State of the Wasatch – Jan 11, 2015

| January 11, 2015

In the comments from my last post I was called out as “an elitist blowhard,” so I’ll try to live up to that reputation by now kvetching about the Wasatch snowpack.  It is okay… but we really need more snow, especially as this is going on the fourth sub par year in a row.  We’ve been robbed.

Even this was almost too steep for today’s conditions.

Today was great fun, and unusual as it was completely opposite of what I usually do, which is start with a mellow run, then work my way up into steeper terrain as the day and my confidence wears on.  Instead, we started out on an open 40ish degree bowl and each run got progressively lower angle and more sheltered as that was where the best skiing was.  With only 2-5 inches of new, if you ski anything steep, you immediately slice down to a firm crust, but on low angle slopes you can just cruise right along.  We are supposed to get more snow tomorrow, which should be exciting with a nice bed surface buried right below it.

Right off the bat, we ran into this guy – Bob Athey.


I’ve known Bob for roughly 117 years, but really grew to respect his snow prowess when I was working for the Utah Avalanche Forecast Center and Bob would send in his observations, which were known as “Bob Obs.”  Work started at 4:00am, and if you came in and saw a Bob Ob in the inbox or fax pile, your day was pretty much done.  He never wasted time with the obvious observations and always had some interesting little tidbit that nobody else had thought of.  He is one of the most opinionated mofos on the planet, so as an elitist blowhard myself, we have a lot in common.

Unfortunately, WPG was not flying today, or we could have had ourselves a real party.

The light was pretty flat for most of the day, which meant looking for trees, other tracks or squinting.  I recently wrote an article on skiing in flat light for, which can be found here.

Polly and Bob – heads down in flat light.  In the grand scheme of flat light, today wasn’t too bad.

I’m not sure if this turn has a name, but trying to carve a turn on the last inch of your uphill inside ski doesn’t work very well.

Help support and keep it simple with a pair of Mountain Hardwear Minalist Shell Pants from 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 and Mountain Unicycle rider. He and Polly Samuels McLean are the parents of two very loud little girls.

Comments (8)

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  1. Smokey says:

    You should call that turn, “The Elitist Blowhard” ;)

  2. Nate says:

    Are you sure they were not trying to post on Lou’s site?!?!?

  3. Dray says:

    I think I’ve seen this turn before….Oh yeah… on the cover of The Chuting Gallery.

  4. Chris Cawley says:

    nascent starfish

  5. 3j says:

    for what its worth, i really enjoy your blog. i get a good laugh out of almost every post. the last post especially :) `and of coarse the good tips are always appreciated. keep up the elite antics

  6. Downhill kick-turn

  7. Steve Ebbens says:

    How do i get paid to ski everyday without being a professional and without completely whoring myself out?

  8. You say “whoring myself out” like it is a bad thing. ;)

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