Early Season Turns at Alta, UT
By | October 12th, 2009
Last Sunday, October 4 2009, I was sitting on the couch at home thinking, "What the hell am I gong to do today? It’s pissing rain." I started looking at the weather; I noticed it was going to snow again for the second time that week. I started to franticly check the mountain cams at alta.com and realized it was dumping. I got on the phone, called some homies and told them to break open the boxes labeled “Winter Stuff” out in the garage because we’re heading up the canyon tomorrow. TGR filmer and photographer, Pete O’Brien, had already been up skiing and was already planning on going again. I talked some other friends into going, one of which was local Snowbird/Alta legend Nick Greener.
** One of the pow shots we left behind that we would later hit on the way down. **
Pete and I ended up meeting in the parking lot sometime between 10 and 10:30 Monday morning. We originally set out to hike some of the smaller pow shots just under the Collins lift. Plans changed when we met the other boys a ways up the main pieced run known as “Cork Screw”. They were headed for Baldy shoulder, a popular area hiked by many skiers every powder day of the season. We decided that we better head up there too. We would ski better snow and get a longer run in as well. Shortly after we had started our hike, a storm moved in, picking up fast and within a matter of 10 minutes it was dumping. We made it to the top of the Wild Cat chair, where you can view Baldy shoulder. The visibility was so bad we opted out of hiking any farther. We were concerned that with it being as early as it was in the season, we should stick with something we knew wouldn’t be too rocky.
** I remember one of the characters from Charlie Brown's Christmas claiming snow doesn't taste good before winter. I disagree **
** I wasn't lying when I said it was dumping **
I watched Pete and Nick drop in; it looked like they were almost getting face shots. I listened for the sound of their boards hitting rocks and there was nothing. The feeling of excitement and anxiousness came over me. I nudged my way off of the flats and into my first run of the year. I set my first turn waiting to hit the bottom, and I felt nothing. I was once again floating through over a foot of fresh cold Utah powder. It was so surprising, I thought for sure I would be riding on rocks and dirt the whole way down. We all looked at each other and started yelling back and forth about how sick it was to be skiing deep freshies in early October.
We got back to the parking lot and gave each other high fives. We expressed how enjoyable the run was and how we needed to head up again. It was dumping so we figured it would be good the next day. I got on my phone and checked the weather. It was claiming it was to snow another 8” to 12” that evening. You know we weren’t going to skip out on that!
The next day, I pulled up to Alta with Nick in my truck; Pete was already waiting for us in the parking lot. It was a perfect blue bird day and the snow was looking deeper than the day before. There were some jibbers with boxes and rails set up, but we had our minds set on more of the good snow we skied the day before. Our friends, Carlo Treverelli and Rick Robalowski, had just finished skiing a chute called Stone Crusher off of Alta’s High Rustler. They told us it was sick, so we decided to do the same. We followed what is usually the groomed trail and ended up at the bottom of Stone Crusher.
We scoped the line that Carlo and Rick had gone up and we proceeded to stay in their tracks as we climbed the boot packed ladder to the top of the chute. We sat and caught our breaths and drank some water. We gazed around at the dusted Wasatch Range from the edge of the well known, Hi T that takes you to High Rustler.
** Mt. Superior **
We dropped in for another straight shot of wide open pow that was easily five or six times the length of what we had skied the day before. The only thing about skiing this early in the year, even more so in Utah because the snow is so cold and dry, is that you have to make sure you don’t fall. If you do there are many jagged rocks, or what we like to call shark teeth under that blanket of deceiving white fluff. So, cautiously, we made our way down for what ended up being another sick run. ** Pete O'Brien Puts his camera away after snapping off some quick shots **
It was by no means bottomless, but that’s what rock skies are for. We ended up back at the parking lot to see that Carlo and Rick were hanging out watching us ski and drinking PBR’s in honor of skiing a sick day in early October. We sat and chatted about our mornings and looked up at the tracks we painted down the gut of Stone Crusher. Carlo told me I skied too fast and I think it was probably true, but it was too much fun not to open it up a little bit. We all headed to Snowbird’s infamous Tram Club where we went for some celebratory rounds of the $5 shot and a beer combo offered by this fine establishment. We raised our glasses to the best October 6th. ever.
** (From left to right). Local hero and Big Mountain pro, Nick greener, Cine and photog, Pete O'Brien, Multi Magazine cover boy Carlo Treverelli, and the man with the fist double flip (the risky flip, which is a D-spin into a backflip and it was performed over flagstaff gap circa 2001 or 02) in the freeskiing game, Rick Robalowski. **
Nick and I both woke up the next day hurting a little from the evening, and sore from shredding the day before. We decided that the best way to shake this feeling was to head back up and hike one more run before the snow melted off. Once again, we found our selves charging up the steep booter that was set the day before and sitting on the top of what would become our first High Boy (the main chute off the top of the Hi Rustler) of the year.
** Looking Down High Boy. Only two tracks. Pumped!!! **
** Nick Gets fired up to ski his first High Boy of the season **
Check out my recent interview with espn.com for more details, photos, and a short video at:
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