Today was A+ on the solo shred tip. Between 5 and 9 inches of new snow last night, depending on where you were on the mountain, gave way to a few hours of sunshine this morning and the snow was ripping.
I went up early and scored first chair on Christie Peak, instead of getting on the Gondola. I just cruised the cat tracks down to Thunderhead, slashing the sides up and popping little airs. The snow quality was already impressing me. Jumped on the chair and did a lap from the top to the bottom of Thunderhead, straight Hollywood shredding under the lift. Man, that is one of my favorite runs to get if you're lucky enough to be first on a powder day. Steep with plenty of moguls and natural shapes on the sides and groomed down the middle. (Not to mention the trees on either side of the run.) I chose the skier's right side and had an incredible first run down, catching solid, worthy air at least a half dozen times. I was breathing so hard when I hit the maze at the bottom of the lift. When I got on the chair, an old timer next to me says, "You must've just come down Concentration." I proudly got to show off my line as we went back up the mountain. We both agreed that Pony Express was the next lift to go to but parted company and I continued my solo mission. I ripped down to Pony under the Burgess Creek lift line, ducking in and out of the trees, and starting my line off with a fun, little 10-foot drop off the cat track. The snow was great and I got to be the first one down my favorite way through this section.
Pony Express was great, as well. Took a couple laps on Pioneer Ridge, enjoying the steep, pine tree pitches and open fields that make this area so fun. A few people out charging the same areas, but I had no problem getting fresh lines here. Plenty of natural shapes to pop off of and the snow was perfect for landings. I did take one good tumble on my way over to Burgress Creek chair. I spent a couple minutes regrouping, cleaning out my goggles and brushing off the snow. Then, made my way to BC so I could go over to a south facing side of the ski area.
Until now, it had been a little cloudy but I dropped into the Elkhead trees just as the sun came out. I was the first person here, as well. The snow on this side of the mountain was more spring-like, wet and slushy, but, of course, super good and new. I had an amazing run through the trees, coming out under the liftline and went straight to the bottom of Elkhead to get on and go back up. I ended up making four more laps through here, just owning the area. Nobody was doing this side and I took full advantage and just kept going back and going top to bottom over and over and over. Sunny as all hell and fairly steep with aspens on the entire pitch make this a beautiful and fun area to ride. The snow is just deep enough under the lift now to ride underneath it, and I couldn't resist taking one from top to bottom under the lift most of the way. I heard a few "woo-hoos" of approval coming from the chair on a couple of occassions. :)
After an hour-plus of spring snow, I went back over to Thunderhead to hit up some more north facing pitches. The snow here was still cold and more winter-like powder and I was stoked to be riding such varied conditions in one day. That's March for you. I got to launch off a favorite rock of mine on Vagabond and quickly cut over to do some trees on the skier's left side. Super sick line of untouched snow through here had me super pumped. Big rocks and landings had me super tired. At the bottom, I got back on Thunderhead and decided to take one more lap. At the top, I went into the gondola building to "recharge" my gloves and goggles (dry them out). Feeling refreshed, I took my last run of the day (morning! it was only 11:30am)down through the trees again and caught some fun airs once I got back onto the ski run.
All in all, an A+ morning of hard riding that got me unbelievably tired. In my usual style, I didn't even bother going to top of Storm Peak since I had no trouble finding good lines on lower mountain. It's nice to ride by yourself sometimes because you get to go wherever you want and if you session one area for a while, like I did under Elkhead, it doesn't get all tracked up. Except by you.
Solo mission: accomplished.
Whooped, I cleaned up and spent the afternoon hanging with Jonny B and Creeps at Slopeside, soaking in the sun, drinking a few pitchers of free beer and eating pizza. It certainly doesn't suck to be a local in a ski town.
Tomorrow, looking forward to a splitboard mission into Fish Creek Falls area with Matty G! Doesn't look like I'll be running this weekend.