A post storm report on Squaw conditions

By Susan’s ghostwriter from Boulder

Last week a college friend of mine emailed me from Colorado, “Have you seen the storm that’s headed your way? I’m thinking about flying out for it.” So I started checking the forecasts.

He arrived Friday night and the waiting game began. Snow, rain, rain, snow… the precipitation was there, but the resorts couldn’t open anything good.

A late start this morning proved to be painful, as I could see KT loading when I pulled into the parking lot at 9:15. KT, Red Dog and Exhibition were mobbed. I headed over to Far East to try to find some pow while lines at KT died down.

There I met up with some friends and traversed from the top of Far East to the Resort Chair. People at the top said it could not be done. We proved them wrong. And the turns were deep.

The face below Far East was mostly soft, but we could feel the rain layer underneath. We banked into the glades and were greeted with soft, deep snow all the way down to the cat track. After a few runs of low-angle pow, the Funi opened and we headed up the mountain.

From there, we hiked up to Tower 16 to find plenty of soft stuff mixed in with some of the crispy rain-affected snow. Several steep, soft runs later, we headed over to Shirley. Looking down, we saw a few tracks on the Shirley groomer, but no one was on it. We asked patrol if the lift was open because there was a sign that said “Shirley lift closed.” Apparently, they were low on signs because the trail was open and the lift was spinning. But the patroller warned, “there’s a bunch of debris down there.” Even though it wasn’t steep, the fresh snow with no rain layer felt blissful under our skis. Then we hit the debris.

The avy debris was disguised under four inches of snow and flat light, so none of us hit the breaks until we saw the the first of our crew flailing after he hit one of the ice chunks. Most of us remained upright, but we all realized why patrol had warned us. We headed down for one more Tower 16 lap that became two. Although the fresh was gone, having the rain layer broken up and mixed into the rest of the snow, evened out the consistency for more predictable, smoother skiing.

My buddy from Colorado didn’t hit the perfect storm, but he did get a great day of skiing. Here’s to more snow later this week!

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