April 6, 2019

Flagstaff: Birthday Free-Ski Day

In my 28 years of living in the desert, this non-summer season, aka: winter, has been by far the most consistent by desert winter standards. There's been a steady stream of storms, cool to seasonal temps and really no heat outbreaks to speak of. This also meant that the Arizona Snowbowl had received a ton of snow this season. It had been a couple of years since my last ski day and wouldn't you know they offer a free lift ticket on your birthday. It's typically not good skiing conditions there on April 6th, but this year was different. There was still a reported 85" base!!

My plan was to head up in the morning and ski a half day, then do a ride to check out a possible AZT logging detour.
It was lightly snowing when I arrived. Yes, it's April in Arizona.
I didn't get on the lift until 11:30a (opened at 10a) which, in the past, would've never happened. I wasn't sure how my shins would respond since my last outing was rather painful. The boots are old and really need to be replaced, but they aren't exactly cheap!!

On my way up to the top I asked the guy I was riding with how the conditions were. He was a little surprised when I told him it was my first run, then almost slid off the lift when I told him it was my first run of the season!!

At the top, hovering at cloud level.
 I was barely halfway down my first run and my quads were screaming at me. Hmmm, how's this gonna go today? I took a couple short breaks, then made my way up the new high-speed 6-pack lift. Such a nice addition to the resort.
Even the terrain park has seen major improvements.

Where were all these cool features 15, 20, 25+ years ago when I could really rip into it??

There's a legitimate jump line too. Freakin' rad.

It felt really good to dust off the equipment.
By the third run, my legs had settled in and I was feeling good. My turns were getting less sloppy too!!
The legacy Agassiz fixed grip triple chair. Still finds its way to the summit.

Ski patrol at the top.

Highest toilet in Arizona?!? I've never noticed that sign in all the years of skiing here.

Overlooking downtown Flagstaff through the trees to the left. NAU's Walkup Skydome is visible.

A more westerly vantage point.

Humphrey's Peak finally breaking through the clouds.

On a sunny day, the North Rim of the Grand Canyon is a bit more contrasted on the horizon. Such a cool sight.

Arizona's highest point. You decide 12,634' or the 12,633' on the sign at the summit??

Soft snow at the bottom, a bit icy up top, but coverage was phenomenal for the first week of April in AZ. No complaints.

Time to pack up & begin the switch-over.

This is the connecting trail down to the AZT from Snowbowl.

I tried hiking to the AZT from Aspen Corner. I didn't make it too far as I began post-holing up to my knees. Still over 2 feet of snow in the area.

FR151 still closed to motorized traffic. This will be the snow detour in play for the AZTR750 riders.

Humphrey's Peak from US180.
It was a great mid-afternoon on the slopes. I skied non-stop for 3 hours, logging 8 runs. I was good with that. Now it was time to check out the proposed AZT logging detour... (See next post)


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