Back to the Depths

With 36 inches in the past two days, it was time for some deep skiing. John and I headed up Provo Canyon for the Aspen Grove Trailhead, unloaded his moon bike, and began the funnest tow yet up to the summit trailhead. No one had been up more than maybe half a mile, so after that we were breaking trail, and I got to make turns going uphill! It felt like I was water skiing.

Once we got the to the summit parking area, where the bathrooms were nearly buried with the snow depth, we tried to continue but were unable due to the snow depth, so John parked the moon bike and we started skinning. It’s about a 20 minute walk in before you really start gaining elevation. They had skied in the area the day before, but with around 6 inches overnight, and some wind loading, we had to break trail again.

We could still faintly see the old skin track, and it did make things easier because it gave us a firm base to work with. We skied what John calls UFO 5 and 6. They’re two gully’s/ small bowls just North of the 3 traditional UFO’s bowls.

On the way we up we were looking for any sings of instability, and only found cracking on the upper snow, and there was no propagation, no matter what we did. We dug a pit and did an Extended Column Test and the snow just compressed, there were no slabs. We were pleasantly surprised by the snow stability.

When we were nearly to the top of the ridge, we felt a little unsure about it, so we transitioned and skied our first lap, and WOW! Imagine flying, but rather than wind you have snow. It’s better. Better than flying. We effortlessly carved magical turns down the mountain. When I got to the bottom and looked up, I felt like a human paintbrush, with the whole face as my canvas.

We put our skins back on and walked up for a second lap. This time we went all the way up to the ridge which is a beautiful look out point to North Time, Utah Valley, Woolley Hole, etc. There had been a few small storm slabs over in that area.

The second lap was just as incredible. Magical even.

I used my Salomon X-Alps today, and they’re definitely slower in the deep snow, but I was super impressed with how fun and easy they still were to ski, with just 79 mm under foot. And they’re definitely easier to bring up the mountain. I found that it was hard to get my tips under the snow, which was interesting.

We’ve had a lot of really good ski days this year. We still hopefully will have many more. The forecasts are looking good.

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