Its been a snowy couple of days here in Utah and for once, we got more up here near Ogden than the SLC area mountains got. There's about 8 inches outside my house at 4500 feet and 20 inches reported in the mountains. We had snow Christmas Eve which made for postcard snowy pictures on Christmas Day. I would post some, but I have yet to figure out how to download photos from my new phone. Evidently smart phones are smarter than me!
I've been able to take advantage of the new snow with some short morning tours in Little Cottonwood Canyon outside of SLC and get used to my new equipment.
My day out was Saturday. It had been a few days since a storm so I didn't expect much, I just really wanted to get out. I also had a 3 hr bike ride planned for later that morning, so Saturday's tour was really just to get into the snow. The skin up Gizzly Gulch was tame. There's a groomed catrack to the top of an area called Michigan City. So there was no trail to break, just a nice, mellow skin. Because of time, we had to start our descent but with the windblown conditions the snow was super hard and very tough to get a decent turn in. It was more work going down than going up. Hero snow it was not, but again, I was just glad to be out there.
We scrambled back to town and to the meeting point for the group ride with the Plan 7 group in Midvale. With a 2 hour warm up in the mountains I was a little fried for a 3 hour ride, but it worked out well. Especially for my weight loss goals! I burned abour 2600 calories in that 5 hours of exercise.
With a big storm rolling in for Christmas Eve however, I was anxious to get out in better conditions. So yesterday I set out in the falling snow for another a.m. tour in the same area. I didn't have a partner however, but I thought I would just hook up with someone else in the parking lot. Sure enough, a dude named Tom from Rhode Island was there solo as well. So we headed out for a few turns.
The snow snow was falling quickly but visibility was still good. We headed up to a peak called Patsy Marley, named for a mining era madame from the area. Well, this madame was dishing up some nice turns yesterday where we landed fresh tracks on Patsy's north side. The east face of Patsy's in where the rowdier terrain lies, but we didn't have time to head that direction and neither of us was very familiar with the area. But we got in some great powder turns.
In total it was a 2.5 hour tour burning more than 1200 calories in the process.
I discovered that I love touring, even short mornings like the last two. Being away from the resort is refreshing and much cheaper! I love our local resorts, but I just can't afford $70+ lift tickets. We'll save resort days for family days and super awesome conditions. I also find the uphill just as enjoyable as the down, if not more sometimes. Its a great workout for one, but it also makes the down that more more rewarding. I love searching out new terrain and lines that I've never seen before. I have my favorite shots at resorts, but the backcountry allows for so much more variety. While avy danger is always present (even in resorts) , there are correct ways to be safe. Simply taking an avy awareness course is beneficial and being properly equiped with a shovel, becon and probe, and knowing how to use the equipment, can make for a lifetime of awesome adventures in the backcountry.
In other adventurous news, the 2012 Rolex Sydney-to-Hobart yacht race is about to wrap up with line honours fav Wild Oats XI on track for a 6th line honors victory. The race for handicap winners is also alive with the smaller boats making a run for glory.