Unexpected Storm Delivers at The Canyons

03.16.08 by Kendall Card

I had planned on skiing with my friend Brian the other day at The Canyons. When I woke there was a couple inches at most at my house near Park City. I scoffed, my powder snob attitude from this record season making me think twice about keeping my ski commitment when during any other season I would have jumped at the chance to ski fresh powder regardless of it’s depth. Ski Utah Snow ReportMy thought was that they likely got little new snow overnight. The funny thing was Brian was rationalizing the same thing, considering calling off our morning ski plans.

Then I checked the SkiUtah.com snow report and this is what I saw: (image to the right)

As I scanned the report these were my thoughts:

“Alta – 7″ yea, not bad, could be scratchy underneath in spots…Brian Head, 0″, no love for the south….Brighton 10″, nice, a Big Cottonwood storm, westerly flow likely….The Canyons 10″!?, whoa, could it be true? wow, 10″, but where? 9990? hmmm….Deer Valley, 8″….Snowbasin, 6″…Snowbird, only 5″? interesting…Solitude, 10″, looking good. I guess The Canyons is the call”

I threw in my all mountain skis and left the big powder skis home. After all, it’s only 10″, not nearly enough for the fat skis.

While riding up the gondola I was with two couples who were looking over the trail map, wondering where to go. So I passed the time giving them a full run down of what to expect, where to go, what runs would suit their preferences, telling them that the long groomers with a couple inches on top of them may be the ticket today given a possible dust on crust scenario in many places.

At the top of the gondola I met Brian and we pushed off towards the Tombstone lift. Starting down Chicane I tested the sides of the run only to realize it was boot deep everywhere and deeper in select spots. Riding up Tombstone Lift with a small handful of people around only confirmed that the report was indeed wrong…there was definitely more than 10″ of new snow.

Finding Powder on Peak 5 at The Canyons Resort

We hit runs like Diamond Ridge and Paradise which were both unbelievable. Then we tested Lightning which as a south facing slope is rarely super deep like it was for us. The day kept getting better.
It’s not like Tombstone was skied out given the handful of skiers but we headed towards Peak 5 while waiting for 9990 to open.

Peak 5 was another great call. Two quick laps in Mystic Pines had me giggling with joy and unbelief. Given the banner year we headed for the double black diamond run of “The Abyss”. It’s a tough area to ski regardless of how advanced you are as rocks and trees guard the upper section of the run. Once you make your way down the chutes you’re likely to find face shots as your reward, just like we did.

My photos weren’t the best as I only had my camera phone but skiing The Canyons with this much new snow didn’t lend itself for stopping much. Just then, 9990 opened and we headed up. What was boot high to knee deep on Tombstone was now knee deep to face shots on 9990. It was then that I regretted not bringing the fat skis.

Tombstone Lift’s Paradise Chutes yeild a nice bounty of untracked powder at The Canyons

The next hour or so of repeated laps was accompanied by an intense snowstorm that filled in tracks and kept stoke levels spiked. And we had only scratched the surface. We had only skied 3 of the 11 upper mountain lifts. I’m sure a mile to the north and nearly 3000+ acres away on the Condor Lift conditions were more of the same. Acreage at The Canyons certainly does have its privileges.

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+tristanwebb