Today my roommate Kyle and I headed up to Aspen Grove for some good skiing in the Bob’s Nob area. The Utah Avalanche Center had forecasted considerable avalanche danger due to wind loading, so we knew we needed to stick to wind protected areas.
When we were skinning up the wind was blowing pretty good, and we quickly realized we had underdressed for the occasion. Even though the temperatures weren’t terrible, with the cold wind and snow coming in, it made the “feels like” temperature in the teens.
My hope was that we could ski the far North ridge of of Bob’s proper, right by the trees. We skinned up there, and I skied right along the wind loaded area where it was low angle, just to test propagation, and sure enough the whole thing slid. This made me feel uncomfortable skiing down the North ridge and so we skinned back down the low angle by the skin track.
The snow skied fast today and so even the really low angle terrain as low as 15 degrees was still really fun to ski. We then transitioned and skid two laps on the lower part of Bob’s Bowl. The first few turns were wind loaded and hard, but once we were lower in the bowl the skiing was really good. Still soft and deep.
The exit was the best it’s been. We basically just cut back along the bottom of the East face of bob’s and then down the south face to the road. The south facing was soft and surfy and really fun to ski.
Every time I’m up in this area, I’m amazed at the snow depth. Storm totals ended up being as high as 80 inches in the Provo mountains. Adding another huge storm to this already incredible season. And more is on the way, potentially a lot more.
At this point I’ve stopped checking the forecast as frequently, because every time I do I see snow. I no longer have to wonder, it always delivers. Remarkable.
It is important to note that March is the highest average snowfall month, so in the next 30 days we could see a lot of snow come in. What’s super awesome is that now we’re at a point in the season where avalanche danger seems to stabilize more quickly than other parts. We’re also at a point where the depth is so good that we can ski pretty much anything without having to worry about hitting logs, or rocks, and there are even some slopes that would normally be impossible to ski, that are completely reasonable. We’ve gone from hitting logs and rocks, to hitting the tops of trees that are fully buried.
The bathroom at the campground just past the Aspen Grove gate is almost completely invisible now. Only the upper 6 or so inches below the roof are visible. The stop signs are completely buried. Normally at this point in the year we start to have a few warm days in the valley. Some 50’s, maybe even 60’s. The trails often start drying out and people start pulling out the bikes more and more.
But in Provo the forecast is cold, and snowy. With average highs in the mid 30’s and low’s in the mid 20’s it may as well still be the middle of January. For me this means I’m delaying my bike racing season. If my first race ends up being the Crusher in the Tushar at the beginning of July because the winter keeps going, I’m okay with that. This isn’t a winter to miss because of bike racing. It’s a winter to maximize, because who knows how long it will be before we have another one like it.
This is the winter I’ll tell my kids about.