Jan 26 2010

Back in the USSA

Was it all just a dream or water on my lens - Snowwater

Was it all just a dream or water on my lens - Snowwater 2010

In case you somehow managed to miss the news, there were some big snow totals in the US last week. For me the rumors started when I was up in Canada when Erik Roner, one of the Rossignol athletes also at Snowwater, said something about Tahoe getting a huge storm with 200 mph winds! It turned out he was talking about the jet stream but still quite impressive and as soon as I got home the calls started coming in from my friend Mark who lives in Reno and patronizes Northstar (on windy days) and Squaw on a regular basis. Mark likes to tell how they predict the anticipated storm totals in California in feet as opposed to inches here in Colorado.

At Chair 5 in Vail with several hundred of my closest friends

At Chair 5 in Vail with several hundred of my closest friends

Sure enough Squaw called at least a foot a day on the upper mountain for 6 days in a row and soon reports from friends in Utah started telling similar tales with Snowbird accumulating 88” in 7 days. Normally, when it’s dumping like this in a southern storm track I’m headed to Wolf Creek (67” for the week) but having just spent a week away in Canada I needed to tend to the home fires so a road trip was out of the question. Fortunately for me though, after getting skunked for weeks, Vail pulled one out of the hat on Monday for my viewing and riding pleasure.

Big trees and soft snow in the Windows at Vail

Big trees and soft snow in the Windows at Vail

A while back I posted a blog about Vail’s cloud seeding program. Now while there’s still no scientific proof that it works how else can you explain Monday morning’s snow report when its’ neighbor to the west, Beaver Creek called 4” in 48 hours, it neighbor to the east, Copper Mountain called 6” and Vail in the middle called 19”. You could attribute it to inflated snow totals except I was lucky enough to be there and no, they weren’t exaggerating. Of course, I wasn’t the only one checking the snow report as the picture two above can testify.

and some Aspen groves for variety

and even some Aspen groves for variety

I have a typical love/hate relationship with Vail Mountain. I love that it’s huge, gets lots of snow, has great tree and bowl skiing and with all the high speed quads you get a lot of riding in a day there. I hate that it’s so expensive ($25 a day for parking), gets unbelievable crowds, and sometimes feels like a total rat race just to get a few untracked lines. Monday, fortunately was one of those feel the love days as while there were still quite a few people on the mountain, there was great snow everywhere and after a while people went home and left lots of goodies for those of us who stayed. I played in the trees for as long as I could and was rewarded with run after run of untracked sweetness and even the shots on the open slopes were far from ravaged. It was a day that reminded me of why I go to Vail in the first place – because when it’s good, it can be very, very good…

O Canada
All hail Valhalla!
Now that’s more like it!
Getting better all the time
Should I stay or should I go…
Better late than never…
You can get it at Costco???
The fast is over!
El Nino?
So that’s their secret
Like I needed more encouragement…
Not quite yet…
It’s Miller Time
Can you feel it coming?
Well worth the hike…
I can see for miles and miles…
BC Fun
Over the river and into the woods