https://www.powsurf.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/07.jpg 360 480 Jeremy Jensen https://www.powsurf.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/grassroots-powdersurfing-logo.svg Jeremy Jensen2011-05-21 22:28:002012-11-29 05:56:16Alta is for Powsurfing
Late season snowstorms and cold temps were back in full swing in late May. I was due to leave for Kauai on a surf filming mission this weekend so I decided to leave a day early in hopes of bagging some late season pow at the bird. It had been dumping hard for 3 days and snowbird was due to open up on friday with 30 new inches. I woke up stoked and I waited patiently for the road to open after the avy control had finished up. The road opened on schedule and just as I was about to race to the car the bad news hit… Snowbird was not going to open today because of too much snow! They have been running weekends only for the past few weeks so they had not kept up with their avalanche control work and they decided it was too dangerous to open that day. I was pretty pissed after driving all the way from Logan and getting my hopes up to slash 3 feet of pow in late May.
I settled down and got on the phone to everybody I knew in the area to try to find a buddy to go hike some powsurf lines with. I had brought a couple of extra powsurfers with me for friends to ride. Nobody was into it. Who could resist a waist deep pow day in late May?! So I went at it alone. Not the smartest thing to do given all the red flags of the day – snowbird choosing not to open, 3 feet of new snow in May, potential for major warming…etc. However, 20 years shredding the backcountry has taught me that safe travel is still possible if you’re smart about it.
Luckily, Alta had been running their snowcats and had been grooming throughout the week so I didn’t have to hike in waist deep snow. I marched up the groomer passing ski supremacist hippies left and right. (Alta is a “skier only” resort, snowboards are forbidden)
I love hiking with the powsurfers becasue they are so light and minimalistic. Of course I get all the awkward looks from people muttering things like “what the hell is that?” and “how do you ride down without bindings”…. I reply with “it’s a powdersurfer” and “gravity”. Some people are intrigued and stoked at the concept and some people can’t quite fathom it (especially your average hippy at Alta). They get all sorts of confused when you blow by them on the ride down.
Balls deep at 10,000 feet
Top of Collins Chair – Strictly Forbidden area for snowboarders
Looks like I’m authorized
Visibility was pretty poor so I decided the trees beneath the Collins chair were a good bet for good pow and better vis. The wind was raging so I quickly gave praise and dropped in for a warm up run. I knew it was going to be pretty deep but I didn’t expect it to be nearly waist deep.
After a short warm up run it was on! Conditions were epic – even for mid winter. Now where to go?
I ripped a bunch of lines down “sunspot” under the collins chair. Nicely spaced trees kept the pow safe from the wind and the visibility good. The snowpack was so high that I nearly hit my head on the chairs as I slashed by them.
After 5 runs on the upper mountain I was spent. I headed for one of my favorite zones at Alta for my lower descent. The Wildcat zone holds some sick steep shots with tons of features to launch off of. I had to do some trailblazing in waist deep snow to get there but it was well worth the effort. The snow was pretty saturated on the lower mountain so I needed a good steep run. Although the snow was not as good down here, this was still the funnest run of the day. Super steep chutes with fun buttons left and right- all the way down to the parking lot.
Faceshots galore, fun bumps everywhere, I was in powsurf heaven. I left super stoked to get a nice deep pow day that could be the last of the season. 10 hrs later I hopped on a flight to Kauai and spent the next 10 days soaking in the sun, surfing, and chilling out in a tropical paradise. Pretty epic ender to another epic season.
Peep the footy below!