Report of April 27, 2022
The weather started funky today with clouds and warm temperatures.
I hesitated for a few hours in the morning hoping that the clouds would dissipate like they did yesterday.
They did it.
I showed up in Alta around 11am with clear skies, temperatures over 50°F and light to moderate wind.
I knew the snow was cooking and I was in that ugly area between powder and corn that no one likes.
My strategy was to ski High Rustler in Alta because there was already a ton of skier traffic over the weekend while Alta was still open and that might just be enough to save it from the horrible phase of sun-baked pow-mank.
I didn’t even bring skins.
I had planned to just start High Rustler in my normal ski resort gear.
That way I could go down a bit harder with my strongest gear.
As I looked down the line from the road above, I saw a bootpack.
I’m not in the best shape going uphill right now after heli skiing for 2 months at sea level in Alaska in March and April.
A bootpack was a welcome gift.
I braced myself and dug into the booter.
It was a solid booter put together by someone heavier than me, so every step held.
About 2/3 of the way up, the booter stopped.
I ducked into the slush and put on my own bootpack the rest of the way.
When I started this same race in November, I think it only took me 45 minutes.
Today, it took me 1h10.
I have to keep training to prepare for Tioga Pass, CA next month…
The views on top dazzled.
I caught my breath, pounded some water and let myself down.
Well, I entered.
The top incline was bare rock so I tiptoed down it and came back on snow.
I took a deep breath and sank my teeth into High Rustler – probably the last Hi Boy of the season.
Upper corners were soft and muddy.
I found a rhythm, the snow was forgiving, I picked up speed.
About halfway down the snow got sticky and I started to struggle.
I finally caught an edge, took a clumsy fall, bounced back and kept rolling.
I was somehow able to ski the line up and down without stopping, but I was out of breath at the bottom.
It was so sticky there that I had to push myself with my poles to get back to the parking lot.
I was hot, sweaty, sticky and thrilled to strip down to my swim shorts and no shirt in the pack.
It was 65°F.
SLC was 75°F as I drifted.
I have 4 more days left here in Utah.
These last few days have really satisfied me on the winter.
Bring on California spring, hot springs, corn, slush, park hops, good friends, après-ski, burritos and ice cream!
Thank you utah