Saturday, May 3, 2014

Living in Utah Has Its Privileges

May 3, 2014
I often tell people that a bad year in Utah is a better than a good year in Colorado.  This year would likely qualify as a bad year by Utah standards, with Alta reporting a seasonal snowfall of only 432 inches, well below the long-term average of 510 inches.  Nevertheless, Utah is where a bad year still means a 105" base on May 3rd. 

The skiing today was typical of a hot day in the spring.  Everything from terrifying hard pack to sublime corn to to manky slush depending on the aspect and the time of day.  High Rustler was still somewhat firm when we tempted fate on it a bit after 11.  Look carefully at the photo below and you can see the dust emerging on the south facing aspects on the far side of the canyon.  More on this in the near future.

Last Rustler run of the season.  Bon voyage mon ami.
In the early afternoon, it was quite hot.  Looks like a high of 56ºF at 9700 feet and 62ºF at the Alta base.  Clothing optional for some. 

Tomorrow looks warm with a bit more wind for Alta's closing day.  I suspect there will be more displays of plumage.


  1. You're 100% on this one!!

    I was up there Friday and, except for the late morning warm-up, it could have been mid-March except with only about 25 people on the hill. (I don't know the real number but was really, really lonely up there.)

    1. I'll follow-up a bit on that. I'm a 71 year old boarder and before we bought in Salt Lake City last spring we had spent a full three or four month winter in 7 different ski regions in 7 states. Utah was the first place that we repeated. Then we bought in Salt Lake City just down the hill a bit from Dr. Jim's office. The last place that we spent four months before Utah was Summit County, Colorado. That was a good snow year and I boarded lift-served at Breck, A-Basin, Vail, Copper, and Cooper for 115 days, plus some hike to stuff off area.

      Friday was the last day of my third consecutive season in the Wasatch. No mountain in Utah is my personal #1 or #2 -- 3 are in my personal top ten and 6 are in my personal top 20. In addition to the three full seasons, over the years there have been 3 other one week type trips to Wasatch plus one one-dayer on a carefully planned airport lay-over.

      I've also been on snow in the French Alps and in Argentina.

      Don't take any stuff from anybody about the quality of Utah snow and opportunities to ski or ride it!!

  2. Dr Jim, I was at Alta today, the snow was sticky and slow in the PM. Lots of gray dust on the pack....was that from the last big dust storm?