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Hello Winter my Old Friend

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The post apocalyptic genre of fiction typically involves roaming bands of cannibalistic marauders (The Road and Road Warrior) chasing down Earth’s last good man through a dusty landscape robbed of all fertility. We’ve experienced that end-of-days dread these past few months. The warm dawn of Nuclear Winter. Skiers moping around like Cormac McCarthy on Percocet.


And then the cursed ridge of high pressure dissipates and the storms stack up off the coast again (our coast), and everything is right with the world once more. Five feet in Lake Tahoe. Three in Utah with another foot on the way. Wet snow sticking to talus and crushing rotten crystals in Wyoming. Refresher storm after refresher storm in Colorado. Fully operational ski areas in New England. Winter is back.


Over the past four days I was lucky enough to catch that transformation first hand in Utah’s Wasatch Range. My first powder turns of this slow-to-start season came at Solitude on Sunday. Our group caught the rope drop in the Powderhorn zone. The lust that I’d blocked from my mind came flooding over me. On Monday we ski toured with a crew from Dynafit to inspect the high hazard conditions in the backcountry. A four-foot deep snow pit told the tale. Three and a half feet of new and wind-loaded snow on top of a duff of depth hoar—snow so rotten from extended high pressure that it flows through your hands like course salt. We stayed in the safety of the dense aspen grove on the ski out.


By Tuesday we were claiming rope drops and first turns on at Snowbird’s Peruvian and Gad 2 lifts. Here too, the snow came in with some weight to it. Glomming on to root and stone. Burying all memory of the nuclear winter that almost was.  —Marc Peruzzi


Storm Totals:

Squaw Valley, CA / 42 inches / squaw.com

Mammoth Mountain, CA / 57 inches / mammothmountain.com

Mt. Baker, WA / 105 inches / mtbaker.us

Crystal Mountain, WA / 88 inches / crystalmountainresort.com

Aspen/Snowmass, CO / 18 inches / aspensnowmass.com

Crested Butte, CO / 33 inches / skicb.com

Snowbird, UT / 50 inches / snowbird.com

Jackson Hole, WY / 60 inches / jacksonhole.com

Sun Valley, ID / 35 inches / sunvalley.com

Sunday River, ME / 8 inches / sundayriver.com

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