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TR for mostly Alta, April 6-23

marzNC

Angel Diva
Even thought there was no skiing yesterday, April 13, because Alta never opened, I had a very good time. What happens when people are stuck at Alta Lodge (AL) with no lifts running is that there are people to do a jigsaw puzzle with, play board games with, or just chat with. Small groups went out for walks after the snow stopped so there was decent visibility. Alta Lodge always serves lunch a la cart, so no worries about food.

Made new friends. A family staying at AL for the first time turned out to leave 30 minutes from me in North Carolina. The kids had only skied in VA or NC before the trip.

Went for a walk with a small group in the afternoon. One of the families are long time Alta regulars and gave us a tour of the Powder Ridge condo complex that's easy to reach walking on snow. Walking on the road is not permitted when the road is closed. The hardest part was getting down the AL hill because the surface was frozen groomer tracks with a dusting of snow on top. It was easier to walk on the ungroomed section. Using ski poles as trekking poles was a good idea too.

Alta groomer lowered the snow level while it was still warm near the snow steps going to the AL walkway
Alta frozen walk 14Apr2023 - 1.jpeg

Deep snow on roofs was sliding like a mini-glacier during the warm days April 9-13
Alta frozen walk 14Apr2023 - 2.jpeg
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
My friend from NC, JF, and @BReeves215 made it to Alta this morning. Their trip got postponed a few days because of the road closure. JF has great luck with snowstorms. Even though it wasn't expected, it snowed on the lower mountain all afternoon. Sunnyside groomers had the best snow after lunch. There were opportunities to make fresh tracks in what seemed to be 2-3 inches of light powder. It snowed less on the upper mountain, plus the steeper slopes didn't hold the new snow that well because of the frozen layer underneath once the groomed surface was skied off.

Snowing at Alf's (mid-mountain, base of Sugarloaf and Supreme lifts) around 2:30pm
Alta Alfs snow 14Apr2023 - 1.jpeg
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
Saturday, April 15 was a blue sky spring skiing day at Alta. There was good snow to be found all day long. Devil's Castle, Yellow Trail, Ballroom were all open. I did an adventure run going out the Cecret Saddle gate after talking with a long time Alta skier on a lift ride. That was that great but getting into the Yellow Bear area was fun. The snow was soft but not mushy in the mid-afternoon in those trees with temps not over 40.

There were plenty of slick spots on groomers in the afternoon. By then, the Collins groomers seemed better than off Sugarloaf. That's fairly typical.

The Alta Earth Day event at the Wildcat base included two tents with demo skis. DPS was the only brand plus a local ski shop brought some skis. Learned that REI has a ski trade in program, but only at stores that sell skis.

The official snow total for April 14 was 2 inches.

Early morning footprints on Alta Lodge deck
Alta 15Apr2023 - 1.jpeg
Alta Earth Day, April 15
Alta 15Apr2023 - 2.jpeg

Snow boulders viewed from groomed trail on Saddle
Alta 15Apr2023 - 3.jpeg
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
Sunday, April 16 was a wonderful day of spring skiing from start to finish. There was a risk that the road would close at 11:00 or 12:00 and stay closed until the evening, but that didn't happen. Highs were in the 30s or low 40s depending on the elevation.

@BReeves215 and JF were out early. I was waiting for classmates who were staying in SLC to take them over to Sunnyside. Collins groomers were great mid-morning. Sugarloaf terrain was good until 3:00 or so. Except for Wildcat terrain, I think everything was open off Collins. I had a great last run around 4:30 down Race Course into Saddle, and then down Lower Rustler. Quite a few people finished on High Rustler around that time.

JF and I did a semi-private lesson with Arthur Haskell. Arthur is from where we live in NC. I've been working with him since 2014. Jing has also has lessons with him. We caught good snow, including some corn snow, by starting at 12:30 instead of 1:30 since he didn't have a morning lesson. Per usual, I learned a lot doing a lesson with an intermediate who is good about asking questions.

Sunnyside groomers were perfect 11:00-12:00 when I was giving a tour to my classmates. They had been skiing off Sugarloaf the previous couple of days. Since they have not been skiing much in recent years, they were curious about the transfer tow and wanted to take it easier to warm up. Bottom line is that Alta is a great place for beginners and intermediates, especially in good spring conditions under a blue sky.

BReeves, JF heading out from Alta Lodge locker room (view from the window of my room)
Alta Lodge AM 16Apr2023 - 1.jpeg

Collins groomers, view from Watson's Grill, Mount Baldy in the background, 10:30am
Alta Meadow 10-30am 16Apr2023 - 1.jpeg
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
The weather in LCC starting at 6pm on April 15 seemed to be the optimal temperature range for a great day of spring skiing on April 16 in terrain fun for all levels of skiers. Even so, felt like there were fewer cars in the parking lot since it was Sunday and there was a midday road closure announced the day before that meant staying in LCC until 7pm.

There was a bit of an inversion so the top of Collins was a little warmer than mid-mountain overnight. It was in the 20's all over so there was a hard freeze. The sun was out all day and there was essentially no wind. Temps got into the high 40s but not until late morning. That meant there was a period of time for "corn snow" that lasted for more than 15 minutes. Felt like it lasted for an hour or so off Sugarloaf.

I heard from @BReeves215 that the blue groomers were great first thing in the morning when lifts opened at 9:15.

I had a great time with a couple North Country School classmates on Sunnyside from 10:00-11:30. They had been skiing Sugarloaf for a couple days with another classmate who knows Alta very well and wanted to check out the transfer tow and easier groomers for warming up on their last ski day. Neither has been skiing big mountains as adults so they were a bit in tourist mode. Since there was, and still is, a rope tow on the ski hill at NCS, taking the transfer tow was easy for all four of my NCS classmates who came to the annual gathering at Alta Lodge for the first time.

Sunnyside groomers were still good at 4:00. Terrain in Devil's Castle, the Backside, Ballroom, and off the High T still had plenty of skiers who were riding Collins after 4:00 until last chair. Quite a few planned for a last run from the top of High Rustler.

I could finish on Lower Rustler for the first time this trip. It hasn't been opened much in the last week. The bumps aren't very big yet. The snow was soft and fun, instead of mushy.

April 16, 2023, starting at 6am
Screen Shot 2023-04-17 at 6.15.43 AM.png
 
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marzNC

Angel Diva
The lesson I had set up late on Saturday for Sunday afternoon with Arthur Haskell was supposed to start at 1:30. It was a semi-private lesson for me and JF. She's had lessons with Arthur before and has become a solid intermediate based on lessons at Massanutten and Alta in the last decade. She started to learn to ski at Massanutten at the same time as her kids. I've worked with Arthur since 2014 but don't always have a lesson with him during my April trip.

In the morning after he drove up to Alta, Arthur asked if we could start at 12:30 since he didn't have a morning lesson. Starting early meant we skied the best snow of the day off Sugarloaf and it was worth extending to a 3-hour lesson. We still finished at 3:30 so I still had time for off-piste skiing off Collins in very good spring conditions. (Sunnyside and Collins close at 4:30.)

We worked on fundamentals geared towards helping JF make narrower turns and for me to get better at making good fully parallel turns on steeper terrain. Both of us get into a "holding" state on steeper terrain but at completely different sections of a turn. I always learned a great deal when having a lesson with people who are at a different ability level, especially when they are a friend so we can discuss the lesson and practice together later on.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
Didn't snow much at all overnight. But enough to make the groomers reasonable this morning. Best on Sunnyside greens.

Started snowing steadily after lunch at Alta today. I opted to mostly ski Sunnyside with old and new ski buddies because it wasn't worth dealing with low visibility and the wind on Sugarloaf. Heard that the skiing was good off Sugarloaf and Collins though.

Got plenty of fresh powder tracks on Patsy Marley (green) in the last hour (3:20-4:20). Took a look at Blue Bell (blue) mid-afternoon and that was a mistake because it's steeper and gets a lot of wind. Was dust on ice. So I cut back to the green that goes to Home Run before heading to Alf's for a break.

Looking forward to tomorrow morning!
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
There was a period of thundersnow today right around lunch time. The lifts were halted for about 40 minutes. Pretty clear that @AltaAlerts is a good way to stay aware of unexpected changes. Afterwards it seemed to be clearing up. But then new clouds rolled in and it started snowing heavily, including some graupel. Graupel is fun to ski on, unlike hail.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
I did quite a few "adventure runs" with Bill this morning before the sun baked the snow. The air temperature was in the 20s, but the sun was very strong. During breakfast it was spitting snow and cloudy. But by 8:30, it was clearing fast. It was sunny all day.

There were only a few people waiting at Collins by 9:00. Only took five minutes to clear the maze after the lift opened at 9:15. The surprise was that Wildcat opened too.

Ballroom was open first thing in the morning so Bill and I did it twice. The first run we didn't pick the best line so found bottom too easily since there was only 5 inches of new snow. I popped off a ski. The fall wasn't an issue. Took a little while to realize it had traveled straight down.

In the late morning we did Glory Gulch and Chartreuse with a friend from the alumni group who stayed a few extra days. The snow was okay but not good enough to repeat. The friend is about ten years older than Bill. His home mountain is Mt. Baker. I think Bill may have a new role model. He's the boyfriend of an alumnae who is in her 80s and enjoying skiing groomers.

The most fun was getting into Yellow Bear from the gate just below Rock N Roll. Also did a run in there from the next gate lower down.

In the afternoon, there was not much reason to ski off-piste. Terrain off the High-T and the Backside were empty around 3:00 when we rode up Collins to head to Sugarloaf for a few more runs after a late lunch at Alta Lodge. A friend flew into SLC today, so I wanted to be around when she got to Alta Lodge since it's her first experience at Alta.

Did a final run down 180 (just past Lower Rustler) that was more fun than I expected. I'd followed an instructor with a group of four men earlier in the day. I learned about 180 from my instructor several years ago.

Overall, a fun day.

Collins lift line at 9:00am (lifts open at 9:15)
Alta 19Apr2023 - 1.jpeg

Wayward ski on easier section of Ballroom, first thing in the morning
Alta 19Apr2023 - 2.jpeg

Glory Hole with LOTS of snow, so not as much of a gulch
Bill being followed by the older man from Bellingham, WA
Alta 19Apr2023 - 3.jpeg
 
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marzNC

Angel Diva
With all the snow in Utah this season, several mountains extended their season. Alta Lifts decided to have full operations until April 23 before the season started.

Screen Shot 2023-04-20 at 5.29.17 PM.jpg
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
Yesterday and today, April 20-21, were good ski days if you didn't mind low visibility, some wind, and knew where to look for places where the new snow wasn't blowing off the surface. @Scribble , Bill, and I had a good time in Cabin Hill, Yellow Bear, and Aggie's Alley.

Apparently the reason Wildcat wasn't running for a while was a maintenance issue. We did an adventure run going fairly far out. There was enough avy debris that there wasn't any reason to repeat.

We've heard that originally Supreme wasn't going to close early. But with the combination of too much snow, warm temps causing wet slides all over the place, and limited staff due to road closures, the decision was made to make April 9 the last day for Supreme for 2022-23. Ski patrol has had a long and complicated season. It takes a lot of effort that to keep Supreme terrain open given that part of it is can be at risk from snow on East Castle, Castle Apron, and Devil's Castle.

Spring skiing at Alta in April is fun for me because I come with no real expectations. Usually there is at least one powder day. This time was pretty different but we are ending with powder days and relatively few people on the slopes. That's meant a fun stay at Alta Lodge, especially since Bill and I have had lots of friends coming and going.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
My last day at Alta and last ski day of the season was April 22. It was a cold powder day! There was 6 inches of fresh snow in the morning on top of the 5-8 inches from the previous few days. The steeper terrain didn’t hold the snow that well, but there were plenty of places for first tracks if you knew where to go. Probably one of the best final days I’ve ever had during late season since that became my spring destination about 15 years ago.

There was very little visibility on the upper mountain for both Collins and Sugarloaf most of the day due to clouds and dense fog. Ended up taking an early lunch/snack break around 11:00 at Alf’s. Got to meet a few other folks who are in the Wild Old Bunch. Did a couple fun runs in the trees off the Summer Road for the first time with @Scribble and @Chuyi in the early afternoon. Headed into Cabin Hill the most often. It finally started clearing up around 3:00. I finished up the day skiing solo so I could take my time and take some pictures.

Tracks under Sugarloaf about 10am
The Zeldas (106mm) were helpful, Bill used his usual skis
Alta last snow 22Apr2023 - 1.jpeg

Met the Wild Old Bunch man from the midwest with the vest with "800+"
Alta Wild Old Bunch Apr2023 - 1.jpeg

Cabin Hill had plenty of untracked areas
Alta last snow 22Apr2023 - 2.jpegAlta last snow 22Apr2023 - 3.jpeg
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
How many days do you have now @marzNC ?
I managed to get 49 out west taking four trips (Dec, early Feb, early Mar, first half of Apr). Plus 10 in VA/WV (Jan), mostly at my home hill, Massanutten. I take full advantage of being retired and having ski/travel buddies who can also do trips that are 1-2 weeks long. Didn't start taking more than one trip out west until ten years ago (after age 55).

I used my Full Ikon pass at enough resorts to get my per day cost down to $38 per day.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
Given that Bill, my daughter, and I opted to be stuck at Alta Lodge during the extended road closure April 10-14 instead of staying in SLC, we saw various signs posted on the doors that lead out of the lobby. Any major updates were also announced in the lobby. We weren't there for any Interlodge periods but SR210 was closed more than once during my stay.

We drove up early on Saturday morning, April 9, when the road was open 6am-9am. Also turned out to be the last day that the Supreme lift was running. A few friends who flew into SLC that day were also able to get an Alta Shuttle ride to Alta Lodge either Sunday late evening or early on Monday morning before the road closed at 9am. Those periods were for downhill traffic and restricted uphill traffic, which includes guests with confirmed lodging reservations and critical employees. Employees going uphill are vetted to make sure they are on a relevant list. There was plenty of warning that the road would remain closed for several days at least due to the high risk of wet slides.

My daughter was taking her first ski vacation as a young adult with a full-time job. It was a good thing she had built in some flex into her vacation schedule. Instead of flying home on April 13 as planned, she left on Saturday, April 15. She didn't need to be back to work until April 17. We booked the alternate Southwest flight on April 10 when it was fairly obvious that Alta Shuttle wouldn't be able to pick up anyone in LCC that Thursday morning. There weren't many options left at the lowest fare category Friday, Saturday, or Sunday and those weren't cheap. Needless to say, she wasn't too sad to have an extra day of skiing and more time with old friends.

The very first time I took her to Alta Lodge in April 2008, we had to adjust our shuttle departure schedule because of a midday road closure from 11:00am-2:00pm. I learned early on to expect the unexpected during a late season trip to LCC.

April 11, 2023

Alta Lodge signs related to road and tow closures
Alta road closed signs Apr2023 - 1.jpegAlta road closed signs Apr2023 - 2.jpegAlta road closed signs Apr2023 - 4.jpeg
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
At the beginning of the warm week on April 10, it was obvious there was a lot more snow at Alta compared to a normal winter. The handle tow wasn't running because it was so buried. Alta Lifts was using a Ranger ATV to provide a ride up the hill during lunch time since the Alta Lodge dining room is open to anyone for lunch. But in the afternoon it was hit or miss if the liftie driver was around. Most of the time April 9-12 people were hiking up. While the temps in the 50s weren't great for the road or the skiing, it did help melt enough snow that the tow was running again starting April 14.

With limited staff, the chairlifts to the Rustler and Snowpine weren't running either April 10-12. All the lodge lifts are owned, maintained, and operated by Alta Lift Co., not the lodges.

The Rustler Lodge closed a week early instead of staying open until Alta Closing Day. Employees had to move out too. The Snowpine closed for two weeks. Then re-opened since it's open year round. It seemed as if the Peruvian also closed early. Alta Lodge and Goldminer's Daughter stayed open until April 23, as planned at the start of the season.

Deep snow before the hot weather April 10-12
Alta Lodge deep snow 10Apr2023 - 1.jpegAlta Lodge deep snow 10Apr2023 - 2.jpeg
Alta Lifts ATV 10Apr2023 - 1.jpeg
 

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