Day 24 Wed Feb 14. Alta 4000m vertical (61,900 total)

What a wonderful way to finish up.Could have had a ‘free’ day at Snowbasin, Snowbird or Park City, but found myself instead heading back to Alta for a 4th day at 50% off.  I think Denis Denuto said it best – ‘it’s the vibe’.  Mild in the valley but temps dropped climbing the canyon road and even a few snowflakes chasing each other approaching Alta.  After months of obsessing over forecasts, I barely glanced at todays.  Meant to be a small storm tonight into tomorrow but nothing much for today.

Hovering around freezing at the base but about 7 below up top – much like yesterday.  What was NOT like yesterday was the absence of sunshine and the strong presence of wind.  Snowed all day – light at first but steadily getting a bit heavier – but I would have no idea of how much of the snow that was blowing around was actually falling.  In not unusual fashion for pre-storm Alta, the mountain progressively shut down as the day went on, so missed the chance for a final run through ballroom.  After a couple of warm ups went through the gate to Cecret Saddle.  Had to negotiate steep bumps to get through the first bit and dropped lower than I should so ended up doing some touring across Cecret Lake.  Nice snow but not sure it was worth the effort.  What it did give me was a chance to take a better look at East Castle which I had contemplated yesterday.  Strangely enough, from a bit closer up it looked quite a bit steeper, and was already closed so didn’t have to make a real decision. 

After elevenses Cecret Saddle now closed and headed over toward Collins.  Going past the Mineral Basin saddle it sounded like a jet engine testing lab with snow blowing in all directions.  Tried a run through to Racecourse Saddle – flat and groomed up high but some nicer snow down low.  Collins Return now closed as well and not sure I would want to be anywhere near there anyway, so transfer tow back to Albion Base and up Supreme.  Nice run down Devils Elbow and Rock N Roll then cut left through a gate I had often though of checking out but never got around to it.  The area in here doesn’t seem to have a name but it was fantastic – low angle, soft snow, lots of dips and bumps and trees and FUN! 

In fact it was so much fun I ended up doing variations on the same run 6 times.  In between lunch came and went, the snowfall got a little heavier and my legs – while not being excessively challenged – progressively pleaded with me to call an end to the trip.  On the last run as I approached the bottom of Supreme they were shutting it down for the day, and as I’ve often done in the past, finished off the skiing for the trip with the meander back to Albion Base.

Spent the evening drinking the remnants of Cointreau, beer, wine and DOM (its tough I know) interspersed with some food and a half hearted start to the final packup.

 

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