Sorry I've missed my weekly posting schedule. I haven't been inside much other than to catch up on the day's events, check the weather forecasts, eat, and sleep. A week-long storm cycle with 5 feet of snow and 60 mph winds can do that. Colin, David, and I are going on 2 weeks straight (12-14 hour days at that), In fact most of our crew has been working many days of OT trying to (literally) stay on top of things.
The resort finally looks like a ski mountain and conditions are just unreal. Patrollers and locals alike have had more good powder days in a row than many of us can remember. Of course when this much snow falls on a week, shallow pack, avalanche conditions are prime. We have pulled out some monster slides since this cycle started.
This picture is of Connor (not a small guy) standing below the crown of the Dead Tree slide on Jupiter Peak's West Face. Avalanches this size have been triggered by all the resorts and are going off in the Wasatch backcountry as well. These slides are very sensitive and not survivable. Yesterday the storms finally broke and today was clear and beautiful. Sure enough, when the storms end people start hiking and skiing outside the resorts. I'm sad to say the second backcountry fatality of the year occurred yesterday in Big Cottonwood Canyon above Silver Fork. The Utah Avalanche Center has a report on their website. As the weekend will be sunny, I can say with grim confidence that there will be more accidents. Please take a little advice, this is not the weekend to challenge the snow dragons; stick to conservative lines.
Yesterday we made an attempt to open Lower Pinecone Ridge for the first time this season. We triggered some more very large slides (just take a ride on Motherlode Lift for the full view) while some other paths that we thought should slide did not. This left us with that little voice in our guts that said things were just not right. We let the area sit with the thought that things will either get more sensitive and predictable, or heal up. Tomorrow we'll be out again at sunrise (day 14) to try to get it open again. Nothing is better than a cold sunny January day hiking and riding Pinecone, I hope we succeed.
Originally from the Pocono’s of Pennsylvania, Travis found his way to Park City three years ago and is now our grooming manager. When not in snowcat you can find him skiing or snowmobiling in the Utah backcountry or enjoying the skiing here at Park City Mountain Resort.