Sunday, April 18, 2010

Tracks of the Rare Alpine Skunk Spotted at Snowbasin

Yesterday I went alpentouring on Strawberry at Snowbasin, which has been closed for the season for about a week. Beautiful, cloudless day. Warm. Not a soul in the same ZIP code. No tracks in the snow, except for the paw prints of a few critters.

The whole time I was up there, I kept thinking about the old "Last Run" photo-essay on the last page of SKI magazine. Every month, they'd publish some irony-laced photo on the inside of the back cover, many dealing with desperate skiers dealing with the end of the ski season. I wouldn't know anything about that.

The other thing running through my mind was the memorable K2 ski print ad from a few years back, which showed a guy camped in the parking lot of Copper Mountain in the middle of the summer, alone with his SUV and a tent, reading a copy of SKI magazine while sitting in a lawn chair. Shirtless. His ski boots and a freshly-tuned pair of K2s sat on the tarmac beside him.

I toured around for over 5 hours in a t-shirt. Got some really fun turns in the untracked snow, which was, admittedly, pretty slushy.

Discovering alpentouring whilst marooned in Austria in the winter of 2004 has enlarged my repertoire, enhanced my fitness, and increased my enjoyment of skiing immeasurably. It has opened up a whole new world to me.

The runout at the bottom of Strawberry, named "Last Chance", was beyond slushy. It was downright melted. But I snapped the perfect shot for SKI magazine's Last Run.

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