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Unexpected fun

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Over the years I have often found the best nights out to be those that are the least expected, but how often does this happen when skiing.

Stopping in Frisco this March I was woken at 4am on my second last day by parts of the roof flying off my motel due to 90mph winds, it was that bad that I got dressed expecting the worse.

Eventualy they eased a little but at breakfast the forecast was still for 85mph winds at Breckenridge resort level with over 100mph above the tree line.

Having resigned myself to a day wandering around the bars and shops I thought what the hell I don't want to lose a days skiing and on the chance that one of the lower lifts might be operating I caught the bus up to Breck.

I found most of the lifts closed but the main lift on peak 9 was working (probably to avoid refunding lift tickets).

The trip up was horrendous with the wind directly into your face and even though I don't believe it was as strong as the forecast it was physically difficult to get out of the chair at the top due to the strength.

What followed was one of the most fun days skiing I have ever had.

With the wind blowing directly down the piste it was picking up the snow which was flowing down the piste at waist depth and with the sun breaking through it was a surreal experience akin to skiing in a flowing river.

With the weather being so bad this also kept a lot of people at home and I had a fantastic day with near empty slopes and the pain and pleasure stimulation of first the truly awfull chair lift followed by the exilleration of the amazing conditions to follow.

At the end of the day I was absolutely knackered with severly protesting knees but what a fantastic and unexpected day.

Has anyone else enjoyed a similar experience when things have looked less than hopefull?
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Stephen Sadler, you're an optimist! It usually works the other way around.... I was caught with 8 year old in a sudden and completely unexpected storm at the farthest extreme of the Orcières Merlette resort once. Ok not a huge ski area, but it made no difference that day. I mention this because the wind/blizzard was doing the same thing - but in the opposite direction! Visibility was near zero, all the lifts came to a sudden stop, there were no pisteurs that could reach us, and if you tried to ski anything with less than a 30 degree gradient you went backwards. Not that you could see more than a foot or two anyway. It took us nearly two hours to work our way back down a 2 km, and relatively easy red (Les Lacs) - one which fortunately we knew very well.

Now when things look less than hopeful I stay in bed!
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Stephen Sadler, I have not had as dramatic an experience as yours. Often bad days just turn out to be bad days! But Unexpected Fun when Things Have Looked Less Than Hopeful does happen on those seemingly ghastly days when there is cloud right down in the resort Sad , maybe with a bit of drizzle Crying or Very sad , but when you go up the Gondola/Cable Car (as happened recently in Courmayeur) you go through the clouds to blue skies and sunshine Very Happy . Great days.
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I think that by nature most skiers have a "pint half full rather than half empty" outlook on life however on that particular day I was pretty resigned to missing a days skiing so what transpired gave me a tremendous buzz.
The next day was the beginning of the hot spell that they have had in Colorado with warm temperatures and a bluebird sky - heaven.
I think that this contrast also added to the experience.
Having said that your experience sounds less than fun and highlights the fact that as well as the usual hazards of skiing it is as well to keep an eye on the weather.

Whilst on this subject I was at Cairngorm a couple of years ago and used the funicular which had just opened and I was pretty surprised at the conditions they were dropping you off in at the top.
Usually high winds keep you out of exposed areas when chairs have to stop operating and Cairngorm in a blizzard with white out conditions can be (is) a dangerous place.
I do a lot of hill walking in Scotland and am aware of the risks and I would not have gone up there in those conditions if I was walking.
I did in fact meet a fully equipped walker (ice axe etc) who had come off the mountain because he felt it was to dangerous.
I don't have any answers to this but certainly if I had small children particulary I would think twice before taking them to the summit in similar conditions.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Stephen Sadler, I was excited to read about your wonderful day at Breck; I'm sorry I missed it!

It got me to thinking of my favorite ski conditions: snow coming down like crazy, already 12" or more deep on the trails, and a bit of wind blowing. All of the fair weather skiers head home (or stay home), and I take to the slopes with abandon. It is so quiet, and you can ski anywhere, since the snow covers everything.

I had a day like this a few years ago at Loveland Basin (at the Continental Divide, Loveland actually spans over the Eisenhower Tunnel) with two of my very good friends. With 18"+ on the ground when we arrived, it snowed all day. We'd ski a run, then ride back up and watch our tracks disappear! There were maybe a couple hundred skiers on the entire mountain that day, and we very rarely crossed tracks with any of them.

An Epic day! snowHead snowHead snowHead snowHead
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 You'll need to Register first of course.
You'll need to Register first of course.

Steve knowing how you ski you would probably have found my fun day "pants" (good old Burnley adverb) but Loveland sounds good if I hadn't seen how steep it is.
I must stop posting after a night out in Burnley but what the heck. Madeye-Smiley
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Ok - its maybe not quite the raging storms you guys have experienced but I had a fantastic final day in Les Arcs this year on Sat 7th Feb.
Snowy day at the end of the holiday - and the fair weather skiers decided to stay in the chalet. The rest of us were divided into 2 groups - experts who went up plagnettes lift to the top of the resort, and me with my beginner snowboarder friend who decided to stay low. Whereas the guys who went high had no visibility and a crap day, it was one of the best ever days for me and Laura. Snow was falling and the pistes were empty and powdery - lots of fun. Theres an unmarked red (PG you probably know it - left of Chalet des Arcs restaurant) which isn't very long - but great for Laura's confidence and for me to practice my powder turns! Loved it!!!! Laughing
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