Friday, May 3, 2013

More good spring skiing

As I mentioned a coupla weeks ago, typically I don't post much about my skiing because most of it is not very noteworthy and I don't feel compelled to promote skiing much (vs bike touring, which I think everyone should do!  More on that later).  But in the last week my enthusiasm for spring outings was yet again renewed after a bit of time in the desert. 

Saturday started with meeting Charger (aka Jon Schofield, aka Juan Grande of the famous Juan Grande Productions: and his able sidekick cameraman Ezra to shoot a video for our local Epic Brewing (be sure to at least say you are 21 to enter the site!).  The idea was to have an Epic beer-specific ending to a series of edited clips of Jon's legendary ski videos.  So along with Christian and Betsy we acted like it wasn't 8:30 in the morning and were just finishing a fine day of skiing and toasting it with a few strategically stashed-in-the-snow bottles of Epic's finest.  Apparently it's against federal (not even Utah!) law to show people actually drinking alcohol in ads so we were supposed to be like kids playing volleyball in Budweiser ads and act like wow, drinking Epic means so much FUN! and actually would go to the trouble to bring Epic pint glasses to pour the 22 oz bottles into.  So with the bottles popped open, it seemed a shame to let it all go to waste, so we drank 'em.  And fortunately enough, Scott Martin came roaring down to join us.  I haven't seen the footage yet, but hopefully we weren't too contrived and gave Charger something to work with. 

In the meantime, Geoff Lane came roaring past in the Eurovan on his way to harvest some corn, so we hustled up to meet him and had a nice time shredding Toledo Bowl before it went to mush. 

Sunday I went out with Rando Racers Teague and Blake

Teague's helmet isn't really all that heavy!
and we charged up Tanner's, one of my favorite spring outings; it's big and wild, but is literally within sight of the LCC road.  If you're lucky you can catch it before the wet slides make it a debris-fest, and we were moderately lucky:

Teague comin' in HOT!

We also did a scratchy, but debris-free drop into the beautiful and expansive Broads Fork on the backside:

where I eyeballed the E. Face of Twin (more on that later).

It was borderline too warm on Sunday, and I figured Monday would be a no-go.  But when I was lying in bed at 6:15 Monday morn and Ash told me that the temp at the house was 43 degrees - within the realm of good cornage on a clear night - I leapt out of bed and started racing for Mt Raymond to ski the East slabs.  I marched as fast as I could on my little rando skis trying to get to the summit before it went to mush.  I got to the summit.....and turned around and walked back down.  I rarely have "a mission" and I sorta did that day, and as I debated my options I was trying to tell myself how and why I could get away with skiing the 40+ degree shot in deep mush.  But I gazed across the valley to Craig's slide path and was reminded of the far-more-compelling reasons to NOT ski it, so I headed back down. 

Later in the week a cool front came in and renewed the melt-freeze cycle, so we headed up to one of Ash's corn favorites (that is overlooked by many in the Wasatch), the Meadow Chutes near Solitude.  We were psyched that we had gotten a message from Brian and Liz and Megan, so we had a good posse.  The skiing was - as Ash correctly anticipated - as good as corn gets. 

For all of these outings we have been using our new toys:  the ski crampons, or "harscheisen" in Euro-ese.

 I've thought for years that it was better to either skin or boot, and that these were for that too-rare middle ground.  But after watching Teague and Andy waltz up the Provo Peak ridge on them and then having Ash and I desperately clinging to the normally-benign Flagstaff Peak last week looking at a 1200 foot zippy trip to the bottom I went out and bought a couple pairs of Voile's version.  Other brands are attached to the binding and are hinged so they flop up as you lift your foot, but Voile's theory - which I tend to agree with - is that when your heel pieces are in riser mode you don't push the crampon down into the snow very much, and when you need these bad boys, you NEED them, so just attach them to the ski.  Someone I saw on Flag said something about the "lack of glide" of them and I thought to myself: "when I got these things on I ain't doin' no gliding!"  They pretty much take desperate, slippy, clinging-to-ice skinning and make it a stroll.  I've used them every day since, and am fully sold, as is Ash.  Here they are, mounted on my skis:

and here's Megan and Brian "struggling" (not really; that day wasn't too bad due to a skiff of snow the day before....)

And me being all casual with my crampons:

and then this morning Scott and I did the long march up to the Salt Lake Twin Peaks to fire one of the nicer lines in the Wasatch, the E face/couloir that I had noted on our Tanners/Broads outing a few days ago.  My theory was (talking myself into it?) that the glide avalanches that are notorious for that area had already run, and the evidence sorta bore that out:

A nice three hour march - punctuated by a plaintive "Dawg, I'm sorta fucked here!" as Scott struggled a bit near the pass without his own nice pair of harscheisen! - brought us to the summit of the E. Twin:

 right as the 2000' E face was getting perfectly-softened.  Here's Scott on the probe:

 and scouting his next bite:

Which was pretty succulent:

I think it's pretty safe to say we were the coolest guys on the summit of the Twins this morn!
Despite ourselves! 

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