Alone again, naturally …
Had a tear in my eye as I bid Trevor farewell a bit after 6 this morning – actually had a tear in the eye, a drip in the nose and a pain in the head, as the cold that’s been threatening the last few days seems to finally getting underway. Oh well. Driving out of Idaho Falls in the dark in freezing fog I was SO thankful the road was clear of snow – if it was covered I would have been doing about 10mph. Even once the light started coming up visibility really didn’t improve. Stopped to gas up in Arco and the pump had little icicles on it from the fog. It was bitterly cold!
Then just past the Craters of the Moon National Monument entrance broke out of the fog into a brilliant sunny morning with absolutely everything under snow. Much faster run from here to Hailey then on to the base of the hill at Ketchum. Particularly after Park City I had set my expectations very low for a day here – really just want to check it out as it’s another hill in the mountain collective group so won’t be setting me back anything. Parked at the Warm Springs base and pass pickup was quite quick then it was up a 900 m vertical chair ride.
Absolutely gob-smacking views from the top as you have virtually 360 degree panorama around you. Talking to one of the customer service people there he said people often find it a bit intimidating. Now there’s an old bit of skiing advice that you should always start with an easy run at a new hill and work your way up as every hill is different, but of course we often head straight for an intermediate run to warm up. Doing that here could be problematic. I have never skied so many green runs that required so much constant edge control to keep your speed in check.
Very firm underfoot – though not as bad as Park City – and feeling not at my peak I took it pretty gingerly. The first blue run I did had me hanging on for grim death and would have been close to a black rating at most hills. Then decided to drop into the south facing Christmas Ridge which while having a pretty consistent pitch was MUCH softer and ungroomed and provided far superior skiing. From there down a similar pitch lower Christmas Bowl. Headed over to check out Seattle Ridge but although being largely green and relatively cruisy it was again very firm, so after a SLOW ride up to the summit – and more jaw dropping views – did one more run down Christmas Ridge before doing the full 900m descent down to Warm Springs base. Only did about 3 hours but was worth it for the views alone.
As a little aside, have been skiing with my backup gloves today. Trevor and I were discussing the very deep footprints that just stopped suddenly under one of the chairs yesterday and decided it was someone retrieving a glove or some such. So of course shortly after I dropped one of mine off a different chair. They’re cheap gloves and the effort involved in retrieving it would have meant about an hour wasted, so farewell to that. Someone is going to be able to open a glove shop in the spring – I was NOT the only one to have done this.
Grabbed a coffee in Ketchum then back to Hailey to check in to the motel and do boring stuff like washing and shopping. Have now locked in the last few nights accommodation – absolutely no chance of snow in the forecast (or for much of February if you believe long term forecasts!) so will actually be hoping that things warm up enough to get a bit of spring-like skiing.
Have now got photos from Arches up and will hopefully get back up to date tomorrow night.