Friday, March 7, 2008

One of these days it will be time to start climbing again.... but not YET!

Another amazing week has passed in a flash. Although I made some serious progress at school (really, a few chapters completed on my thesis), the week seemed more about lots and lots of turns, and most of them were even in pretty good snow.

It all started with a seriously miserable day in the mountains on Saturday, with some friends visiting from Seattle. As 80 mph gusts threatened to knock our sorry souls off the steep icy uptrack, conversation and morale were somewhat.... reduced. Things looked up when we found some recycled facets in a sheltered treed area which we sessioned for a few laps until the 4 cm/hr deluge of snow and graupel sent us scooting for the ski bus, wet, tired and ready for a hot toddy. On the upside, we were not terrorized by any moose on the ski out despite tracks and scat everywhere and reports of some unpleasant human-moose conflicts in the area recently.

Sunday was looking up, way up. 15 inches of Wasatch fluff and a mostly sunny day meant it was time to charge. Lap after lap on all kinds of terrain meant I racked up over 8000 vertical feet with my visiting buddies, you can check out a video (mediocre filming courtesy of yours truly) on youtube of one of our runs:

Monday was a short one since my friends were leaving town, but we managed to rake in some of the best turns of their trip and even managed to take advantage of the calm sunny conditions by eating a leisurely lunch on the ridge.

Friends from Seattle enjoying the Wasatch

Wednesday AM saw me on a solo "training" mission to see how close I could come to puking voluntarily in preparation for the Black Diamond Powder Keg race coming up in just over a week. I knew things were going sour when my ipod crapped the bed half way up my first lap... it's just hard for me to push myself when I am not listening to loud, angry music... call me crazy. While my time was far from fantastic, the skiing was truly great, which is what matters MUCH more to me anyways.

This morning it was time for the weekly ladies of the night (well, early morning I suppose) gathering to chat, gossip and yes, ski. Unfortunately the ranks are dwindling and it was just me and one other hardy soul in the Big Cottonwood Canyon parking lot at WAY TOO F-ING early in the morning. But we made the best of it, yelling our way up the uptrack and swooping our way down with not another soul in sight. Saw some serious glide cracks from afar that almost made these cute little Wasatch mountains look glaciated. Also noted some pretty generously sized surface hoar growing right up on the ridge tops that could make things interesting next time it snows.

Overall, not too bad of a week for a grad student. Except, now that it's the weekend I am ready for a rest day. Good thing I am teaching an avalanche course for Exum tonight and tomorrow. Standing around in a snow pit and some mellow touring feels right up my alley!

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