Thursday, December 29, 2011

Get out of that Inversion/Smog

If you've ever spent a winter in the Greater Salt Lake area you will know what I'm talking about.

But those of you that are new and feel a bit grossed out and are thinking about moving here's something to think about.

From our home around the Wasatch and 3500 S. area it looks like a cloudy day.

With these low clouds and moisture in the air we have been getting rime snow.
You can see here in these photos that there is some snow falling at our house.

I would normally think it's been snowing in the mountains.

The first tip I have is to get on your computer and take a look at the web cams of your favorite mountains.

If your taking a look today 12/29/11

you will see it's been getting ready to snow for real and its not blue bird like it's been for the past few weeks.

The visibility in the city is about a mile and makes me feel a bit sick. As we start our drive up Wasatch it still looks like it's going to be socked in up there.

Oh whats this? A blue spot and the clouds getting thinner.

As we made our way up the canyon the clouds break and the sun is fully

shining it's love down on us. An over whelming feel of joy comes over me.

I quick lap on the Peruvian chair to get space and fresh air out of the tram.

You can really see the Inversion as you get further up.

Beautiful blue sky's. The attitude of people up here is positive.

Is I talk with friend in line, on lifts, and out on the hill the grim amount of snow

doesn't matter. Everyone says "I'm just glad to be out of that Inversion."

As I look down off Hidden Peak I feel sorry for all of poor people stuck down canyon and am so thank full for the life I'm able to live.

Even if you don't ski or ride there's a bus that for few bucks will bring you up and down canyon.

You can take a seat on the Tram deck and have lunch and a beer.

For the real brave stop by your local D.I. and get a ski set up and ski free after 3:00 pm on the Sunny Side lift at Alta.

Get some fresh air and some Vitamin D.

Come on up and watch the sun set for a change.

It will be good for you.

Thanks to Snowbird, Alta, and mother Earth for making this possible.

Peace, Crossman.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

All I want for Christmas is my 2 feet deep.

Santa delivers at Arctic Valley

Friday, December 23, 2011


Skiers are not a logical bunch when it comes to snow. We will engage in seemingly ridiculous behavior in a vain attempt to alter the jet stream, but you can't argue with results. Illogical rituals that seem destined for failure have been proven true year after year. We can't explain why but this bag of tricks has merit.
  • How does drinking to excess bring about a low pressure?
  • How does burning your trash (unusable skis) bring storms?
  • Why do prayer candles work for powder but are useless for Africa?
  • Just who the hell is this ULLR character?
The answer: Don't know, don't care.

Ah, Ye Olde Norse God of snowlerblades and bow hunting. Does this warrior / hunter control high alpine weather? Does he favor the deep? His reverse camber skis say yes although he is a bit aggressive on his forward mount.

The Noodler claims not to be superstitious, but before every run he has to taste the snow for good luck. And on not so rare occasions he will recite the "Eddie's Prayer" before dropping in.

Oh infant Jesus, I cry and beg that in the name of your most
blessed mother you help me in skiing Eddie's.
I firmly believe that with your divine help I can attain my desire.
Powerful infant grant me the grace of eternity with Eddie's
and the Fruit Chute and all the runs on The Backside.

Back in October I got my toenails did to rile the mighty Pacific Ocean. And it snowed and snowed and snowed. Emboldened by my dominance over nature, I went for round 2 in early December. The snow has continued. Have my actions influenced weather patterns? It can't be proven, but I guarantee I will have glittery toes until May.

In extreme cases of low snow and high pressure and split streams and cloud storms your only option is the exorcism. In this case you need to find the person who has been possessed by the snow demon. This person will be unaware that they have been possessed, but it your job to find this person and convince them of their affliction.

ID'ing the subject is not difficult if you know the signs. This person will have suffered poor snow years for multiple seasons in multiple mountain areas. Back in 2001, Young Nelson fit this profile: poor snow years in Alta, Jackson, and New Zealand. The Big Blue H followed him around the globe in an obvious reference to the Ancient Mariner's albatross. Season upon season of strife and '01-'02 was looking rough. You could still bike to 9,500' at Alta on Thanksgiving Day. We explained the situation to Young Nelson and he agreed that action was necessary.

Dozens gathered for the ceremony which could have been mistaken for a ski-bum house party. But there was a sinister motive lurking beneath. All in attendance knew the goal and in the absence of sacred texts detailing the ritual; we were forced to improvise. Surely the demon must abhor alcohol. So Young Nelson was forced to drink. The demon took over tried to weasel his way out of the situation. Young Nelson made for the window, but the strong hands of desperate skiers wrested him back in. The epic struggle had reached a tipping point and the demon succumbed to the inevitable. The booze flowed deep into Young Nelson's gullet and the demon wanted out. They stumbled out the front door into suburban Mormon nightmare and the demon fled from Young Nelson's poisoned belly and was deposited unceremoniously onto our lawn into a puddle of alcohol and bile.

Within moments, the first flakes of the 100" storm began to fall. The demon was vanquished. The season was saved.

Pagans and Christians unite! Exorcise the demons! Sacrifice the skis to into raging pyre that will nip at the asses of the Nordic gods! Drink it deep! Prayer to the infant Jesus! Eat the snow! Paint the talons of savage nomads who wonder the Earth in the search of snow! Take action! Do not sit idly by and wait for science to save you! The future rests in your hands! I call to you, brothers and sisters, take arms and we shall all rejoice in the glory that we have surely earned!

- Father Merrin

Monday, December 19, 2011

Mid-December Update: Alaska

Storm has been the word of the month for better or for worse. But big wind has accompanied the snow setting up for a sensitive snowpack. The snow has been locked into a cycle of self-loathing:
  1. Snow pack gets feelings hurt
  2. Snow pack starts to get over the insult
  3. Snow pack gets feelings hurt again
This pattern has made for a bi-polar snowpack. Unfortunately, the snow has been most sensitive on Saturdays and Sundays. Not good for this ex-Sugarhouser, weekend warrior. So the dilemma has been whether to ski or wait another week.

I have expanded my horizon to other outdoor activities. Such as Avi Education

Level 3 Prep Class at Turnagain Pass

Mens Paired Lift Serviced Ski Ballet with GB6K

And the infrequent nordic ski. On rare occasions, I have been known to succumb to the more popular activities that dominate Alaska this time of year: alcohol, sleep, and the arts. Well, 2 out of 3 ain't bad.

I checked the weekend forecast on Friday and it looked daunting again. It predicted (correctly) that we would have a third consecutive Sunday with 100+mph wind in the mountains. But it looked like there would be a nice weather window at Hatcher on Saturday morning.

There was 8-10" of fresh low density snow a the upper lot. We elected to head up Skyscraper Peak to ski El Dorado Bowl. P9 led the charge and picked a nice route into the lower bowl. A quick test pit revealed 103" base and the new low density snow was quite reactive (CT3).

Looking Back Towards the Chugach from the Talkeetnas

We eventually gained the ridge and topped out on the summit. Winds had picked loading the top of the bowl. Visibility was getting poor.

P9 Sussing an Entrance

The 4 of us skied a nice 900' shot back into the lower bowl under flat light. A squall had kicked up when we started up for run 2. We were nervous about retracing our skinner so we aimed to gain the ridge much lower by traversing a couple 100 feet below our original route.

This seemingly conservative decision was actually our biggest mistake of the day. In hindsight, we had effectively isolated the slope above us. The original skinner ski cut the top and the right hand side of the slope. The second skinner cut the bottom. The low density surface layer that we had previously ID's let loose swiftly and silently. P9 (75' ahead of me) got carried down slope and I put eyes on. Then the slide got me too. I struggled and swam and came to stop and then got hit by a second wave. Both waves were relatively minor (as far as slides go). P9 and I ended up on top of the snow. The loose snow avalanche had carried us about 100'. , Fe2O3 held his ground on the skinner. Our poles were gone and we were ready to get out of there.

There is a lesson to be learned from every incident (SAR, avalanche, drowning, car wreck). Those who dismiss the the participants as idiots will miss the opportunity to learn from their mistakes. Even if the participants were idiots, there is still a takeaway.

So you can shake your head, make the predictable Darwin comment, and shit talk me if you want, but I'd rather you draw from this experience.
  • We correctly ID'd the potential threat (good)
  • Our 2 skin tracks isolated the slope above us (bad)
  • Managing a 10" slough while skiing downhill is one thing: you have momentum that can be used to move to a safe zone, traverse out, or point it.
  • Standing still with a loose heal and skins leaves you powerless to react
We were aware of the terrain and consequences. If there were more snow, a hard slab, more complicated terrain, then our decision making process would have been different. Still, I didn't expect to be caught and was surprised by how helpless I was in uphill mode.

- Idiot

Monday, December 12, 2011

Goat Rodeo at the Pass

The blizzard was supposed to hit Saturday afternoon, but the storm was late. The Sunday AM inter-tubes weather station check had confirmed this. The stars were out in Anchorage and only 0.1" SWE had accumulated overnight at Turnagain Pass.

Sunday had been penciled in as "Glacier Training" for an April trip. We had planned to get on actual glaciers, but the visibility was not great and the wind was kicking up. We opted to practice at our fall-back location: Center Ridge. At the parking lot there was 2" of fresh and it was snowing at 0.5"/hour (S2-ing for you nerds). We roped up and marched into the low angle trees.

At 1,600', I sussed out an exposed ridge and the winds were howling. Going higher would not be prudent. We retreated a few 100 vert to a nice roll-over to practice haul systems. Even this sheltered location was catching some gusts. And it was snowing. Hard. 2,000' above us the wind was gusting up to 121 mph. Exhausted and wet, we returned to the cars after 4 hours of training. Our feelings of victory were short lived, as it became obvious that our rides were snowed in and we were 150 yards from the plowed highway. The shit show was underway.

Hubris convinced us that we could rally out to the road no problem. This was not to be. After nearly crashing the cars into each other and getting them high-centered; it was time to reassess. Fortunately we had 6 shovels and 6 motivated, thirsty shovelers. After about an hour we had the vehicles pointed towards the road and a launching pad shoveled out. Rusty accelerated down the ramp and momentum allowed him to surf out to the road. Heather followed in his wake and we were ready for a beer, but first we had to free a stuck traveler that had augured his Hyundai into a snow bank.

The wind was howling and snow was still coming in thick. The highway is divided at this point and visibility was so low that confused motorists were driving on the wrong side. After 10 minutes of Hyundai work, there were 3 more cars stuck: 2 traveling in the wrong direction and one in the middle. Junk show. No one in these four stuck vehicles had a shovel or boots, and Team Hyundai was in shorts. And the weather was not going to let up.

No one wants "Donner Party 2: AK Edition" on their conscience. I could envision the shadowy interview with voice disguise technology on the TLC or NatGeo.

Interviewer: "So you left them to die?"
U.K.: sounding like Ned from South Park "Yep"

Amusing as that sounds, it really was not an option, so we dug. We pushed and we dug some more. In front, underneath, next to, and behind. More motorist got stuck. Motorist number 2 got out and borrowed a shovel. Finally some help. But this doooooosh, tried to blend in and kept pointing as his own car and saying, "We should probably get those guys out first." Nice....

We did finally get the dooosh and his family unstuck and on the correct side of the highway based on their direction of travel. But then they stopped and the back door opened and a barefoot 8-year boy got out and proceeded to take a piss in the middle of the highway. As they drove off the lil' bastard starting snapping cell phone pics of us as we continued to shovel.

We freed a Neon and sent them on their way South. Heather yelled, "You're never gonna make it!!" as they fish-tailed down the highway towards more mountains and higher passes. Team Hyundai was the last to be set free and they required the use of Rusty's moose-blood stained tow strap. They yelled thanks out the window as they tried to maintain momentum.

Time for some beer, but as a final insult another 2-wheel drive, bald-ass tired POS, mother-f'ing shitbox augured in. We had already shoveled this stretch of highway down to pavement and were operating with the efficiency of a NASCAR pit crew; so we freed them quickly and headed for Gird.

Conditions did not improve as we descended but with gravity on our side traffic moved slowly and surely. Those travelling up towards the pass were not fairing as well. Especially since a tractor trailer abandoned his load in the middle of the only south bound lane.

We finally made to Girdwood to quench the thirst that had been rapidly building. It was definitely a mess, but I was glad we went. And so was the inept, ill-equipped, road-whizzing, 2-wheel driving, shorts wearing, bald tire spinning slice of humanity that we met along the way.

- U.K.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Moon Beam

Abstract thoughts, ideas, theories, or even the opposite sex fascinate me. Subjects lacking concrete explanation, allowing the armchair philosopher to ponder a myriad of possible truths is my forte. Aliens, government corruption, snow science, you name it, there's always an open topic discussion here on Skier Boyz tours.
Early this morning, my alarm clock rang at 3:30am MST. After a light breakfast and a cup of poet strength coffee, my man cave was vacant. While driving up LCC, thoughts of encountering a plethora other lunar gazing ski walkers entrapped my imagination. Dreams of finding beautiful stoked people (lie....scratch people, insert women) at the trail head faded away as I pulled up next to Flufhed's car. After a futile attempt howling at the moon to awake that wook or find company, I began the walk alone.
From lot, my internal compass pointed me towards Devils Castle and Point Supreme. At the beginning of the ski walk, the full moon illuminated the surface hoar, which sparkled and danced to my passing. While ascending the summer road, I looked over my shoulder and saw a gigantic shooting star and knew it was on!!! Soon there after, the earth began eclipsing the moon. The sun, earth, and moon are about to align!!! My shadow and the surface hoar sparkle show slowly dimmed and the vibe darkened. At the nose of the earths shadow on the moon there was a turquoise glow. After about an hour or so the full moon became totally engulfed in the Earths shadow, casting a reddish hue, while hovering above Cardiac Ridge and Mountain Superior. Soon there after, old reliable popped out of the east shooting photons on the Mighty Wasatch Mountain Range.
Thank you Mother Nature for the show and bringing brief moments of cosmic consciousness. ~Awooooo

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

River Season Redux

"There is great vigour in the waters that come down from the snows of the Misty Mountains"

As the snowpack flowed forth from the various mountain ranges of the West, the Skier Boyz hung up their puffys and touring flannels as they descended into the towering canyons of the intermountain west's legendary river corridors. In their second season attempting to diversify their portfolios, the Boyz took a more or less educated stab at the activity commonly known as "river running", though perhaps it looked a bit more like drinking case after case of beer in the hot sun while sitting on boats of varying type, and most certainly, quality. As usual, a prestigious and oh-so-generous local Academy provided ample resources in this endeavor and we are, of course, eternally grateful. The Boyz were spread far and wide across these adventures this year, with some familiar faces making noteworthy, but brief appearances, and others quite deep in the mix. However, a number of new faces, many of them elegantly bearded or scantily clad, appeared amongst the crew this season. Some say they come from a mountainless and desolate place far to the East called Missery. Others suspect they are a rival ski gang attempting to infiltrate the mighty SB. Still others believe they have emerged from the seedy, ironic world of hipsterdom, and have forged a strange and unholy alliance with members of this beloved, and similarly elitist, ski organization......So goes the endlessly circulating rumor and increasingly mysterious lore of Skier Boyz.

Some exceptionally descriptive and accurate portrayals of these gentlemen appear below....

GJBT, aka "the Barnacle"
"Gee-Jay is the Name, Crystalz is the Game, Boi"

Laser, aka "Junior",
aka "Geico Caveman"
aka "Bronze River God"

Bobby, aka "Drunk Bobby" aka
aka "Fuck You, and Your Organic Brautwurst"

Brett, aka"Rossetta Stone", aka "Bip" aka "Who is That Fucking Hipster?"

Some long overdue highlights from an amazing summer on the water....once again i must thank the Academy for making this all possible. Enjoy!

The Owyhee


Explaining punk rock to Paco, an amazing firelight rant from Drunk Bobby, Tilt malt liquor and burnt panckakes for breakfast, Laser's Big Top Wind Circus, an ill-fated mushroom hunt, and the debut of the Academy River Trailer.


Bobby's Duff Beer Hat

note bobby double-fisting his approxamately 13th and 14th beers

Lil' cutie pie just couldn't go the distance

forward recon mission of the Chancellor

Safe Sandy representz

Squintin' at them there rapids

Boats of varying size and quality

old prospector cabin at our campsite

The Colorado and Dolores


Some dear friends from Missouri, the Inescapable Eddy from Hell, The last voyage of Bip's veggie truck, an entire river rig loaded into the back of a Mazda hatchback, and an incredible shuttle through the La Sals back into CO (thanks to the Chancellor and the Academy)


Larry the Lobster


For those about to rock....

Heater gettin' biz on the oars

The Green A, Jones Hole Creek, and Fish N' Bikes


Ryan Van Buren, witnessing the explosive power of a full scale dam release at Flaming Gorge, Sonic Chili Fries, a Brittany Spears themed river log, slaying trout after trout after beautiful trout, Crane Fly Larva, closing down the Wells Club with Dody, playing dice in the hallway of Second Nature Uinta's headquarters, a taco'd bike wheel, squatting houses while we drink beer and wait for the rain to stop, and, most importantly, the introduction of Bud Light Lime.


"The MVP" (gee jay's mini-cooler)

flaming gorge dam at full throttle

Brittany Spears campsite


Beautiful Jones Hole Brown+ Handsome Angler

The Hole

The MVP dont care, MVP doesn't give a shit!

La Nina left us too much snow, all the fishing water in the Uintas was blown out. Might as well take some pictures with our useless rods anyway right?

A love affair is born

The San-diest of Juans


An Unexpected Party, down and out in Mexican Hat, A dead body in the river, Deon's canoe, the Heady Shroud, the return of the Darkhorse (and subsequently a budding romance), a cowboy swingin' steaks, and the Rise of Bud Light Lime!



The Barnacle in all his Glory!

Aye Aye Daddy Cat!

Captain Murtaugh


a long awaited visit from two champion bike tourers, a shaggy muppet name Geoff Demitz, Marcus Cline telling us the scariest waterfall iv'e ever seen in my life is Class 3, WATCHING A GOLDEN EAGLE TAKE OUT A GREBE IN FLIGHT!, and Alisha Waller sticking her arm elbow deep down the throat of said avian casualty.


it's a tie between the Grebe and Geoff


Dylan, determined to beat everyone in how much time his paddle spends in the water

El Beardo!

Get it Sheesh!

Till next season....

-Rossetta Stone