bowl is a gully, a constriction formed with the adjoining hill, and if either hill slid, it could pile deep (and deadly), so I stayed away from the bottom. I skied five runs in about an hour, each run a signature of about ten, 1970's style turns. It's a tiny bowl and to get the runs to fit I kept the turns tight and efficient, like the child of the '60's and 70's that I am. If one skis like a child of the 2000's (big, fast and not much more than a straight line) one could possible make three turns. That's how small this place is, but a good choice when it's dumping and unstable elsewhere. 

It was a fun hour of skiing but it reminded why I don't ski here much: too short, too flat, too boring and not enough snow. Good in a pinch when the real skiing is too unstable and too dangerous. I hit one rock but nothing serious, no core-shots. Although, I nearly ran over my ski boots in the parking lot. It was snowing so hard I whipped of my boots, jumped into the truck, put it in gear but luckily remember - at the last second - that my boots were just behind the rear tire. I stopped just before I crushed them. It would have been a good excuse to move up the latest boots. Don't tell Kara.

15 to 17 inches

I took my rock skis in anticipation of damage, but I only hit one rock with little damage. 

The apex of Temple Bowl. If you can make tight, 1970-ish style turns (left side out of picture) you can  squeeze in maybe 10 turns. 

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