Heavenly: Take what you can get.

Tahoe Tahoe Tahoe, ohhh what a rough set of winter months this place had.  All I heard was “the season started great, at least we still have a good base.”  A good base is great!  That is why I personally like to travel west in the months of February and March, lots of the gnarly parts of the mountain are filled-in, so the snow that falls is goo00d riding!  Oiy, but when it doesn’t snow…….well we are here to snowboard right?  Well Tahoe didn’t get much snow.  For example, during the month of March (generally one of the snowiest months) Seven Springs Resort in Western Pennsylvania which averages about 250 inches per year got more snow thank Kirkwood, California who averages about 450 inches per year.

Because of this I was forced to enjoy a few days at Heavenly Ski Resort.  I had always balked at Heavenly because Kirkwood always had better snow, more snow, and “bigger terrain.”  This year that was not the case, so I was happy spending time with my park-rat friends.  One thing Heavenly has that Kirkwood does not have….SPECTACULAR views of the lake.

I Believe the Most fun I had was climbing the Tree!  Luckily, there is still snow to be had, it just happens to be heading towards Salt Lake City.  It was at this point I decided to take a Tax-Day run to SLC.


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Kirkwood Beauty


I left SLC on Monday and headed to a terribly sunny South Lake Tahoe for a few weeks  of hoping and praying for snow.  What I encountered was limited snowfall, but great opportunities when it did fall.  One thing that is nice about riding in the Spring…..(Late March-April) is that when the weather is nice, it is really nice!  Unfortunately, when the weather is showing precipitation, then the snow may or may not be significant ….or it could be rain.  At Kirkwood, about 40 miles South of South Lake Tahoe, the weather makes for some splendid opportunities.  If it is going to snow in the Sierras, there is the greatest chance that a large snowfall will lay upon Kirkwood.  While “The Wall” is the coveted run at Kirkwood, two lesser-known, but equally as spectacular runs can be had on the “Backside.”

The first option is the frequently pursued “99 Steps.”  Once the backside opens people are lined-up to attack “The Wave or “Hully Gully.”  However, those willing to do some work take the brief hike (probably a few more steps than 99) up Thimble Peak.  After walking out past the peak just a bit, there is a nice open bowl that provides some nice fresh turns before getting amongst the masses.  If you Search you just might find a little spine.

The Other option, one that might be a little more serene and secluded is Covered Wagon. Kirkwood has a tow-rope that takes riders close to the top, but you can hike out a little further and get some nice runs. Ski Patrol does some snow management in this area as it has been known to slide. It is very much advised to stay IN Bounds! Many dip-out into the slack-country, but it is not an advisable risk. Be careful at the drop as there are a few rock bands that can be nice drops our could really screw your day up! Once you get past this it is a great, peaceful run through Fawn Ridge. Stay to the right for a while, but start leaning left once the ridge starts cresting, otherwise you may be hiking out.

Eventhough Kirkwood had to get bought by Vail in 2012, it is still one of the best mountains to ride the U.S.

Back at It

After a long and unnecessary hiatus, I’m back at it. I will post in the missing pieces a bit later, but for now I want to get back to moving forward. I finally left South Lake Tahoe, two weeks late, yesterday. It was surely a bittersweet departure. Great friends, beautiful views, albeit a lousy snow season, it made for some good biking.

Snowbird, UT March 20, 2013



Apparently youtube won’t let you use Smashing Pumpkins as a background song.  Friggin Copyrights!


I had other Photos, but lost my phone over the weekend at Brighton.

Jackson Wilderness 3/19/2013


Wyoming touts itself as being the Wild West.  It is surely in the middle of nowhere, has the second lowest population density among the States.  Wyoming is a great opportunity to just get away from it all.  I met folks from Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts , and Wisconsin….all just getting away.

While Jackson Hole was a good time, I don’t have much of a need to go back.  The population density of Jackson Hole is significantly higher than that of the State of Wyoming.  While JHMR has some of the craziest in-bounds terrain of all resorts that I’ve been to, unless you catch it on a true powder day (10 inches or more) or you’re just a friggin nut, or you like to earn your turns in the BC, JH just isn’t worth all of the travel effort.  That being said, the views are amazing and there are some great opportunities to see animals.  When my friends headed back to SLC, I stayed in JH for an extra two days.  I stayed at a great place called the Rustic Inn and got a room (which was actually a very nice hotel room in its own cottage.)  It was situated along Flat Creek and I woke-up to a few neighbors hanging around.




I took the opportunity to check-out Grand Teton, but didn’t really feel like doing too much hiking in the snowpack.  Hiking will come in May!



The afternoon was spent using-up my Mountain Collective Pass at JHMR.  I had paid for the day so I probably should use it.  The views from atop Rendezvous Mountain were quite tasty on such a sunny day.

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Corbett’s did not look nearly as Tasty.  Having had little snow over the past I don’t even know how long, the 20-ft drop was not something I wanted to entertain.



There were some mellow runs with a few stashes to still be had.  Unfortunately, these were on the lower 1/2 of the mountain, directly facing the March Sun.  Powder, it surely was not, but it was soft and smooth…..like butter baby!



On the way back to my cottage, I spotted a Moose hanging out in someone’s backyard.  I made a u-turn and got a few nice shots.

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The next morning a few snow showers started falling so I enjoyed the hot tub before trekking back to SLC for, hopefully and finally a legit Powder Day!



As I left town, I found humor in the fact that I was pumping gas, wearing shorts on a snowy day in Jackson, WY.  It seemed fitting as the first day of Spring.


Grand Targhee, WY 3/17/2013



All I can really say is “What a day!”  Finally got snow, which transitioned to beautiful sun-kissed views, and topped it all off with a night in the town of Jackson, WY.  Not a bad St. Patrick’s Day.

Weather impacted the drive to Targhee, so we arrived a little later than expected.  However, it was snowing real good when we arrived!


When we arrived, we were told that the two main lifts were not running due to wind.  I was none-too-happy!  However, we were here and went exploring.  Not knowing the mountain, sometimes we get ourselves into interesting situations…..like small cliff-bands.


However, this provided access to very nice snow. (Very nice considering they had only gotten about 5 inches of snow.)


Wind Hold ended by noon and the entire mountain was ours to explore!

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Having ridden till 4, I would have to say it was a good day.  The hour drive home (over Teton Pass) was much more mellow


and entertaining.




We ended the day with a beautiful sunset






Jackson is a beautiful town, so I may need to stick around for a few days.



I’m goin to Jackson. 3/16/13

Came to Jackson for another St. Pats weekend. Seven of us booked a 3bedroom condo through the Grand View Lodge in Jackson.  Irony is seen out our grand view window. Not quite grand.


It was a sunny day with warm temps and limited crowds.


There was little reason to get out on the hill early, so it was another noon day. Thanks to the Mountain Collective I didn’t have to shell-out the $99 for a ticket.  We made a great day of it.


Chris and Jami got after it.


I was happy.


One thing is for sure, the top was a mess, even at 3:00. Boilerplate and death cookies.


Lets hope for snow!  Tomorrow is Grand Targhee. 

Sundance, UT: An Understatement.


Friends of my hosts came to visit so I took one of them to Sundance to check out the mountain. Well, the weather is a repeat of last year and I now remember why I made the drive to Moab during this strech last year. We danced with the sun all day at Sundance.


Sundance is a relatively small resort with only a handful of lifts, all of which are slow. I can only assume that it is a fun mountain on snowy days as it has some significant pitch to it.


Today was not a snowy day. We rode variable conditions: corn, slush, mashed taters, death cookies, and some bullet-proof spots in the shade.  It was so soft, I stopped at one point on a south-facing aspect (ie su -drenched) and sunk I to the snow about 8 inches. Sno-cone snow.

We stopped at the top for a bite to eat, checked out the views,


and watched three sluff slides happen on the top of the peak. The snow is heavy, wet, and unstable. No backcountry for me. Lets hope Jackson Hole offers a little goodness.  It was still a good day to be outside.

Canyonlands 3/10


So, from Thursday eve to Saturday eve we’ve logged-in 10 hours of driving, visited 4 different spots, and have another destination and 5 hours of driving ahead of us.  Sunday was a sleep-in day in Moab and the views from our lodging were pretty relaxing.  DSC01597 DSC01596

There are two things to know about Canyonlands.  1.  It is in the Middle of Nowhere!  2.  It is HUGE!!!  Moab, itself is in the Middle of Nowhere, but luckily Arches NP is just outside of town.  Canyonlands, on the other hand, is quite a drive.  Either entrance to Canyonlands is a 30-40 miles North or South of Moab.  Once in the Park, there is plenty more driving.  But it is all worth it.


If you go to Canyonlands, be careful not to hit the free-range cattle!



Be sure to check-out the Possible Meteor Crater known as Upheaval Dome (Short Hike)


And Definitely Check Out the Grand View Point: (Drive-up)IMAG0373 DSC01632Again, with a 4-hour drive to SLC, with a flight to catch in the AM, hiking options were limited.  That being said it was a busy but good weekend.  Coming-up will be Sunny days in Salt Lake City resorts and hopefully snowy days to follow in Jackson Hole!  Such is Life!DSC01620

Colorado to Utah 3/9

Sometimes traveling can be exhausting, especially with me!  Plans were to spend two days in Moab hiking Arches and Canyonlands.  However, with the impending weather, sometimes plans change.  I was able to convince her that, since it was raining in Moab, we should go to Powderhorn.  After a little discussion, Powderhorn was the call.  They had gotten about 5 inches overnight and when we arrived it was still snowing heavily.

Powderhorn is a small resort, compared to Colorado Standards.  Two main, slow lifts, but very few crowds.  At 1600 ft vertical and 1600 acres, the size is decent.  The best part about Powderhorn is the foothill forests.  Lots and lots of tree runs.


A couple of hours of Powderhorn was all that I needed so we packed-up at 1 and began the long, 3-hour haul to Moab.  In those three Hours we went from Snow…..

To Rain:IMAG0368

To Sun:DSC01572


We arrived late in the day at Arches, so we had to get in as much perusing as possible.

Park Ave is a Great Introduction to Arches.


North and South Window Arches are Staples:DSC01587

I climbed and hid in the corner of North Arch:


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Unfortunately, the sun was setting on the day and longer hikes would not be permitted.