First Day of the 2009/10 Season

| October 6, 2009 | 14 Comments

I know, a few days ago I said I wasn’t in a rush to get out, but then it continued to dump snow and Polly reminded me that we missed out on the early turns last year and then had to wait another four weeks until it snowed again.  One of the hardest parts about getting out for the first time is deciding which skis are going to be sacrificed to the rock gods and this season my beloved 2006 Chugoris (aka “Chugs”) took one for the team, although the damage was surprisingly light.

We headed up to one of my favorite little high, sheltered, windloaded, northfacing snow traps which looked totally filled in.  I decided to boot up to get a feel for the early season snowpack and was glad I did as there were some thigh-deep spots which had a chunky slab on top of a 3″ deep graupel layer.

The center of the lower chute had pooled graupel the size of peas with a cakey layer on top.

The center of the lower chute had a layer of pooled graupel the size of peas with a cakey layer on top. A warm spell will take care of this, but if not, rat-a-tat-tat, hang on to your early season avalanche hat.

Once again, SnowBird delivers! By booting up off to the side, you could feel the rocks under your feet and avoid the graupel-pooled center.

Once again, SnowBird delivers! By booting up off to the side, you could feel the rocks under your feet and avoid the graupel-pooled center.

Once we got to the top… it started dumping again!  Yehaw.  There were a few rock strikes on the way down, but not too bad.

Polly making the most of her maternity leave.

Polly making the most of her maternity leave.

A Lone Ranger skinned up the shoulder and dropped the chute blind ahead of us.  Other tracks are no guareenty of stability, but in this confinded a space, I was glad to have somebody else go first.  Nothing moved and I would have been surprised if it did.

A Lone Ranger skinned up the shoulder and dropped the chute blind ahead of us. Other tracks are no guarantee of stability, but in this confined a space, I was glad to have somebody else go first. Nothing moved and I would have been surprised if it did.

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Help support StraightChuter.com and sift some graupel with a pair of Mountain Hardwear Chilaca Gloves from Backcountry.com. Click on the photo below…

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Category: current conditions

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 (14)

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  1. Derek says:

    Tweaker!

    Going to Timp today……avoid the crowds;)

  2. Yvonne says:

    Andrew & Polly,
    Thanks for the beta yesterday, as we headed up. Got a go at it too and enjoyed every turn, even the scraps off rocktops and some tip diving into the cake batter center (a strange, mixed-feeling of gut squeezing and utter evil-delight)!

  3. fred says:

    Like the shot of Polly climbing, good one.

  4. d3 says:

    makin’ turns for baby. yeah!

  5. keither says:

    Well, since I took on the mantra ‘If the skis have bindings on them, they are rock skis’, the desicion/selection process has been much easier and now comes in a limited guilt-free sample-pack.

    Nice shots!

  6. databot says:

    Bastard. $%^# bastard. ;-)

  7. Polly says:

    Couldn’t believe we were making turns on Oct 5. Kept it comin’ winter!

  8. nice turns wish i was in u.t.a.h. (u turn around here) to snake lines with a fellow member of the Skier Boyz organization. But unfortunately I am climbing in nh. greatest slab climbing on earth! well a little more than that but i found a 9 pitch slab route with a 5 mile mt bike approach awesomeness

  9. Boots says:

    You guys have some weird looking snowboards.

  10. Rich says:

    Dont listen to Boots, uses getting all rad for cross country snowboarding

  11. Oren Jacob says:

    Andrew, long time, no see. I hope you and the family are doing well.

    I see you’ve already started this season out. I was thinking of taking the two little ones up to Donner Summit this weekend. We’ll see how that goes…

  12. Scott says:

    Damn, this post is going to force me to go out this weekend!

    And I had so many chores I was looking forward to.

  13. Jordy says:

    Willing to share any beta on the spot? Either way tip of the hat to you guys for getting after it!

  14. Andrew says:

    Hi Jordy – I kind of did drop a clue in there..

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