Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Helicopter skiing in utah

This winter has been really dissapointing for me which I've complained about in this blog a few times, but today...pretty much the whole season was made up for.

Skip the next 3 paragraphs if you just want the gist and see some pictures of our helicopter skiing adventure.

Dave P and I have been wanting to take a late season trip out, so I've been following the weather for the last 3 weeks or so, and nothing has cought our eye. It looked like there was going to be a storm sunday so we were going to follow it closely. I got back from canterbury saturday night at about 1am and looked at the weather and they weren't overly excited about the storm (the national weather service) so I talked to dave and dissapointingly told him it wasn't looking good, but we'd re-eval in the morning. I woke up and nothing had happened. I felt oddly tilted at limit holdem (it's been going well lately), so I decided to play some tourneys. I played them on my laptop which didn't have my weather bookmars, so with all the comotion of playing tournaments with a couple friends over I forgot to check the weather until 630pm. I looked, it had dumped and was dumping. I called dave and he was at his parents and hour out of the cities and the flight was going to be at 930. Hmmmmm. If we absolutely would have crunch timed it, we could have made it. Even though I'd thought of going, I wasn't remotely ready. I hadn't even showered for the day. We decided that getting in at 4am and trying to get up to ski at 7 would just be too much and we'd get to sleep earliesh and wake up and re-evaluate.

I woke up at about 11 and our dream was coming true. It had snowed like 14 inches so I called dave and said hey buddy, we're going. 745 flight. Quick layover in denver and We'll get in about midnight and it'll be sweet. He was in. I looked a little more in depth into the weather and it had now snowed about 18" but had stopped and was going to be nice and calm until tuesday night. My brain started churning. At the beginning of this season I told myself I was going to go helicopter skiing and it's april and I hadn't so I thought I'd call the outfit out here on the offchance they have an opening. It is april after all. 6 seats left. OMGOMGOMG I called dave and he told me he'd think about it and call me back in a few minutes. He called back and we decided we only live once. Lets do it. I called the powder-bird back and we were booked!

We fell asleep at about 130 or 2 and had our alarms set for 7. It was suprisingly easy to get up even though we were tired...the excitement had pretty much taken over.

We got picked up at 7:50 and had breakfast along with the orientation. They give you an avalanche beacon (used to find you if you're buried). There were 22 other people there, broken up into 4 people per guide, 8 people per group. They fit 4 people + the guide in the helicopter per ride then they go get the other 5 people and then you ski together.

You get dropped off on a tiny ridge, sometimes a rocky tiny ridge, that if you were foolish or not careful you could definitely fall a longggg way and hurt yourself/kill yourself. You pop your skis on and the guide ski cuts the run to make any snow that's going to avalanche, slide and then sets a left most or right most line and you take turns going every minute or so to make it so only one skier is exposed at a time so if something does happen, it's only to 1 person.

The snow on most of the runs was incredible. Somewhere around 20 inches and untouched by anyone. Perfect turns and face shots galore. Almost all of the runs were "the best run i've ever taken" and man was it money well spent (about $1000). All those nights i've stayed up far later than I wanted playing in a game with a guy who's giving it away or just the day to day grind...I finally treated myself to something purely selfish and a little over the top. It is my birthday tomorrow, it's a little birthday present to myself.

Helicopter orientation
helicopter orientation

Helicopter landing
helicopter landing


Dave and others

runs from afar

first run from the top
First run

looking up
looking up

the tracks from some of our group
a run

another angle
another angle

dave ppppp
dave pppp

An oldschool silver mine from the olden days when there was a lot of silver mining in alta.
iron mine

A look back at snowbird. Our hotel in the middle
snowbird + cliff lodge

From the ridge, alta in the distance.

1 comment:

Devo said...

That's kick ass dude.