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A long hiatus from IGT probably brought on by the lack of snow has concluded with our beautiful tour of AltA 11/11/10. I had the crazy idea to head to the Devils Castle in my pursuit of untouched snow. The fact that there was a 30 inch base probably kept Devils Castle (one of the rockiest zones in the wasatch) off peoples radars. But what I was learning about the 30 inch base was that most of it came at once from a 50 inch dump. When that happens everything with a mellow pitch gets covered in 50 inches of snow, even huge rocks.
The Buffalo and I set out from a crowded parking lot in Albion Basin and headed up the summer road, leaving the crowds on the summer road and surrounding areas, we did not see another person until after we were done skiing and it was a good friend Chris who patrols Alta. The day was a beautiful mix of snow showers and sun showers. The skinning was great, and I finally felt like I could breathe at altitude again after 3 weeks on the east coast.
As the Apron of the Devils Castle grew closer (the original objective) we took brief note of how perfect the conditions were. 6″+ of ultra blower on 10″ of high density on a stout 20-30 inch crust / old snow w/ structure from the first dump. The lighting was surreal at moments and is the best part of being outside in snow showers. We blazed a skin track all of the way to the top of the apron. After a game of rock paper scissors, which I lost, I was forced to watch the buffalo open up the apron for the season. Luckily nobody was on our tails and we had the place to ourselves.
You can ski anything really if you are safe, Ive seen people skiing dirt. Safe turns, my personal favorite are also some of the most enjoyable, instead of the mountain flying by and you flying by the seat of your pants, you get to slow it down and really enjoy the mountain you are on. The turns down the skiers right were not consistent but longer than skiers left. We chose the right side then the left on the next lap. After the second lap, which was perfect midwinter powder skiing we decided to head to the bottom, then back up the Castle Proper.
The Castle was really, really deep it was a snow pack that rivals most other resorts mid winter. We topped out took a rest on top then dropped in and meandered down the castle, avoiding the large humps, and DID NOT hit any rocks. Comfortable powder skiing, in an extremely rocky zone early November, canít beat it. Chase it with a Buffalo home brew, and its a day to remember. Many miles, vertical and beautiful snow sounds like an amazing day to me.
On a gear testing note, rocking all goretex proshell, in a 6 hour high paced ski tour at around 15 degrees i did not overheat once, get cold once, or wish the sleeves zipped off my coat ;) jkjkjk