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Some time freed up this afternoon so I beelined it for the mountain.  I knew
they'd been blasting top to bottom now so there was no doubt something would
be skied.  It was 20F in the parking lot at noon.  This is quite chilly for
mid-November and felt downright cold while gearing up...I had forgot about
that pleasant north wind that gets funneled through the notch and then
across the parking lots.  Alas, skinning warms you up pretty quickly and I
was actually glad I wasn't just getting on the quad for a numbing 7 minutes
after freezing in the parking lot.

The fan gun was out doing its best to bury the base area.
http://tinyurl.com/6zeuu9

The area between the actual quad loading area and Crossover is where they
can have trouble making and keeping enough snow to open...but its not gonna
be a problem this year thanks to the cold.
http://tinyurl.com/5rblbx

As far as natural snow goes, there was well less than an inch at Toll Road
(1,300ft), an inch at the quad base (1,600), and maybe 3" at the top.  So
skiing natural ski trails was not really an option...I don't mind skiing  on
a snowmaking trail but skinning up one is not exactly enjoyable.  Luckily
there is marginally enough natural snow mixed with man-made blow-in to skin
on from the base up.

I quickly bailed on North Slope for Daulton.  Very enjoyable.
http://tinyurl.com/6ro4yd
Then up Crossover.
http://tinyurl.com/6d25po
Snowmaking was in progress on North Slope and lower Lord, so I went up the
next trail, Gulch...then I met a skin track that proceeded up T-line.  This
was definitely the preferred route with snowmaking going on both adjacent
trails.
http://tinyurl.com/5wgfjk

Above the Triple, I went back out to Lord where they had turned the guns
off...having turned the focus to the lower mountain trails while they've got
the cold.  They've made a lot of snow up on Lord and Ridgeview.
http://tinyurl.com/6z8fuu
http://tinyurl.com/6zuc36
http://tinyurl.com/6ek4yu
http://tinyurl.com/6ek4yu
I started to notice the guns had been off for a day or more up
high...because there was several inches of fresh powder on top of all the
snowmaking piles.  This was starting to look really good.  Anywhere that
hadn't seen cat or sled traffic was powder on a man-made base.  

I hung out up top for a few minutes but not too long...it wasn't getting any
warmer up there.  The turns from the top on Ridgeview were very enjoyable. 
It skied like powder, felt like powder, smelt like powder...
http://tinyurl.com/5fy2vl
http://tinyurl.com/5wa6nv

Even on solely the man-made stuff the turns were smooth.  Man-made snow was
mainly chalky with occasional patches of less condensed punchy/breakable
stuff.   Down low it was mainly silky smooth.  
http://tinyurl.com/6btwp4
By far the worst areas were ones that had been completely tracked out by
machinery.  Solid ice death chunks were the rule in those areas.  The bad
part is these machine tracks will multiply as they start doing working out
the piles tomorrow.  There's at least a day of cat-work to be done on the
trails before opening day and they'll most likely start knocking 'em done
tomorrow leaving boulder sized chunks everywhere.  

Oh well, just have to go up tomorrow and find out.  
-Scott  

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