Monthly Archives: January 2008

The freight train comes to a powder park near you.

Helmut gets wind blasted, ski touring in 50mph winds

Toured from Helmut’s chalet in Big Cottonwood today. We arrived at the high ridge just in time for the winds to pick up. They were’nt that bad though. Only once did I really need to do the spread-eagle-crab-walk to keep from getting blown over. The storm front sounded like a freight train blasting through the aspens, sometimes at a safe distance, other times hurtling in our direction. The scenery of pines getting wind blasted was entertaining in that “witnessing natural destruction” kind of way.

Touring in need of paddles

Went up in Little Cottonwood today and made some big plans in the parking lot. Then, as we got over 9000 feet, the trailbreaking became monumentally difficult. Early on, someone up front wading through the snow said that they’d prefer to have hand paddles instead of poles. At first this seemed like an exaggeration, but as the day wore on, and poles continually sank up to their handles in the snow, the idea grew more and more appealing. 5 minute shifts breaking trail seemed an eternity. Then, when the lead trail breaker strapped his poles to his pack and began shoveling out a skin track we all agreed on the futility of it all. Continue reading

Skiing to work

Skied the foothills this morning for a quicky before work. Helmut and I met up at 6:45, we skied 5 runs, and I was at work by 9:45. Ahh, the joys of minimal commuting and minimal approaches.

Non-Wasatching it

Sometimes the most beautiful and mysterious places are right outside your back door, right under your nose. When something breaks your routine and you finally notice these places, you wonder how you’ve missed them for so long.

picnic valley

The approach today was not for the faint of heart, but being somewhere new made rounding every corner exciting. Continue reading

Volcan Llaima erupts

Volcan Llaima erupts, viewed from the west
Skiing is a wonderful way to learn geography

Today my boss came into my office and asked, “did you hear about the volcano in South America that erupted?”.

If I had heard this question a year ago, it would have been a relatively meaningless experience. I would have been interested momentairly. I would have read about the eruption on-line, and would have forgotten the places and names as quickly as I had read article.

But having skied 3 very active volcanoes in Chile just last september, I was floored. “It wasn’t Llaima, was it?” I asked.

“I think it might have been” was his reply.

Quickly I googled Llaima, and suddenly I was looking at the line I had skied only months ago engulfed in lava, flames and airborne ash.

I thought of the people I met on the mountain, the ski bums who let us use their kitchen for two nights, the residents from the nearby town to whom skiing must seem to be one of the greatest luxuries…

Thankfully, everyone was okay. Continue reading