Blame it on Christmas

| April 13, 2009

The snowpack is at its maximum depth, the snow stability is excellent, the days are long, the skiing is great, and… there is nobody out skiing.  Not that I’m complaining, I think that it is excellent and as it should be, but I have to wonder.

About three weeks ago the Wasatch Mountains had a warm spell and people were referring to it as the end of the season.  “Well it was a pretty good season, but not great.”  Wait!  It’s not over.  Of seven possible months of skiing, we are only at month five, and the best is here, right now.  The ski areas are closing with maximum snow depths and its the time to get after steep chutes, big tours and fun turns.

Derek skiing "Rampage" last week. With huge cliffs on the left, this is usually a serious line, but very reasonable this time of year. The time is now and the skiing is right. Get it while you can. Biking can wait.

 But I understand.  Biking beckons, ski boots seem hot and other activities are calling.

A friend in the outdoor industry blamed it all on Christmas.  “Every year the stores start pumping skiing earlier and earlier in anticipation of Christmas.  People are stoked to get out in October when they are bumping over rocks and hitting logs, then they hang it up when the skiing is the best to go do the same thing with climbing or biking – slogging through mud, camping in the rain and missing the best of the season. Everything is just too early.”

I couldn’t agree more, but again, I’m not complaining.  The skiing has been excellent lately and will only get better.  I just feel a little guilty not sharing it with anyone else.

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Category: Commentary

About the Author ()

Andrew McLean lives in Park City, Utah and is a gear designer, writer, photographer, ski mountaineer, climber, Mountain Unicycle rider and father of two very loud little girls.

Comments (16)

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  1. Doug says:

    Have to agree with you Andrew this is definately how it should be and if look in the right spots good snow can be found. Moab will just have to wait!

  2. Bob says:

    A foot and a half of powder in the mountains above Santa Fe this weekend. Two fine days of skinning & skiing, though there were (relatively) a lot of people up there. On Sunday I ran into 5 other people on top of a peak, but I knew all of them and we all had our own lines down. Soon as I finish my taxes I’m going back up.

    What a great time of the year.

  3. Forrest says:

    I agree, its the best time of year. Deep snowpack, long days, everyone elses mind is somewhere else. I probably ride the resort more than most of your readers and I can not believe the non existant tram line for powder run after powder run this past month. I have seen people wait four times as long in the tram line for skiing that is half of what it is right now!

  4. dr says:

    Shhhhhh! No need for reminders :) I need people to stay in town and play golf instead of going skiing.

  5. Andrew says:

    Taxes… I knew I was forgetting something!

  6. Polly says:

    Hurray for Christmas then! I never understand why people are so eager to get out in October and you can’t hardly find any ski partners in April.

  7. Derek says:

    Good point Polly. We all go out and risk life and limb in October, when the snow pack is marginal and the climbing/riding is perfect. Then when the skiing is perfect in April, we all head to the desert to figure out how weak we are.

  8. Chuck says:

    7 months of skiing? There’s that odd group of people in the October ’04 pointless streak club. It was a good month to start. Since then I’ve asked why stop. I think we’re around 50 something now. I love multisport Saturdays.

  9. Jason says:

    Back home in Southern CO after a week in the Wasatch. Killer skiing, good friends, raining in the desert. While passing the right hander to Indian Creek could not help but wonder why I’ve been in such a frenzy to get to the desert in the past. Long live the deep spring snowpack.

  10. Polly says:

    The only problem with April skiing is .. rain. Although you NWers probably are used to it.

  11. Peter says:

    It’s not even regional. Here on the (L)east coast it’s the same story.
    Snow pack *just* hit max: (or did it? April powder happens…)

    and everyone is scheduling group road rides on 50deg days in the mud….?!?!

    I skied until almost 8pm last night on a deserted slope…

  12. Bart T says:

    i sure wish we’d get an extended high pressure system to make some corn.

  13. Andrew says:

    No kidding – rain wasn’t really what I had in mind.

  14. ron says:

    I just did some turns in the rain…beats taxes.

  15. CesarO says:

    No kidding, being from PNW, I love being able to ski all-year long, hitting up the volcanos in the Summer… can never get enough. We just got another spring storm in the Cascades this week, great pow for April yesterday up at Alpental!

  16. Darrell says:

    Biking is just a way to save gas in the summer, Golf is just an excuse to swear (so is sailing), climbing is just an invitation to give yourself tendonitis, running is training for other more important things (I only run when I’m getting chased), surfing is just an excuse to look at girls in bikinis, rollerblading is legally recognized as a sport in only two states.

    Don’t let yourself get distracted by green grass and frisbees!

    I’ve got 149 months consecutive…

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