What Skiers Do When The Snow Sucks


I’m going to give it to you straight: It doesn’t matter how much snow fell in the Wasatch 10 days ago. Those conditions are LONG GONE. Even Powderchasers hasn’t posted a report in over a week. The National Weather Service news for Little Cottonwood Canyon whines “temp trends will continue to climb markedly. High pressure will nose a little south/east through Sunday allowing an increasing/warming southwesterly flow aloft to develop…with temps spiking to between +5 and +7 C at 700mb Sunday afternoon.” NO BUENO. The snow sucks.

If we’re lucky we may see a slight bit of snow Tuesday – Friday but forecasters aren’t feeling confident and it could just turn into rain/mist. And so it’s more like summer in the mountains. Ski days are limited to east and south facing slopes after 10, moving to sunny everything else in the afternoon, done by 2 or 3 before everything turns to mush. It’s no wonder I’m seeing cyclists and rockclimbers everywhere. People are finding alternative ways to love March and the last week of winter.

I found myself doing the same. My friend Mark called and asked if I wanted to climb. I felt conflicted for all of about three minutes. I could sit around moping and wishing for winter or I could get outside and play a different way. Plus, my dog was getting fat and lazy. He needed out as well.

The weather was stellar- bluebird skies, warm sun and not a drop of snow or mud on the trail up to the Hard Wall in American Fork Canyon. I wore my new Kari Traa base layer as an outer layer and packed a puffy just in case the sun had me fooled. Nope, I could have worn a T-shirt.

It felt awkward climbing in March. Normally, I’m struggling on 5.9s around May. But after today, I find myself looking forward to climbing season. Shame on me. I promise to get out to Alta on Sunday but in the meantime, a stop into Momentum Climbing Gym may just be on the agenda for Saturday.


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