I can count on one hand the number of days I’ve ridden my mountain bike since December. Two of those days were races. I’ve spent considerably more time on the road bike. Which has been surprisingly enjoyable. In the past, I’ve made no secret abut my low tolerance for the pavement* and the monotony of long, flat “training rides”. But the rolling hills near my house offer mental and physical variety – to say nothing of the visible Highway Lines.
*The Alpine Loop excepted, naturally.
But the majority of my time outside has been on the skis. And of course, I’ve beaten that drum on and on since December. And since December, with the exception of the last ten days or so, we’ve dealt with a shallow, sensitive, temperamental backcountry. Another point I’ve driven into the ground. We’ve had depth hoar, buried surface hoar, wet slabs, and wind slabs. And now? Well, now the weak layer is a fine coating of genuine West Desert dust. In other words, Nevada.
Preceding the most recent and massive snow storm the winds “were blowing hard enough to trip over a tractor“. Aaron and I can attest to that, as we were clinging precariously to an 11,000 foot ridgline wondering just exactly how far we’d be able to fly, had we a running start. That wind brought with it dust from the desert. When the skies were still clear, and before the snow arrived properly, one could looks up from the valley floor and see the fine brown layer on the western slopes of Timpanogos – nearly 12,000 feet above sea level. And now, that layer is buried, and causing a small amount of havoc in the backcountry. Which is to say, that the avalanches are back.
But with nearly three feet of fresh, light powder falling in the last 36 hours, and after hearing repeatedly in St. George just how incredible and amazing the backcountry skiing was over the weekend, I find myself clearing the bike gear out of the car, if only to make room for the skis. That return of sensitive avalanche conditions means a return to the trees and the low angled slopes. But with that much new snow waiting impatiently to be tracked out, low angled tree runs sound entirely acceptable. If current weather models hold true, we ought to be looking at a fantastic weekend of steeper, deeper, more stable lines to ski.
April is working hard to redeem December and January.
And further, forget May flowers. April showers bring face shots. And frankly, who could ask for anything more?