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Ski Seasons Final Days 2017

Man am I behind on my reporting here, but what else is new eh? I ‘m going to cover this ski seasons final days in this report, covering 3 or 4 actual days on the mountain. It’s very sad that the resorts are all closing, as the slopes are buried in snow. I mean, it is deep.  Directional signs that we usually use to get around the mountain at Heavenly are buried.  The dyn-no-mite storage shack at Heavenly is currently at least 6 feet under snow and not out in the open like during a normal winter.  Those mountains got snow baby – and yet here we are at the ski seasons final days – WHAT THE #$%@^&!!!!

Enough belly-achin’ – here’s the report. It’s going to be heavy on pictures and light on wordage – as my composition widgit is out of whack (or maybe I just be a lazy butt – you decide – but keep it to yourself eh?)

Several weeks ago, we went to Heavenly and had a great day.  Skied all over the mountain from one side to the other, heading down Gunbarrel on the California side and Killebrew canyon on the Nevada side.  Both were the first (and last ) times for the season.  Here are some pictures:

Lake Tahoe  is gorgeous from top of Heavenly.

Here I am in Retro gear on the California side.

 

Ski seasons final days always includes Killebrew Canyon.

Steve at the top of Killebrew Canyon.

 

Kirkwood Ski Seasons Final Days

On 14 Apr we headed to Kirkwood and had a great day.  New snow, bright sunshine, and hardly anyone on the mountain.  It was wonderful.  We skied some great snow on the face above the 7800′ Restaurant and then slipped in there for some much needed refreshment (best beer and food place on the mountain). We then did a zig while everyone else did a zag.  The backside opened and what crowds there were headed that way.  We headed to the Palisades – and what a great call that was.  The snow in our special gullies – Hamilton 2 and Hamilton 3 – was excellent!! Untouched and sweet.  Check out the pics! For the record, Kirkwood closed 16 April.

Hamilton gullies at ski seasons final days.

Check out our tracks in the powder!

 

 

 

Bluebird day and great powder at Kirkwood.

Big thumbs up for sure eh?

Heavenly Ski Seasons Final Days

Yesterday we headed up the Heavenly and experienced some very nice spring skiing. Once the snow loosened up, it was really good.  Heavenly had less then half their lifts running and really only the Nevada side open for skiing.  They are closing on 30 April, though they could probably stay open for another month at least with the snow they have. (more belly-achin’ going on here)

We had some really good runs in the Dipper Woods area, but once the snow started getting sticky around 1pm, we called it a season.  We did do our “toast the snow gods” ritual on top of mountain.  Got to keep the snow gods happy – right? They done us good this year for sure!! Here are the pictures.

Wonderful season that is over way too soon.

A little Schnapps keeps the snow gods happy.

 

 

 

 

Ski season is over and we are sad.

Got to give the snow gods their share – right?

Ski seasons final days have now come and gone.

Bro at the top on the final run of the season.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are some more pictures from the ski seasons final days.  Hard to believe it is already over, but it is.  Guess we will have to gear up to go camping and fishing and dream of the next season, hoping it will have as much snow as this one.

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Colorado Ski Resorts Whirlwind Tour

I am way behind on my reporting here. I’m going to be covering the last 5 resorts we visited in our Colorado Ski Resorts Whirlwind tour in one post. I have no real excuses for my lack or reporting, other than we visited 12 Colorado ski resorts in 15 days.  We would have done  more, but we had worn our sorry ole asses out.  TIRED, sore and whooped but good – we headed home – gladly. We had planned to do 4 or 5 other Colorado ski resorts on this tour – but couldn’t do it. Anyway, here is how the rest of our Colorado ski tour went.

Colorado Ski Resorts

Aspen

Aspen is a great Colorado ski resort.

On our way up the gondola at Aspen.

We weren’t originally planning to go to Aspen when we set up this tour. Lisa has a high school friend, Ron Moorehead, that lives and works there.  We met him and went to lunch at a great place called Shlomo’s, right at the base of the gondola. We enjoyed talking to Ron as he is a very nice person to be around.  He gave us some discount passes for lift tickets, but unfortunately he could not ski with us due to work responsibilities.

We headed up the next day and skied a lot of Aspen. Caught a bus at an external parking lot and it took us almost to the base of the mountain.  Easy access.  What a great mountain!!  Wonderful lifts, fantastic terrain and awesome gnar.  We loved it. We saw evidence of the 14 inches of snow that we had missed out on, having missed it by a few days.  It was easy to see how great it would be to ski here with some fresh powder on the hill. We blazed down the slopes at just under mach speed as the runs were long and the grooming was smooth and nice.

After taking in most of the mountain we decided to head over to Snowmass and check it out. The bus we caught at the base of Aspen took us right there.  (Note: the lift tickets you buy allow you to ski 4 Colorado Ski resorts in that area – Aspen, Snowmass, Aspen Highlands and Buttermilk. It is easy to catch a free bus trip that connects you to all the mountains.) I need to give you the ratings on Aspen.  Foo-foo is about a 5 – it is definitely there, but they have it blended in well and it is not so “in your face”.  Hoback was about a 1 the day we were there – great grooming, snow was loose and light and skiing was easy.  Gnar is a 7.  Lots of good stuff to ski and some very nice vertical.  This is a place we would love to come back to.

Snowmass

The view from up here is awesome.

Bro at the top, heading out to the Headwall.

Snowmass forces you to shuffle through a village to get to the lifts.  We hate that. It sucks. The mountain itself however, is very impressive.

Snowmass is a very large mountain, with an abundance of gnar.  We skied a few runs and then headed to the top, via one of the longest poma lifts I’ve ever ridden. We got into some nice powder by traversing across the top to a run called the Cirque Headwall. It looked good, but proved to be a bit treacherous, as there were rocks just below the snow surface. We hit a few, but made it out almost unscathed. Bro hit a small field of rocks and got ejected out of his skis. He whacked his right shoulder and one ski got a good sized tear in it, but all survived. Had to stop for lunch and a little liquid refreshment to recover after that.

Dropped into another awesome run called Buckskin that had enough gnar to pucker your pie hole for life. There are a number of these high gnar score runs off several ridge lines at Snowmass and it makes it an awesome resort.  This is another place we would love to come back to and hit on a  fresh snow day.  Foo-foo score here is an 8.  The village walk in and other such things cause this rating. Hoback score is a 1.  Snow was soft and nice and the grooming was very good. Gnar score is at least a 9.  This place has gnar, and lots of it, all over the mountain. More than enough terrain of a challenging level to satisfy the most gnar hungry among us.  Aspen and Snowmmass were among our favorite Colorado ski resorts for their terrain and we are going to have to return for more.

Sunlight

Sunlight is the only resort we went to but did not ski.  We heard about  it at our motel in Glenwood, when the the person at the desk asked us if we were going to ski the local resort – Sunlight. We had time before we headed on to Gunnison, so we went there to check it out.  On the way we talked about what these smaller resorts had to do to attract skiers. One of us mentioned a resort that offered a package where you could buy a custom made ski and get a lift ticket for a set price. It turns out that Sunlight is that resort.  You pay $700 and get a day pass, a day at a local spa and a custom ski made by Meier.   It is all in celebration of 50 years that Sunlight has been open.

This resort is a real old school, skier oriented resort – the kind we love.  It only has 3 lifts, but the terrain looks very nice. Plenty of glade skiing and some steeps that would be awesome with new snow. We checked out the whole place, talked to the friendly people and figured we were going to have to come back and ski this place some day.

Monarch

Monarch is another wonderful Colorado ski resort.

Looking out over one bowl at Monarch.

Monarch is about 40 miles east of Gunnison.  It has a great mountain, with lots of gnar and a very comfortable atmosphere. There are 5 lifts, 4 of them fixed cable doubles and one a fixed cable quad.  Over fifty percent of the mountain is rated black diamond or double black diamond. Plus they have a whole other bowl called Mirkwood Bowl that you can hike to or take a cat to – and it has wide open bowl skiing and glade skiing that looks awesome.

This is a great little mountain and if we lived in Salida or Gunnison, this would be our mountain of choice. Great people, great slopes, great grooming and enough gnar to to keep it all interesting.

We skied a number of runs, and then went in and had lunch in the lodge. Our waitress was very friendly and the beer and food were excellent.

We went out and skied some more and admired the potential of this mountain. Wide bowls and wonderful glades were everywhere.  There are lots of little secret stashes at this place that would be a gas to find and ski if you had the time. This is an old school ski resort that is well worth skiing again. Foo-foo score is 1 – almost non-existent.  Hoback score is 1 the day we were there – and only this high as the powder had been cut up and then some of it had gotten crusty due to the warm days.  Gnar score is 7 due to the steepness of the slopes and the great glades and off piste bowls.

Crested Butte

Crested Butte was a disappointing Colorado ski resort.

Looking up Crested Butte slope from the “Mall”

This was the most disappointing of all the Colorado Ski resorts that we skied.  It does not live up to the hype that we had heard about it.  Whoever operates this mountain is far more interested in making money than in accommodating skiers.

First they force you to walk through their village to get to the slopes. That is a big strike against them right there.  Then there is no real lodge, but more of a mall sort of atmosphere at the base.  There are only three eating places on the hill.  Two of them are very small and not set up to service skiers.  The third is a high class restaurant mid-mountain, called Uley’s Cabin, that has crystal ware at sit down tables where you eat a five course meal.  Whoa! To get something to eat or drink you are almost forced to go to the main base area and walk through the “Mall”  (I can’t call it a lodge – because it isn’t.  You don’t have a Bank and a real estate office in a ski lodge like they do at Crested Butte)

Condominiums and large houses have been erected slope-side, and the emphasis seems to be making these land owners and $500 a night condo stayers happy, but ignoring the regular skier.  Really sad, as it seems that this used to be a great place to come and ski, but no longer.

The mountain has some good gnar for sure – but this gnar requires that after you have ski down you must hike up steep hills for at least 15 minutes to return to the main resort area. If you miss the mid point cut-off and ski the rest of  the way down, the hike is 45 minutes.  The main front side of the mountain is really almost all intermediate terrain, with less than optimum grooming.

A big disappointment really – we will not be going back.  Foo-foo score is a 9 – really bad.  Hoback score is a 2 due to poor grooming mostly.  Gnar score is 7 as they do have it, but once you got it, it requires hiking to get back to the resort.

We had a great trip visiting all of these Colorado ski resorts.  We skied our buns off and wore ourselves out – but we loved it. Have to recover some, and then we’ll get back out there for some more skiing.

Here are some more pictures from our trip. Enjoy!

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Arapahoe Basin Is Our New Kirkwood

Vail is great but Arapahoe Basin is awesome.

Looking out to Blue Sky Basin at Vail

Catching up again, and this post will cover our skiing Vail yesterday and Arapahoe Basin today. Had some good snow at Vail, but we had some great powder snow today at A-Basin.  Full data below – but first we need to wrap up our definitions of the terms we are using to rate these resorts – so on to the Foo-foo scale defined.

Foo-foo is something that Bro and I do not like. It is a trend that is taking over too many resorts and we hate it.  We far prefer the old school resorts with down home atmosphere. Foo-foo is most grandiosely exemplified by a resort that forces you to park far away from the lift and then walk through their gaudy, expensive village to get to the lifts.  They have gabillion dollar mansions or condos lining the slopes, or dominating the space near the lifts. You have to remove your leg to get a beer at the bar in the lodge and mortgage your house to buy a quinoa laced grass-fed beef hamburger.  All Foo-foo – and a resort that has all these is a 10 on the Foo-foo scale. Examples of resorts that rank high on the Foo-foo scale are Northstar, Vail, and Steamboat.

Vail is huge, but Arapahoe Basin has more Gnar.

Steve and Joe atop a bowl at Vail.

Whew – that’s out of the way so onto the reporting. We skied Vail yesterday with an ole army buddy of Steve’s named Joe.  Joe had skied the resort before and showed us how to get to the last bowl that we had not yet skied – the Blue Sky Basin. We skied a few runs in Tea Cup Bowl and in China Bowl and then headed to Blue Sky Basin. We did not find any new snow, but we did find some good snow to ski and we cut it up.  Had a great lunch and a beer or two at the Two Elks Lodge and skied a few more runs – then called it a day.  Humped our behinds through the village to the car and headed home.  Vail has already been scored in an earlier post – so I won’t do it again here.

 

Arapahoe Basin Scores High On The Gnar Scale

Old school Arapahoe Basin is a great place.

The lodge at the bottom of Arapahoe Basin.

Today we skied Arapahoe Basin and we had a great time. This is a small resort with only 6 lifts and it’s very old school. You park right next to the lift and the lodge.  The lodges are great.  The beer is great with 20 different varieties on tap.  The terrain is awesome, with great bowls and fantastic steeps in several bowls – all easily accessed. The Gnar score of this place is higher then any other resort we have been to yet. The food is great and cheap.  If we lived in this area, this would be our resort of choice – thus the title of this post. Kirkwood is our favorite resort back home – so this would be our “Kirkwood”  if we lived here.

There was about 5-6 inches of new snow and it was light and fun to ski. It snowed the entire time we were there and the clouds were down on the slopes making visibility a challenge, but we were up for it.

We first headed up the Pallavicini lift and jumped right onto the face there.  Great steep run, but it needed more snow on the slopes as we hit a few concealed rocks.

A-Basin is the highest elevaton ski resort in America.

Steve at the Snow Plume Refuge atop A-Basin.

We got out of there and headed to the Black Mountain Express lift.  We found some good powder on the intermediate runs there, and we cut it up.

Next we headed up the Lenawee lift to the top.  There was some nice uncut poo under the lift and in a few bowls that ran on each side of the lift. Gleefully we blasted through it and had a great time. Feeling the call of nature we stopped at the Snow Plume refuge at the top.  Once relieved I had to take a picture of the sign showing that the elevation was 12,456 feet.  We were certainly huffing and puffing anytime we had to exert ourselves at that altitude.

After a few runs we headed into the Black mountain lodge which is mid-mountain for some coffee to warm up and rejuvenate. Once fully fortified we headed back out and went to the backside – the Montezuma Bowl.

Arapahoe Basin has lots of great stuff to ski.

Bro showing his stuff in Elk Meadows.

What an awesome bowl.  We hooked up with a free resort tour guide there and he showed us a few powder stashes. When the tour was over, we found a few other great places to ski by ourselves and we were really impressed with the available runs in this place. We traversed the bowl and skied a run called Elk Meadows, which was wide open and uncut.

Having worked up an appetite by this time we headed back to the front side to get some lunch at the main lodge. We were cruising down the powder, about to drop off a ledge into a bowl when Steve took a sharp right.  I was right behind him, not anticipating his turn and made a sharp right to avoid him.  I failed and crashed right into him, knocking him headfirst off the ledge.  He landed hard, whacking his head and wrenching his back.  Shit!!!  He’s tough, so will be fine – but I will probably never hear the end of how I ran into him. (No big deal – that’s how he is. I’m used to it)

Araphoe Basin has a high degree of Gnar.

Part of the East Wall at A-Basin

We made it to the lodge and had some fantastic beer and pizza. I went out and did a few more runs, trying out Steve’s Nordica skis for the first time, while he recovered in the lodge. We had skied the whole place, so we were done.

Ranking this resort is easy.  The Hoback scale for the day was a 2 – as there was ice and crud under some of the new snow on a few runs. Made it a bit of a challenge at times.  The Foo-foo scale is a 1 – if that.  Very little Foo-foo – just old school charm and skier friendly atmosphere. The Gnar scale is an 8 or 9 – as the steep runs, awesome Montezuma bowl chutes and available East bowl face make this a gnarly place. Nice!

There you have it.  Our last few days of skiing – and now on to Aspen, Crested Butte and beyond.  Here are a few more pictures for you to enjoy.

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Keystone Impresses and Vail Bowls are Awesome

Keystone impresses but Vail Bowls are awesome.

Fluffied Bro at Keystone. That’s Breckenridge in the background.

Catching up again – due to the very slow internet here I have not been able to post daily.  Today we are taking a breather – after skiing 5 different resorts in 7 days.  We also traveled from Nevada to Colorado during this time, so we have been busy. Two days ago, we skied Keystone and yesterday we skied Vail – a first for both of us at both places. All I have to say is that Keystone impresses and the famous Vail bowls are awesome!

But first – we need to continue our clarification of the key terms we are using to rate the resorts we’re visiting. Today we’re going to cover the Gnar scale.  Gnar stands for gnarly, which per the urban dictionary means “you’ve gone beyond radical, beyond extreme, it’s balls out danger.” In terms of skiing a 1 on the Gnar scale is a slope that is almost flat, smooth, easy. If you look over the edge of a slope and you get a fluttering heart and slamming pie-hole puckering – it’s about an 8.  If you look over the edge and you uncontrollably scream “Are you frikken’ kidding me!!” – I think you have a 10.  Alright, with that out of the way, let’s move on.

The Keystone bowls are greaat looking.

One part of the Keystone bowls.

It has been colder then a well diggers butt here over the last few days.  We “fluffied-up” two days ago and headed to Keystone.  Even though we had so much on we could hardly put our arms to our sides – we froze. We tried hard not to whine like little 5 years olds – but we probably didn’t succeed.

Anyway,  Keystone is quite an amazing place. Good incline to most of it’s runs, really good grooming and some awesome looking bowls.  There are 4 or 5 different Cat trips you can take out to these bowls and these really open the resort up. We took a small hike at the top to get a taste of some of the bowl skiing available.  It was really good for the little amount of new snow they had – but would be absolutely awesome with some deep snow.  We decided not to take the Cat out further as it was not really worth the $10 you have to pay for the 2-3 inches of new snow.

We skied the whole place and enjoyed it immensely.  With the good grooming, the Hoback score was about a 1.  The Gnar score was a 5 – taking in the bowls that are available.  The Foo-foo score is a 5 – it is there, but not really all in your face.  Overall, Keystone is certainly a place we’d love to ski again – well worth skiing.

Vail Bowls Are Awesome

Let me get this out of the way right off the bat. Vail ranks very high on the Foo-foo scale – like an 8.  To get to the lifts, you are forced to walk through a winding village of high brow shops. That sucks.  That is not what skiing is all about and we hate it.

The Vail bowls are massive and go on and on!

Heading up Sun Up bowl lift. It’s cold!

That being said, once through the crap – the skiing and the lay out are awesome.  The place is huge.  It took us all day to cover only about 1/2 of the resort in our first day of skiing there.   We’re going back in a couple of days to take in the rest of the place.

Vails back bowls are off the charts for sure.

In the glades getting some knee lube.

Eager to get it going, we headed right to the the famous Vail bowls – and we were impressed.  They are big, expansive and a gas to ski.  The resort had about 5-6 inches of new powder and we proceeded to cut it up.  We skied the Sun Up bowl, and even with varying conditions, we had a gas.  We took to the glades in the China Bowl and found some great uncut powder.  Took a bit of a break in the trees to liberally apply some much needed knee lube. (Got to keep our joints working – right?)  Heading to the Siberia bowl we found some uncut poo and left our marks throughout. Man was it great.

It was time to refuel so we ate lunch at the Two Elk Lodge at the top of the China Bowl.  That place is a massive wood lodge, which serves hundreds of people at a time and they had great food. Once fully replenished, we skied some of the front side.

The front side is mostly intermediate skiing.  The few black diamond runs we skied there were really just glorified blue (intermediate) runs.  We skied about 1/3rd of the front side before we were done for the day.

I gave you the Foo-foo score above, so I will move on to the other scale rankings for Vail. The place ranked about a 2 on the Hoback scale, only because some of he varying conditions in the Sun Up bowl.   The resort ranks about a 4 on the Gnar scale. The Vail bowls are huge and impressive, but they are not really steep or hair raising.

Great couple of days on the slopes at Keystone and in the Vail bowls.  We are one week into our trip and we are having a great time.

Here are some more pictures from our days at Keystone and Vail.  Enjoy!

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Steamboat Sucks but Breckenridge Rocks

Billy Kidd is the Ski pro at Steamboat.

Steve by the Billy Kidd statue at Steamboat.

Have to catch up on the activities of the boys from Dover – so I am covering two resorts we have been to over the last few days.    We went to Steamboat two days ago – and frankly – Steamboat sucks.  Went to Breckenridge yesterday – and I have to say Breckenridge rocks.  Here is how this all went down.

Just a few things to clarify – some scales you need to be clued in on.  I am going to cover the Hoback scale here.  Will cover the Gnar scale in another post and the Foo-Foo scale later too.  I will give you the ranking of these resorts here, but the full definition later.

The Hoback scale – this is a scale that measures the degree of un-skiability of a slope. The top of this scale is measured against an incredibly horrendous run down “The Hobacks” at Jackson Hole several years ago.   Those that experienced this 4000 foot ride down the frozen torture chamber are amazed they lived to tell about it. Solid ice skating rink slope covered with up to small ice chest size blocks that did not move, but rather bounced you around like you were a pinball. The biggest fear was that one of these blocks would click your boot out of your binding and you would spend the rest of the run ricocheting off these blocks with your face – ouch!  Anyway – that level of horribleness is a “10” on the Hoback scale.

Now back to the report on the resorts.  Steamboat rated about 4 on the Hoback scale the day we were there.  It ranked about a 4 on the Gnar scale and about an 8 or 9 on the Foo-foo scale.

Breckenridge rocks sogo theere.

Lots of good advice here. Best follow it.

Steamboat probably has about the worst grooming we have ever run into ever – anywhere on planet. (and that is actually being kind)  The “Village” and development around the mountain with large gabillion dollar homes lining the slopes really exemplify all that we hate about the current ski resort scene.

They have not had any snow for sometime, but the hills were so poorly groomed that even the best groomed runs were a challenge to ski – while the un-groomed were not really skiable.

It sucked – all the way down to the $170.00 per day lift ticket price. Paying that much for crap just added insult to injury.  We will not be going back. They did have a great sign concerning moose, and of course I just had to get a picture of it.  One of the few redeeming things about the resort.

Breckenridge Rocks

Not many pictures due to thee weather but Breckenridge rocks.

The snow at Breckenridge was quite good.

Breckenridge rocks as a resort.  There was a lot of development of the Foo-foo variety lower down on the mountain – but overall the mountain ranks about a 4 on the Foo-foo scale.  You have to take a gondola up to where the ski lifts are – so this development is not as in your face as the Steamboat development. There is no parking up near the lifts, but we did not know that and drove up there.  We had a bit of an adventure where a women almost slid into us when she lost control of her car.  We had to back down the hill fast, with her coming right at us, but luckily she finally stopped sliding and we got the hell out of there.

Breckenridge rocks and would be even betteer with more snow.

Bro on the hill at Breckenridge.

The resort itself is spread out over 5 peaks with a number of bowls you can reach only by hiking. These bowls look to be very high on the Gnar scale, but we never got to them. It was snowing, blowing hard and the clouds were low down on the mountain – so we never made it to the highest lift, which goes up to almost 13,000 feet. We did make it to the second highest peak that went over 12,300 feet.  We had to get down the first couple hundred yards by brail due to the low cloud cover, but we made it.

Overall the resort is very large and we went from one boundary to the other, hitting almost all the lifts.  The grooming was excellent and runs were wide and fun to ski.  The lifts were top notch and the lodges were first class. Breckenridge rocks and is a great place to ski and we would love to go back sometime.  Due to the weather I did not get many pictures, as it was nasty out, but the skiing was great.  Just like we like it – snowing, new snow and not many people on the hill – wonderful to the crazy Hamilton boys.

 

 

Kirkwood’s Deep and Alta Bites Back

Bro and I skied Kirkwood almost a week ago, and snow was awesome deep.  The Sierras have been getting hammered and Kirkwood has over 500 inches so far – with more falling as we speak.  Crazy good.

We headed right to the backside and had some great runs off of what we call Hamilton Pass.  We found Hamilton crag almost fully buried – which we have never seen before.  Wish I could show it to you, but the pictures are on my computer at home – so sad.  Bro and I are currently at our buddies house Jim Brunson in Salt Lake City – so I can  not access the pictures back home. Crap.

Fateful day ahead at Alta - yikes!

Here we are heading up for our first run.

Anyway – today we all went to Alta – and we fought the snow – and the snow won.

We had a gorgeous day ahead of us so we headed up Sunnyside, where we caught a little powder – sweet stuff.  We headed down to the Sugarloaf lift and went up. We dropped into Greeley bowl through one of the gates, as there was some untouched powder there and we wanted to get it.  We were tearing it up – when those evil brocus bonsters raised their little black beady-eyed heads and ended our day of fun and glory.  Right at the bottom of the run they call “Itchy Scratchy” those horrid creatures struck!! They grabbed ole Jim’s left leg – causing him to have a slow twisting fall – and he broke his left fibula right above the ankle. Holy shit and damnation – say it ain’t true.

Jim could not get his ski back on as his ankle hurt too much.

Jim standing after his fateful fall.

 

I hiked back up the hill to help Jim while Bro headed down to get the Ski Patrol.   They brought a toboggan and took him off the hill to the medical clinic there at Alta.  They xrayed, confirmed the break, and cast his leg.  He has to go to another doctor tomorrow to see what other procedure he needs to get fully back to fighting strength.  This sucketh the biggeth to say the least.  Bro and I figure he’ll never go skiing with us again – as the last time he skied with us he tore his achilles tendon.  That was last year in Europe. (check that trip out here)

Those Hamilton Bro's are dangerous to your health!

Are you shitting me @#$%^&!!!

We got Jim home and set him up as best we could, as we head out to Colorado tomorrow to ski the resorts in Summit County. Once done there we head down south for the resorts there.  We have been planning this trip for several years, and we are finally off and running – though we have had a bit of a rocky start. Jim was going to come and meet us in Colorado – but not now. Crap – we love ya Jimmy – sorry about the leg – but the skiing must go on.

Here are some more shot of Alta – including four pictures showing the panorama view from our parking spot. More pictures to come as the tip continues. Enjoy.

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The Snow Apocalypse Continues

The snow apocalypse has buried Kirkwoods backside.

Where’s the lift? Oh, it’s under the snow

The snow apocalypse has continued here in the Sierras.  Heavenly and Kirkwood have received over 120 inches of snow in the last week.  It has buried the resorts, and they’ve not been able to open lifts or terrain. Kirkwood’s backside has not been open for over 10 days and you can see why.  That picture is the loading point of lift 3 that takes you from the backside to the main lodge area.

 

 

 

 

Keep the snow apocalypse coming. We like it.

They had to dig out the chair path – whew!

Bro and I went to Heavenly yesterday and waited for over 1 1/2 hours for them to open the Stagecoach lift. This was the only lift they got open on the Nevada side.  They also only opened a couple lifts for the day on the California side. Heavenly received over 30 inches of snow overnight, so they were pounded. They had to dig out the lift chairs and the lift entries and exits in order to run the lifts.  Once we got on the hill though – well, it was awesome – for a while.

We were competing with a rash of hungry powder hounds to eat up the powder – so needless to say – it didn’t last long.  It only took 6 or 7 runs for all the powder to be gone.  So sad! We were hoping that they were going to open more lifts, but no go. An employee we rode up the lift with told us it was not going to happen – so we got what we could.

Bro and I are heading to Colorado at the end of February, so we’re hoping for the snow apocalypse to continue.  We want to have some awesome deep poo in Colorado-land so we’re saying our incantations, doing our dances and living the clean life. (well, sort of).

 

This is Why We Ski

Deep powder is why we ski.

Bro standing in the powder at Northbowl trees

The deep powder, snowy weather and limited numbers of people on the mountain over the last few days epitomize why we ski. Up to now, our ski adventures this year have left me uninspired. I’ve not written anything here even though we have been up 3 or 4 times. Why? Well, because it was kind of boring – but these last few days – good god almighty! G l o r i o u s.

Some people may question the sanity of anyone who enjoys going out in the freezing cold when it’s snowing buckets.  Not only that, but then these crazy people head to the top of a mountain.  Once there they hurtle themselves down steep slopes through waist deep snow, dodging trees and navigating gullies. Now I ask you – is that the action of a sane person? There are those who would say emphatically “No!” – but those in the know say – absolutely baby – this is why we ski!

Anyway – here’s the rundown of our last couple of days.  We went to Kirkwood on Thursday, as they had gotten 17 new inches of snow overnight.   The roads were slick as it was snowing like mad, so we took it slow and pulled into our favorite parking lot near lift 7.  We headed up and at the top we crossed over to the main lodge area. There were a lot of folks heading up lift 6 so we did something different and headed up lift 11.

Sometimes we be smart boys, as we practically had the place to ourselves.  We skied knee-deep plus snow for several hours, cutting new lines everywhere we went.  It was snowing so hard it was filling in our previous tracks so we had freshies the whole time. We would have kept going, but we had to refuel, and our aging thighs were complaining (at least bros were – so I had to take pity on him and go in.  Couldn’t let him go in alone right?)

Uncut snow in the trees is why we ski.

Look at that snow – so incredibly nice!

In the lodge, we were smiling so much it was hard to eat, but we managed and then headed back out.  We went up lift 11 a time or two more, and then headed up lift 6.  We cruised out just past Sentinel and skied in the trees there, through gullies and drop offs.  The snow was even deeper over there and it was wonderful. We did that a few times and then called it a day.

Over 12 inches of snow had accumulated on the the car. We had to brush that off, make sure Carson Pass was open, and off we went.  On the way home we decided we had to go the next day, as the snow was piling up and someone had to ski it.

Friday at Heavenly

The road to Kirkwood was closed on Friday due to snow, so we went to Heavenly.  An additional 16 inches had fallen overnight so we eagerly drove to the Stagecoach parking lot.  The lot was almost full even though it was early.  What the ????- where did all these people come from?  Doesn’t anyone work around here when it snows?

While rubbing our sore thighs, we decided to apply our “go where others aren’t” tactic.  Everyone was heading to the Dipper lift, so we went to the Northbowl trees. What a great decision. Thigh and waist deep powder, bouncing over the pillows of buried logs and stumps.  My god – THIS is why we ski. You dream of these conditions every time you go up, but really only get them once every few years. To have two days in a row of them – well what can I say… it was magnificent!

The snow is still falling now – so we are going to have to go again on Monday.  Our thighs should be recovered by then – so we can handle it.  Kirkwood got an additional 24 inches last night and by Monday they are supposed to have another couple of feet. Holy moly – this is a dream come true. This is why we ski – so we’re going to have to go as much as possible while it lasts.

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First Day Skiing 2016 – Day 1

First day skiing 2016 was a great time.

Heading up Tamarack First Day skiing 2016.

Yesterday was my first day skiing in the 2016/2017 season.  I didn’t make it up for opening day, but Bro Steve did.  It’s a tradition with us to make it on opening day, but I missed it by 4 days. A man has to work sometimes, ya know. Bro Steve doesn’t have that problem, as he’s “retarded” (retired), but us working folk can’t just always head out anytime we want.  So sad.

Anyway, we headed up to Heavenly and accessed the mountain via the gondola on the California side.  This is our least favorite access point, but the only one available this early in the season. We cruised on up and got on the Tamarack lift to the top.

Heavenly had received about 9 – 12 inches of snow the night before, so the hill was covered and looking pretty good.  They only had Tamarack and Dipper lifts open, but it looked promising to get the Comet Express lift open soon. They were making snow on that terrain all day,and it was looking ripe for opening.

Pretty good coverage for the first day skiing 2016.

Heading up the Dipper Express lift.

We cruised down Orion a few times, dodging the numerous people who were partaking of the soft and easy to ski snow.  We couldn’t really let our skis run, as there were to many people around. The threat of collision kept us well below mach speed – not our preferred method of descent.

Somewhere late morning, they opened the Big Dipper run, and we got right on it. The smooth and fast surface allowed us to open up the throttles and we blasted down.  My Blizzard Cochise skis are never happy unless they are going full throttle, and they were smiling after a few laps down that run.

We met a great couple on the lift who have a project to ski the best 100 ski resorts in North America.  They told us about the blog they write where they’re documenting this adventure.  They’re over half-way through this trek of skiing these 100 resorts.  They did 8 new ones last year – which is sweet. This is a great project and we told them of some of the trips we’d taken over the years.  We’ve covered lots of common ground. Check out their blog – skinorthamerica100.com -it’s well worth your time.

The lift lines were getting longer the more we skied, but what can you expect on a weekend day – right? After a rather long wait we decided we’d had enough, so we cruised down Tamarack and caught the gondola back down to the bottom.

Great day overall for my first day skiing 2016. The new snow was a great omen for a fantastic season – which we plan to take full advantage of.

Winter’s coming my friends!

Sierra Mountain Snow - Winter's coming.

Picture of the mountains from my backyard.

Winter’s coming my friends.  Check out the snow in the mountains today.  This is the third time we’ve had snow in the mountains this year – but this snow was more then just a light dusting.  It looks like a real snow, and it’s cold in the valley as well.

It’s happening!   Better get ready – because I’ve decided it’s going to be a great season – with lots of deep snow and numerous powder days to immerse yourself in. I can hardly wait.

Winter's coming to Kirkwood-3oct16

Picture of Kirkwood base from today.

Bring it on mother nature.  WE ARE READY!!!