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Spirit Mt 23-24


bigwavedave

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Spirit is open Thurs-Fri-Sat this week for season pass pick-up. Just picked mine up! Last year they couldn't print passes until opening day and the lines were huge. No line today.

Russ and I rode bikes up to the base of Spirit to ride the DWP trail yesterday and saw that the snow guns are in position at the bottom of the hill. Unfortunately, there is no sign of winter in the near future. Might be a late start this year.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 11/22/2023 at 1:50 PM, bigwavedave said:

Snowmaking has begun. I saw piles of snow from top to bottom on BindleStiff this morning. The weather looks good for making snow for at least the next several days.

Can't remember the last time Spirit didn't have at least one run open by Thanksgiving. 

 

i checked out buck yesterday (thanksgiving) morning. thought for sure they'd be making snow. nothing.

i imagine they'll be blowing today.

the weather has been warmer this time of season. i remember there were times when buck would open early in november.

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Spirit opened today after just 4 days of snowmaking.  One run (Bindle Stiff) is open from the top down to the express lift. Plus it's snowing! I didn't plan to go up today. The coverage is reportedly thin and it looks too busy to get any satisfying turns on one crowded, narrow run. 

With the warm weather, I haven't even bothered to sort out my equipment yet. I guess it's time. Looks like winter has finally arrived.

@bobble I'm surprised Buck didn't open. In past years, I remember seeing them go from bare ground to opening in 24 hrs.

......later this afternoon I went up to check it out. Looks like nice quality snow. The temps & dew points must be near ideal. They're now blowing snow on 3 more runs, ScissorBill, 4Pipe and Skyhooker. Apparently there was park hardware set up on the only open run today, so probably not great for carving turns. Word is (from the website) that they will be open next F-S-S, hopefully with new terrain open. 

...and mother Superior is making snow inda u.p.

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Blowing all day yesterday and last night. The daytime temps are above freezing now and for the next several days, but it should be good for making snow at night. Hoping more terrain will be open Friday. Looks like the rope tow park is ready. That should reduce traffic and hopefully remove the hardware from other runs.

It doesn't look much different from yesterday morning, except they've started grooming lower 4Pipe and an XC loop...ahh, the website says nordic tails open at noon today.

....rode the fat bike up to the DWP trail. There's about 1k of XC trail nicely groomed in the woods. Probably the only xc trail with snow within a days drive.

I think there's a good chance they'll add ScissorBill this weekend. Here's the bottom of 4Pipe, ready for grooming. It got up to 40° today.

 

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Friday

Slept late, so only made it to the bottom of the hill just in time for 1st chair. BindleStiff and Skyhooker open. Express and Summit chairs spinning.

Conditions were mixed. There was near perfect carving snow at the top section next to the rope tow park. The main body of the runs were a mix of crunchy-hard and loose-gravelly snow/ice.  The bottom run-out to the lift was super soft and slarvey, like shaved ice and making 4"+ deep trenches. 

ScissorBill opened at 11:00 and was freshly groomed soft and slarvey shaved ice.

They were blowing snow on 4Pipe all morning.

It felt good to get out and make some turns. :1luvu: 

Rode my smallest, turnyest, most compliant gecko-plated board--the Contra 166 xtra rubber "ice" board.

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Made it to the top just before the first chairs arrived at the top and managed to make tracks down ScissorBill ahead of the masses. The snow was much better for carving today. Same 3 runs open. Still blowing snow on 4Pipe. I only made it for an hour before it got too crazy. There were XC races at the bottom and alpine (ski) race teams buzzing around everywhere else. The upper parking was overflowing when i left. I saw several softbooters working on carving skills. Maybe this whole carving thing is gonna catch on. :lurk:

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They were back to blowing snow again last night, but it looks like continued touch & go snowmaking weather for the next several days.

^^^I updated the aerial (drone) picture a few posts up^^^^ 

We had an inch of wet snow the other day and you can see it in the photo highlighting all the bike/hike trails that pass through the area. The lower one is the DWP (Duluth/Winnipeg/Pacific) old rail trail. The upper trail traversing the hill is the old Skyline Parkway which was diverted for the ski area development.

4Pipe looks close and they moved snowmaking over to Gandy. Probably need it for races this weekend. I might get crazy and hike up tomorrow and do some slush slarving. The forecast is calling for temps in the mid 40's and sunny.

:angryfire El Niño :angryfire

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2 hours ago, MNSurfer said:

Do you know the crew of the Ocelot?

I don't think so. What kind of boat do they sail?

I spend most of the summer sailing the Canadian shore where encountering another sailboat (or anyone else) is a rare occurrence, as rare as seeing another hardbooter on the hill. 

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And now back to regular programming...

Friday

No snowmaking for a couple of days due to warm temps. Went up for 1st tracks this morning. Made the 1st run down newly opened 4Pipe with nice spring-like conditions, about 40° and overcast. 2" deep trenches in slushy ice crystals. A couple of carvers on the hill, @rwmaron and a new guy (Ian) in soft boots on a Japanese style K2 surf-carver making nice carved turns. 

After 1½ hours it started to get a little busier and was getting a bit rutted up, so I called it a day. XC races at the bottom all weekend. Best to park at the top.

Rode the Geckoed 166 Contra to start and then the Thirst XC with my modified Gecko style plates. The XC was the better ride by far in today's conditions.

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Saturday

Overcast and 40°. Got to the top before opening. The parking was already packed. Parking at the bottom was reserved for the XC races.

I made 1 free run before the lift started. Snow was a nice carvable slushy groom, similar to yesterday. Same 4 runs open.

I was trying a new set-up and stopped to make an adjustment. By the time I got back on the slope it was ridiculously busy and then it started to drizzle. I left after ½ hour.

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Tuesday

Regular winter hours started today...Tues-Sun 10am-8pm. (open Monday on holidays only)

It rained most of the day last Saturday and then temps dropped into the 20's. They've been making snow 24hr/day since. 4Pipe is almost full width and they're blowing on Gandy. XC races at the bottom again today.

The grooming was nearly seamless. A significant improvement from last year, although conditions were quite variable. It was a nearly impenetrable hard frozen groom with a dusting of wind blown. A dry chalky, grippy snow (as in slow). Trenches were  ¼" deep at best. There were areas with deeper windblown snow. I found a nice lane down the right side of 4Pipe next to snowmaking where 1" deep trenches were possible. Rode for 2hrs on the Geckoed 166 Contra ice. Despite the Geckos, I was still getting bounced around by bumps in the frozen groom.

1st sunny day in awhile, but with a big west wind. Typical weekday morning traffic, no lines and lots of room to carve.

Planning to be out 1st thing tomorrow.

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1st tracks from the top. Sunny, 25°, no wind. Near perfect seamless groom on 4Pipe making trenches 1" deep. I think they groomed it just before opening because it firmed up later. @khoward was on it!

image2(2).jpeg.bc446c8badbaa71e27e13e772aca8ae5.jpeg

Typical Minnesota firm

Rode 3 different boards, all plated, starting with the small (Geckoed Contra 166) then medium (171 Thirst XC w/ modified gecko style plates) and large (Rev 175 w/F-plate). The hill got rutted up pretty quick with most everyone gravitating to the run with the best snow.

Rode for 2 hours. Same 4 runs open. Typical weekday morning with lots of room to carve. Still making snow on DoubleJaw and Gandy. It's gonna warm up again and then rain on Friday. 

I'll be out tomorrow.

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Thurs

1st tracks again! What are the chances? :ices_ange Another sky blue sky sunny day. :1luvu: ...and warm, 32° to start and mid 40's when I quit after 3 hrs. The usual weekday crew for the first hour or so, and then they disappeared. :ph34r: Wide open hill with the best snow and grooming so far this season.

image2(2).jpeg.78010f4f37ad75c25ebac1f8a5d84cef.jpeg

Rode 3 boards again starting on the 166 Contra with bumpers removed from the outer fingers of the Geckos (I liked it better, more flexy and turny and still enough shock absorbtion, but less pop). Then rode the XC untill my legs couldn't resist the G's in the turns any more.  So, I decided to switch to Russ's Thirst CC+ and found renewed endurance riding with a more relaxed stance on the 23cm wide board. Man, I fell in love, :1luvu: I'm gonna keep it. :eplus2:

They're still calling for significant rain over the next 2 days. :mad:

 

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Saturday

30 hrs of steady light rain, maybe an inch or so? (I need a rain gauge for this new winter reality). Fog and temps in the 40's. Despite the rain & fog, Spirit is open today (also yesterday) and reports that they opened GandyDancer today. It's probably decent spring snow conditions, but it's still intermittent drizzle and foggy. Just can't find enthusiasm to go out today.

Researching optimum edge bevels for slitting my wrist if this weather keeps up.

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16 hours ago, bigwavedave said:

Saturday

30 hrs of steady light rain, maybe an inch or so? (I need a rain gauge for this new winter reality). Fog and temps in the 40's. Despite the rain & fog, Spirit is open today (also yesterday) and reports that they opened GandyDancer today. It's probably decent spring snow conditions, but it's still intermittent drizzle and foggy. Just can't find enthusiasm to go out today.

Researching optimum edge bevels for slitting my wrist if this weather keeps up.

rained early morning down here. i believe buck hill still opened.  i had other things to do. 

looks like a brown christmas this year but i do believe in christmas miracles.

in fact yesterday i was digging around my box of binding parts and discovered i had a brand new set of Fintecs. i forgot i bought these.

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Tuesday  sunny 25°

Went up to the top for first tracks. Surprisingly, it was not as horrible as it could have been after the rain and warm temps. Still, it was a crunchy hard, yet nearly seamless groom. :biggthump  I only lasted about an hour, not including a couple of breaks to try different Gecko configurations on the Contra 166. Took one run on the CC+ and could really feel how rough it was without Geckos underfoot. It was fast. A third of my turns were skidded to control speed, especially when trying to link big turns. Quick edge-to-edge fall-line turns were the way to go, but that gets old fast.

I saw one serious softboot carver on the hill doing aggressive fall-line carves. Wearing a POC helmet, riding a white board (Kessler?) with a bunch of stickers on it. Had the look of an FIS level BX racer, likely home for Xmas holiday. 

They've been blowing snow since yesterday, mainly on BlueRuin, DoubleJaw and have started on JugularJoe, TimberC and Bear. 

2 more days of snow making weather before the next warm-up.

 

 

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Wed

Made 2 or 3 runs (I lost count) :freak3: this afternoon when temps got above freezing with a bit of sun. Still playing with Gecko variations. Conditions are still rough with hard, chunky snow--a good day to have plates underfoot.

DoubleJaw opened today.

You know you're not having enough fun when the highlight of the day is a young skier pointing at my alpine set-up asking, "How scary is that?", and I say, "Very". :eplus2: :eek:

Rode the 166 Contra and the Thirst XC. The 171 XC has a significantly longer ee and smoothed out the bumps mo-betta. We really need some natural snow on top of this now rock hard 2-3 foot thick base of rain soaked man-made.

We've only had about 2" of snow so far this winter and there is presently none on the ground beyond the artificial stuff on the slopes. 

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