Saturday, January 09, 2010

El Nino Sucks If You're a Skier

Snowfall at Utah resorts is 100 - 130 inches below normal for this time of year, but 100 inches below a 250 inch normal is still a lot of schnee. I skied Snowbasin yesterday with my host, Gary, and you couldn't go off the groomers. Looked like early November. All the little drainage gulches on Strawberry that Andrew and Ted and I have explored in snorkel powder during better years were full of brush, and even tall grass in some places.

I did manage, by a fluke, to get a really fun powder day at Powder Mtn earlier this week. Powder's Paradise Chair, which roughly bisects the mountain and has some of Powder's best steeps, had been closed since the last big powder dump due to mechanical issues. In the ensuing days it had remained cold, so the snow was still deep and pretty good, a little heavy but not crusty. I just happened to show up to hike James Peak on the morning they got Paradise working, and the mountain was pretty much deserted, so I got 8 or 10 nice pow runs in before the place got socked in by a windblown snowstorm. Those Scott P4 super-fatties I keep here in Utah cut through anything. It was pretty rocky and stumpy underneath the knee-deep pow, so I did gouge up the P4s a bit. I'll get a quick tune on them - maybe today.

Austria, on the other hand, is hosed as far as skiing is concerned. I Skyped with Roman The Roamin' Roman last night from the womens DH in Haus im Enstal, who told me the mountain has only 5cm of snow and the race track is 100% man-made snow. The snow in Kitzb├╝hel is isn't great, but the race course is in perfect shape, and my friends at the KSC have gotten some good alpentours this month, so Kitz apparently has more snow than almost any other resort in Austria.

In related news, Snowbasin is building two temporary ramp-monkey stadiums and a monstrous half-pipe, as The Dew Tour is coming to town next week. IDS does the Dew Tour scoring systems, so I Skyped Mr. Don Key, who will indeed be attending. Unfortunately, I'm flying out to Europe tomorrow (Sunday) to start setting up The Hahnenkamm, and Don flys in Monday, so I will miss him by one day. Would have been interesting to see Mr. Key in an alpine environment. Will also be interesting to see what kind of crowds show up at Snowbasin for Dew. Snowbasin is in the middle of nowhere, although one can drive here in less than an hour from Salt Lake City a whole whack of other major resorts: Alta, Snowbird, Brighton, Solitude, Deer Valley, Park Schitty, The Canyons, Powder Mtn, and Wolf.

No comments: