Thursday, February 13, 2014

Big Cottonwood, Big Snow


Driving up Big Cottonwood canyon on the way to Brighton Ski Resort while listening to jazz on the radio.

One of the staffers at Canyon Sports, where we rent our skis and purchase discounted lift tickets, mentioned that we should read the Wasatch Snow Forecast blog.  Check out this great snow water equivalence vs. time plot from Where do we stand now?.

See those stairsteps?  Each one represents a storm.  The week before we arrived, Utah received the light and fluffy stuff known as Greatest Snow on Earth.

[If you want to generate your own plots like this, visit the NOAA Colorado Basin River Forecast Center (CBRFC) Map page, click on your station of interest, then click on the mini-graph pop-up window.  That opens up a page where you can customize a full-size plot for that station.]

Last weekend, a warm storm dumped 3-4 feet of warm, wet snow (a pineapple express) on top of that.  Put something heavy over something fluffy/flimsy and watch the bottom layer collapse.  That's why we no longer put real (and heavy) clay tile roofs over lightly-framed wooden houses in California.

In snow country, those conditions spell severe avalanche potential.

Little Cottonwood Canyon (Alta and Snowbird) was closed for avalanche control, squeezing snow chasers into Big Cottonwood Canyon (Brighton and Solitude).  We got a late start on Saturday and were warned by the sign on I-215 (SLC's beltway) that the Brighton parking lot was full.  The ski bus' park and ride also looked full and we decided to skip skiing and see the Lego movie instead.

On Sunday, I saw gray stuff that looked like ice, but in an unlikely spot for ice, from the chairlift.  Another skier explained that it was gunpowder residue from a bomb thrown by ski patrol to trigger avalanches .before. the resort opened to skiers.

The first day, we arranged to meet up and ski with a SLC skier we met last year.  He studied engineering physics in college and worked as a part-time ski instructor.  I've never heard ski mechanics explained so well and I learned not to fear the bumps.  Iris is now giving me skiing tips.

As you can see from the video, we had another good ski trip.   Anyone want to plan for a second trip this winter?

Bad Dad's list of Salt Lake City must-visit restaurants:
  • Red Iguana: Start with the mole sampler and finish with the flan.  
  • Settobello: Save room for gelato, too.
  • Red Rock Brewery: The onion rings are so unhealthy, and yet so irresistible.
Also very good:
  • The Wild Grape: A locavore restaurant with an extensive wine list.  Order the Brussels sprouts fried in bacon-infused olive oil.

1 comment:

  1. Carolyn05:42

    Thank you for sharing the magnificent video - I viewed in wonder at the end of a hot Australian summer day.

    ReplyDelete