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Utah LCC/BCC 2020-21 conditions, parking - Alta, Snowbird, Solitude, Brighton

Had a good day at Solitude and Brighton today together with @Tennessee , @Scribble , Bill, and Chris. It stayed colder than expected. But there were places with really good corn snow. Learned a lot about how much the aspect and wind can make a difference in the snow conditions both on groomers and off-piste.

Looks like it will be a little colder tomorrow, so may well end up a groomer day at Alta.
Seems pretty clear that it's going to snow later in the week, with Wednesday as the day with the most potential.

From OpenSnow as of April 11, 9:00pm MDT

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With a pretty stable forecast that has the most snow on Wed, I've booked a semi-private lesson with Arthur for April 14. Been a long time since Bill and I have had a powder lesson at Alta, although we've had a lesson in powder at other destination resorts in recent years.

From OpenSnow as of April 12, 9:00pm MDT

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Still hard to say exactly how much snow will fall at Alta in the next 24-48 hours. There were a few short bursts of snow while we were having dinner, but didn't add up to much. It was definitely colder today in LCC than yesterday. Very little softened given the cloud cover so it was pretty much a groomer day.

From OpenSnow as of April 13, 9:00pm MDT

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Looks like this will be more of a daytime storm. Nothing much until 2am and only 2 inches officially so far. Just starting to snow heavily as of 7am MDT. This is the type of storm that makes LCC/BCC very different in April from nearby Parley's Canyon (Park City, Deer Valley) or the Ogden Valley mountains (Snowbasin, Powder Mountain). Alta's last day for 7-day operations is April 18. Snowbird is on private land and will stay open longer, but will start shutting down lifts given lack of interest and spring skiing conditions. Baby Thunder is already closed.

I don't bother to check the links on the bottom of the Alta weather webpage except when I'm actually going to ski Alta/Snowbird.


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Cottonwood Canyons Forecast:

This forecast, issued April 14, 2021 at 3:54 am is for use in snow safety activities and emergency management.

WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY IN EFFECT UNTIL MIDNIGHT. A slow moving system will bring snow showers to the Cottonwood and Provo Canyons through the day...tapering off late tonight. Peak rates near 2"/hr are possible in heavier snow showers through this evening for the Cottonwood Canyons. A few lightning strikes cannot be ruled out.

From NOAA 7-Day Forecast for Alta:
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Fair to say that the last week of 7-day operations at Alta has turned out to be quite snowy. Looking back at the forecast early in the week, could have been only a few inches before Wed, April 14. As of this morning, Thu, April 15, the storm total is already 20 inches, with more expected in the next 36-48 hours. Doesn't clear up or warm up until the weekend.

However, given the sun yesterday afternoon, I may well stick more to groomers today when visibility is poor as the snow continues. The snow was pretty chopped up and heavy during my last run on the Collins side yesterday afternoon. After checking out Stone Crusher, I opted to finish on Nina's Curve instead my usual jaunt to check out the status of Lower Rustler.

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I took a private lesson today (at Brighton.) I needed some work in varied terrain and it was the perfect day for it! I was there in the afternoon, and though it snowed all day it was chopped up and bumpy.
We started out on the Crest side and worked our way over to Snake Creek, skied some trees and chop for a couple of runs, then rode Crest up and took Wren Hollow over to Milly. We skied devil's dip and a chute (2?) on the Milly side until my legs were just about dead, then made our way back over to Crest for one last run down Spearmint.
I've had some trouble with freezing up in the bumps, so we worked on figuring out which situations were triggering me. It was particularly bad when I'd scrape the top of an icy mogul under the snow. Brains. :crazy:

My instructor had me try a new technique: I was to narrarate the entire run as I skied it, calling ahead the thing I was about to do so I was always talking about my next move. It must have sounded goofy to bystanders, but it really kept me going! "Flat skis and swish, ride up to the top of that bump then flat skis and swish down and up that bump and hop into the groove then quick turn around the tall bump and onto that wide bump and flat skis into the trough..."
It was nuts, but it really helped keep me moving through the rough spots.

I'll be at Brighton on Sunday to ski a few runs in the morning before the closing day chaos gets going. I still have a free day at Snowbird, so I'll probably try to use that next weekend. After that it'll be time for me to break out the hiking boots!
The storm total on the Alta website is 27 inches as of 10pm MDT on April 15. Wow! :snow:

More to come in the next 24-48 hours apparently. Closing Weekend is going to be amazing.

From OpenSnow as of April 15, 9:00pm MDT

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It's been snowing like crazy at my house even though its too warm to stick for long. Its gotta be a wonderland up the hill! I'm trying to talk DH into playing hooky this afternoon and skiing for a couple of hours, but I honestly think my legs would fall off.
Only the Wildcat parking lot filled up yesterday, April 15, because of the powder storm. There was a line at Collins all morning. Today, while there were people obviously enjoying first tracks on Ballroom, on the Backside, and in Catherine's there was no issue with parking. Only took about 5 min to load Collins after getting in line about 9:25.

Devil's Castle didn't open today. Likely to open on April 16, along with East Castle.

Catherine's was good fun in the afternoon. Also heard that it was great in the morning.
Fair to say that there was good snow conditions at Alta during the last two weeks of 7-day operations. Snow coverage is on the low side due to less than average snowfall in Jan-Feb. But more then enough for plenty of fun off-piste.

The fresh snow April 6-7 didn't last that long. Pretty much normal for April. But the storm April 14-16 came together with relatively cold temps for late season. That's meant a lot time for deep powder turns for those who like that sort of skiing. The groomers are a lot nicer now than a few days ago with a deep layer of fresh snow. The official storm total is 28 inches.

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A powder storm in April for LCC/BCC is not that unusual. What was different is that not only did the storm linger for a few days, it stayed relatively cold in the daytime. So even when the sun came out briefly in the afternoons, not that much snow changed from powder. Of course, still helps a lot to know where to look for deep powder turns for those up for getting off the groomers. The groomers stayed nice since there aren't many people around, so the snow doesn't build up into big piles.

For brief periods, the rate of snowfall was well over 2 inches an hour at Alta/Snowbird.

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Devil's Castle didn't open today. Likely to open on April 16, along with East Castle.
Devil's Castle and East Castle opened this morning, April 17. Was probably around 10:30 or 11:00. By 2:00 the snow on the lower section was already not the best according to Bill. AY and I went all the way over to Castle Apron and found snow that was still pretty much powder.

In mid-April, while there are still people willing to hike for powder turns, it takes a bit longer for areas that require hiking to get completely tracked out. Looking over into Mineral Basin on the way to the Collins side, that looked completely tracked out.
Doesn't apply to this season, but for those reading who are thinking about Alta for the 2021-22 season, Alta is going to start season pass sales on May 3. There are clearly some changes planned for next season related to Ikon and parking.

Alta passholders have access to the following perks:
•Weekend & holiday parking reservation benefits
•New Family & Friends benefits
•50% off day tickets at 26 partner resorts
•$269 Ikon Base add-on
•Peace-of-Mind Purchasing

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