Wasatch Conditions – Jan 30

| January 31, 2011

After torrential rain to 11,000′, then a deep freeze, then three weeks of little to no snow and high winds, you’d think the Wasatch BC would be toast, but it has been surprisingly good.  The south faces are corning up and the ice crust is breaking down.  The ridgelines are still skating rinks, but there’s some excellent recrystalized powder in mid elevation, sheltered slopes.  The wild card is that you can go from creamy snow to glaze ice in one turn with almost no warning, but aside from that, the BC is fun and stable.  That said… MORE SNOW PLEASE!

Into Thick Air - A Wasatch recreation of the '96 Everest tragedy, except nobody gets hurts.

Leave No Trace skinning. Trailbreaking was not an issue.

As a side-note to the photo above, our last run of the day started on a steep, icy ridgeline above a small rock cliff.  I was in a hurry to get going so I didn’t double check my bindings or lock out the toes, and within 10′ both of my skis came off!  It came out of nowhere and I was able to do an immediate double Whippet self arrest within a few feet.  I’m a true believer in the Dynafit system, but in conditions like this (bullet-proof chattery ice), it is a good idea to lock your toes out.  My theory on this is that unlike other bindings which have very elastic return-to-center characteristics, Dynafits are more binary – they are on, or off.

2,000' of prime Utah corn awaits harvesting.

A happy skier above Happy Valley doing what needs to be done.

Help support StraightChuter.com and ski anything from ice to nice with a pair of K2 Wayback Skis from Backcountry.com. Click on the photo below…

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 (4)

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  1. mm says:

    Wow, preleased both skis!? Makes me wonder how close to a prelease I was while charging the firm resort runs a few weeks ago. Did you lock down while skiing Denali and friends?

  2. Peter Banta says:

    Welcome to East Coast Skiing! Only fair you folks should have a taste once and a while… ;)

    Ironically, Vt is expecting 1-2 feet of Wasatch Pow on Wednesday. I shall make Vtah turns in honor of Utah! :P

  3. Justin Mool says:

    Well said, Peter.

    Maybe I’ll see you out there. The snow is already piling up.

    Man … that “Leave No Trace Skinning” cracks me up.

    Thanks for the post Andrew.

  4. Andrew says:

    mm – I usually lock out my toes if I’m feeling anxious, which would include skiing Denali & friends.

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