Just when everyone was getting into the spring groove of mountain biking, rock climbing, golfing, and skiing the spring slush, winter made its triumphant return on the morning of Good Friday, with temperatures in the teens and a foot of fresh snow from the peaks to the valley floor. We must admit, we were a bit surprised to see 2-3 inches of snow in the Salt Lake Valley, when only 3-5 inches were expected to fall in the mountains. Inspired by the sudden change from spring warmth to a winter wonderland, we took to the hills for some ski touring in the Cottonwood Canyons.
We were delighted to see about a foot of fresh snow on the ground and cars covered with huge snow drifts upon our arrival at the Cardiff Pass trail head in Little Cottonwood Canyon. Visibility was quite poor, due to the still overcast conditions and moderate rate of snowfall, so we elected to ski a few laps in the south-facing Cardiff Bowl above the Town of Alta. Despite the frozen spring snowpack lurking beneath the fresh layer of cold, dry snow, we enjoyed some excellent floaty powder turns in the bowl.
This photo says it all, really:
We celebrated the surprise powder day at our favorite local establishment, the Sitzmark Club at the Alta Lodge. Just as we sat down to enjoy our aprés ski whiskey, the clouds lifted, and we enjoyed the incredible down canyon view. Good Friday was good, indeed. The sun’s late appearance meant there was more good skiing to be had the following day, before the big warm-up.
Early this morning, we headed back up to Cardiff Pass under the light of the pre-dawn moon in search of more of what we got yesterday. With clear skies and cold temperatures, we continued up the Cottonwood Divide to Little Superior Buttress on the lower East shoulder of Mount Superior. We skied great snow on the Northeast face into Cardiff Fork and headed back up for more.
After another lap in Cardiff Fork, we skied warm schmoo powder on the sunny southern slopes back into Alta under a bluebird sky. We finished early, at about noon, just as the snow was beginning to become unsafe.
The past two days have been a wonderful surprise, a blessing. Another stronger storm system is forecasted to hit the region mid-week. Here’s hoping for another great couple days of powder skiing…
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Happy Easter, everyone!