February 15, 2005
So how deep was it???
The drive down proved a bit exciting. I-90 through eastern Idaho and Western Montana was icy and snowy. The plows seem to have been caught off guard and so were many motorists. We passed about a dozen cars, trucks and trailers in the ditches alongside the road. All the while in our truck, whoever was not driving was trying to get an Internet signal and track the storm that was heading just south.
Finally yesterday around 3pm we felt sure that Targhee was the place to go. According to The Weather Channel, The Wyoming Avalanche Center and Intellecast, the brunt of the storm was heading there and not into Utah, which was our other destination. We pulled up to Grand Targhee Resort around 4pm and decided to just check to see if they had any ski and stay packages that would make a night in a hotel feasible for us.
The view from Targhee.
As it turns out Targhee is a really reasonable resort. A refreshing twist on the super-conglomerate, highfaluting, mega resort areas in Colorado and Utah. Why, you can pull right up to the base of Targhee at a respectable hour, the night before Valentine’s Day and get a slope side room for $59.00. Since neither of us had come up with a way to carry a dozen roses in the camper, we decided this would have to substitute. We fell asleep under heavy down comforters, with snow falling outside and in our own beds, (Valentine ’s Day or not the chance to sprawl out in a queen size bed all by ourselves was too much to forgo for the sake of romanticism).
I am not a fan of Valentine’s Day. A socially prescribed day of flower and chocolate buying isn’t my idea of showing my husband that I adore him. That said, today was my best ever Valentine’s day.
This morning we awoke to 7” of fresh on top of the 7” they’d gotten the day before. We were ecstatic! Powder, lovely, soft, forgiving powder, I had almost forgotten how good it is. We got second chair (seems there are some really die-hard locals there who beat us to the first one) and rode beautiful gladed, mellow, powder fields all day long. The lodge where we spent the night has a lobby complete with fireplace, overstuffed chairs and free cocoa, we made frequent visits to it, since it was really cold out. After riding from 9-4 we took a quick soak in the hot tub and now we are off for Utah.
Dan riding at Targhee.
Tuesday, February 15, 2005
Before I can really tell you about our day today you need to understand a little bit about snow. If you ski you have heard about Champagne Powder. Well here’s what that really means. There is a method for determining how light snow is, to do this you measure the water content. An area or an avalanche center, will measure the snow in a cylindrical container, the container is capable of assessing the inches of water in the snow. So if 10” fall and the water content is 1” then you divide 1” by 10” and you get 10% snow. Champagne is generally thought to be anything less than 10% snow. So basically the lower the percentage the lighter, and by my way of thinking the better, the snow.
If you are not familiar with the sensation of riding in Champagne then know this, it can make even the biggest hack feel like they are a rock star on the slopes. A single day of riding in Champagne Powder has resulted in throngs of people abandoning friends, family and careers to ski the rest of their lives. Today we skied 17” of 5% snow. In scientific terms this is known as heaven.
The shiny crystals you see here are surface hoar. The winter equivelant of dew. It forms on cold clear nights, and leads to blue bird days. Surface hoar is what makes snow sparkle on days like today.
Unfortunately our fantastic day comes at a hefty price. I am not referring to the $30 lift tickets (really a screaming deal) or the $9.00 lunch (also a screaming deal), but to the debt we now owe to the person who turned us onto Beaver Mountain. That person is the one person you never want to owe, Brother Pat. You see until very recently Pat lived in Logan, Utah. For years he’s been calling us and leaving messages like “you punks, hope you had fun skiing that inch over there in Colorado, I just rode 20 at the Beav.” Well until today I didn’t know how much of a dig this truly was. The Beav is fabulous! Too bad for Brother Pat, he lives in Moab now.
Here are some pictures from our great day.
Dan tuckin in the trees.
Me in my happy place.
One of the runs takes you trough an old burn area.
Me still happy.
This picture makes me smile, an untracked tree line, what's not to love. Even though this picture doesn't look very steep, I promise the trees at Beaver Mountain are really nicely pitched, making for fun fast turns.
Dan? Where'd you go?
Posted by Rachel Roberts at 5:30 PM