Saturday, October 28, 2006

First of the Season

This morning was the first dawn patrol of the season. Matt and I met at 5:00 AM and headed up to Alta to do a bit of preseason skiing. While we were driving up we were both questioning why we had gotten up so early to go and ski what could possibly be meager conditions.

The morning was very clear and dark. There was no moon, only the stars lit the sky. After booting up we hit the skin track in blue-ish glow of our headlamps. Neither of us really knew where we were heading. We starting heading up what would normally be a groomed run during the open season. After a short while we hit a fork in the track. We headed right and up towards a bald knoll not too far off. The skin track was steep and icy. It was hard to get purchase with the skins. We reached the top right as the greenish glow of dawn was creeping up over the surrounding mountains. We pulled off our skins in the pre-sunrise light. We dug a couple of snow pits to look at the profile of the snow. We had about 12 inches of fluff on top of about 2 inches of suncrust that was the "base" before you hit bare ground.

Matt rolled off the knoll first punching out smooth tele turns on skiers right. After stopping partway down, it was my turn to go. I headed skiers left to a short steeper shot about 3 turns long before turning onto the gentler slope and carving easy turns in the smooth snow. We found the shallow snowpack somewhat painful and you feel small granite rocks grind into the base of our skis. With a few whoops and some more good turns we were down the flat and a small creek crossing. We popped the skis off and made a few slick steps across the creek to the other side. We both ended up putting a foot in the water. It was far better to have a foot then the whole body.

It may have been a very short tour, an even shorter run, but it was definitely a good time. The snow, although shallow, made for some excellent turns. It definitely fueled the fire for winter to come.


The Millers said...

You'll get an even better workout carrying a baby up the mountain. :)

climbinskier said...

I can't wait, it will be fun!