Westward Ho 2024
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JimK - DCSki Columnist
25 days ago (edited 25 days ago)
Member since 01/14/2004 🔗
2,938 posts

I've begun my westward migration for the 2024 season.  I've been in Utah for ten days.  Before that I took about a week to drive across from DC during that very cold period around MLK Weekend.

I skied two days each in Colorado at Monarch and Copper Mtn ski areas.  My first ski day in CO was on Jan 12 at Monarch.  It was 2 degs and so windy only one chairlift was operating.  Talk about a Rocky Mtn wake up call!  Still the snow was powdery and got even better over the next few days.

Jan 12 Monarch ski area near Salida, CO, elevation approx 10,800 to 12,000':

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Evening in Salida, CO, Jan 13, 2024.  Maybe this is what Aspen looked like in 1960??  Bridge in foreground goes over the Arkansas River, which runs 1500 miles and joins the Mississippi River a few miles south of Little Rock, AR.

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I was back at Monarch Ski Area on Jan 14 and it was a real fine powder day, 12" on the trails and felt like 18" in the trees.  The temps warmed up to about ten degs:

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I experienced some very wintry driving conditions in CO.  This is cresting Fremont Pass (11,300'), Jan 15, during an 85 mile morning drive from Salida, CO to ski at Copper Mtn:

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I skied at Copper Mtn on Jan 15 and 16, conditions were good, but not quite as powdery as little Monarch:

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Then on Jan 17 I drove from Silverthorne, CO to Salt Lake City, UT.  The initial three or four hours were very snowy, and I was lucky to get over Vail Pass before an extended closure of I70.  This is I70 West in Glenwood Canyon.  Snow plow drivers are a skier's best friend:

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The weather cleared as I continued west.  This is I70 near the exit for Moab, UT.  Grey tones, but black pavement:

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My first day of skiing in Utah was on Jan 20.  This is my son Vince on a slope called Restaurant Roll in the Gad Valley side of Snowbird Ski Area:

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I've skied four more times at Snowbird since the 20th.  Snowbird has been very busy on weekends, but I post the following photo as evidence that you can still drive up to Snowbird at 830 am on a quiet Tuesday and park free, unreserved, 50 feet from a ski trail, Jan 23:

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This is a friend in a part of Snowbird called Wilbere Bowl, Jan 25, about 4" of new snow that day:

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Jan 27 at Snowbird was a fun day, I got to ski with friends and family:

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To be continued...

Crush
25 days ago
Member since 03/21/2004 🔗
1,251 posts
XOXO! 
eggraid
24 days ago
Member since 02/9/2010 🔗
510 posts
Have a great trip! Monarch looks like it had great conditions. 
davwilley
22 days ago
Member since 12/28/2023 🔗
15 posts
Ohho You are having such great time!
jn_freedman
17 days ago
Member since 03/17/2018 🔗
23 posts

Jim,

I saw this picture on Guru Dave's website and was shocked on the current situation of a pre-rope drop at Snowbird.  Is it really that crowded these days?  Huge Snowbird fanboy but looks rough....

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It makes me appreciate my chill runs on FarSide on a Saturday morning at Whitetrail.....

JimK - DCSki Columnist
12 days ago (edited 11 days ago)
Member since 01/14/2004 🔗
2,938 posts

jn_freedman wrote:

Jim,

I saw this picture on Guru Dave's website and was shocked on the current situation of a pre-rope drop at Snowbird.  Is it really that crowded these days?  Huge Snowbird fanboy but looks rough....

1707156098_slbmixazdair.jpg

It makes me appreciate my chill runs on FarSide on a Saturday morning at Whitetrail.....

 JN, I want to say that photo is from a few years ago.  Not to say that crowds aren't sizeable at many Utah resorts, but there are some good strategies to avoid them or minimize the adverse effects.  Primary ones being, ski weekdays and get to the mtn 45-60 mins before the lifts start.

PS:  I always enjoyed FarSide trail too.  It has a little bit of character.

JimK - DCSki Columnist
11 days ago (edited 11 days ago)
Member since 01/14/2004 🔗
2,938 posts

I just finished an epic week of Utah skiing.  Some resorts in the Wasatch Mtns of Utah reported more than five feet of snow between Feb 2-9, 2024.  Friends visited during the week and I skied a variety of resorts with them in fabulous, stormy snow conditions.

2 Feb, Solitude, 4-6" new snow.  My friends took some photos of me this week and I'm including a few like this one.  You'll note, I'm better behind the camera, than in front.

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4 Feb, Snowbird, a beautiful day with one+ foot of new overnight snow.  This was the last sunny day until a weak sun peeked out late in the afternoon of the 9th. It was a max capacity day at the Bird, but we took what the mtn gave us.  Most of the crowds flocked to Mineral Basin leaving the frontside not too busy.

A friend on Pucker Brush slope in Little Cloud Bowl:

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Lower Tiger Tail full of snow.

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Me, late in the afternoon, heading down a not yet fully tracked out area called Bass Benches.

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Good times at Snowbird.

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5 Feb, Solitude, another stormy day.  We spent a lot of time in the trees around Headwall Forest.  Not many people.

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6 Feb, Deer Valley, 10" new snow.  A lady friend showed us around the mountain where she instructs.

The ceiling was fairly high early on, this view from top of Empire lift.

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Beautiful snow conditions.

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I went over to the Daly Bowl/Chutes area a couple times before visibility got low.  Scoping out the cornice above the Daly Chutes.  Guy in green is an instructor.

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Chute survivor.

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7 Feb, Alta, a truly epic storm day.  One to two feet of new snow all over the mountain.  AND lift lines were moderate to small.  They closed the LCC access road from 1-3 PM for plowing and avi mitigation, which chased away some early birds and blocked some late-nicks.

My son Vince going steep and deep.

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Again;  skiing dynamically on fat skis (124mm underfoot) while the snow was dumping.

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Blurry photo, but shows what a crazy day it was.

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I took a photo of this friend getting a belly shot in Catherine's Area.

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He obliged with one of me in same area.

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8 Feb, Brighton, by this point in the week I was getting pretty leg weary and took an easy day.  4" new overnight and maybe another 3" during the day.
 Beautiful, gentle intermittent snowfall. Cruising the tree lined runs is very nice at Brighton in such conditions.

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9 Feb, Solitude, another deep powder day with moderate crowds.  They dropped the rope to Honeycomb Canyon after a while and we had a ball in there.  Believe the hole in the mtn in this shot is an old mineshaft.

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Powder to the people.

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Subliminal message, top of Honeycomb return lift bullwheel looks like Pizza Bianco.

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So for lunch we enjoyed fresh baked pizza at the Stone Haus in Solitude Village.

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This photo of a friend on a fabulous powder Friday at Solitude proves the dream is still alive in UT: great snow and moderate weekday crowds.

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Wow, what a week!  Now I'm resting for a couple days.

JimK - DCSki Columnist
11 days ago (edited 11 days ago)
Member since 01/14/2004 🔗
2,938 posts

PS:  I bumped into @kemperski at Solitude on Feb 9.  Very nice guy.  First time I've met him.  He had two enthusiastic sons with him.  He's done some great writing/trip reports here and on skisoutheast.

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Brook
11 days ago (edited 11 days ago)
Member since 09/28/2010 🔗
54 posts

Our crew made it out to Utah for all the snow last week  also ! The surf was up ! Couple images from an unforgettable trip to Indy locations pow/mow   Beaver mtn   and Ikon  mtns.   Solitude /Brighton 1707669251_avhqxxuumptj.jpg1707669268_nbzfpinjebbk.jpg1707669285_bdtspbnwxxix.jpg

bousquet19 - DCSki Supporter 
10 days ago
Member since 02/23/2006 🔗
774 posts

JimK,

😮 🤩 😯 All I can say is, Gawwwwwwwwd what gorgeous views, and what incredible snow!

Glad that conditions are turning out so well for you and that you've had several meetups on yet another epic trip west. Stay safe and have fun.

Woody

Ski and Tell

Snowcat got your tongue?

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