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First off, I am sorry to all those I mislead today by only reporting 2-4" of
new snow.  Even the sheltered snow boards were useless in last night and
today's 60mph winds, so I had to guess on snowfall and if you know me, I'll
always guess conservatively.  Also sorry for reporting conditions as packed
powder and loose/frozen granular instead of straight powder.  What
transpired today was in fact, a bluebird powder day and with literally no
one at the mountain, fresh tracks were not hard to come by.  I haven't
posted a report in a little bit and figured today was good enough to warrant
a report:

Alarm went off at 4:45am and by 5:30 I was doing donuts in the un-plowed
Mansfield parking lot.  The benefit of being literally the first person at
the mountain each morning, means the lots are unplowed and empty.  It was
still snowing pretty hard at that time, but with strong winds, I'm not sure
if any of the flakes were actually reaching the ground.  I found about 2" in
the parking lot and the temp was 32F lower than it was exactly 24 hours ago
(32F to 0F).
http://tinyurl.com/4b8kcs5
Sorry for the blurry pic, but I've found its usually a good sign when an 18"
drift greets me at the door to MOC.
http://tinyurl.com/4oavalk

The day started with the mighty Mountain Triple as 65mph winds at the summit
put the Gondola, FourRunner, and Lookout on hold.  It was -13F at the top of
the Gondola, for a 43F drop since yesterday (30F to -13F).  Needless to say,
the Triple wasn't necessarily an enjoyable ride in the wind and cold.  I
ended up heading straight across a wind-scoured Hayride and into Tres
Amigos.  There I consistently found myself getting stuck in thigh deep
drifts, while other areas were blown clean to the previous surface.  Very
challenging skiing, but hey it was powder.

And speaking of surface conditions... the lower half of the mountain
definitely froze solid to an un-breakable crust.  Any ungroomed moguls were
very firm on the lower 1,000 feet of vertical.  The wind filled in the
troughs very deep, while only putting an inch or so on top of the mogul
crests... so if you skied in the troughs you were getting boot to knee deep
powder, but get thrown out of the line and you are eating your knees on
bulletproof bumps.  Unfortunately, the Mountain Triple only accesses that
lower 1,000 vertical feet so I wasn't overly impressed with conditions at
that point.  It was very good in spots, and pretty slick in others.

Then I got word that Lift Maintenance thought they could run the Gondola
because the wind was coming right down the line.  Warm gondola, accessing
the better snow conditions on the upper mountain, and there actually seemed
to be quite a bit more snow off the Gondola side in general.  Game on.

http://tinyurl.com/4sjudqx

Since there was no one at the mountain (the usual mid-week private ski area
scene), I slowly wandered over to the Gondola to find out that only about 10
people had gotten on the lift in the first half-hour.  Nice.

First run was upper Gondolier, to Chin Clip, then to Switchback because,
well, it was completely untracked top-to-bottom.
http://tinyurl.com/4dgelz2
http://tinyurl.com/45fh4nk

Well that was really sweet.  So I ran back to MOC and grabbed our Mountain
Dispatcher, Zane... telling him that he needed to get out for a couple runs.
 Bluebird powder day and all.  By the time we made it back up to Chin Clip,
over a half hour since I did it before, and there was still only about 10
tracks.
http://tinyurl.com/4pay9dq
http://tinyurl.com/4urwt9l

After that run, we decided to check out the woods.  That was a very good
decision.  I have no idea how much snow fell in there but it was
significant.  As usual, the woods off Chin Clip gathered the deepest pow on
the mountain.
http://tinyurl.com/4ebntlz
http://tinyurl.com/4z6nk89

Oh yeah, did I mention the mountain was empty?  Fresh tracks were not hard
to come by.
http://tinyurl.com/4jjreen
http://tinyurl.com/4qnj8x8
http://tinyurl.com/4b84ah2
http://tinyurl.com/4sc7rxa

Just wide open woods, boot deep powder, blue skies overhead, and not a soul
in sight (insert yourself into these pictures with a sh*t eating grin)...
http://tinyurl.com/4eqetkd
http://tinyurl.com/4zse2f7
http://tinyurl.com/48jlgkx
http://tinyurl.com/4wad5ea

So I lapped that over and over and over.  And there's still acres of
untracked.  I'll probably have to go ski some more powder in there tomorrow.
 Actually, the Quad never opened so that means there's probably a ton of
untracked left up there.  Hmmm... which lift should I go to first tomorrow
for more powder?  These are the tough decisions of a snow reporter.

-Scott


  

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