Archive for the ‘snowboard’ Tag

Architecture of Snowbird, Utah

I’ve been to Snowbird a handful of times, and aside from the amazing terrain, powder snow, and views, I was very interested in the buildings scattered around the base and the mountain. These are period pieces in classic Brutalist style, conceived in the mid-1960s and completed in the 1970s. Despite the seeming mismatch of lots and lots of concrete and wood, they strangely fit into the landscape, avoiding the often unexceptional, derivative nature of architecture at ski areas. Now architecture is normally not what one thinks of when going skiing, but I had to pause and explore some of these buildings in closer detail and loved what I saw.

I’ll also say a bit about the snow, my visit was timed with a moderate snowfall, with up to 6 inches accumulating overnight, and since some areas were closed until the avalanche danger eased, there were plenty of fresh tracks to be found. The crowds were minimal, despite being on a weekend, and there was no waiting in lines. The weather even cooperated on my second day there, as the sun came out. It’s a steep mountain, with lots of high speed lifts, and I probably got nearly 20000 meters of vertical over the course of two days. Fun! Incidentally, I purchased a Mountain Collective pass, which has been a good investment this year, especially now that the snow returned to the West.

The Road to Provo from the summit of Hidden Peak.

The Road to Provo from the summit of Hidden Peak.

The buildings are Brutalist, with no attempt at hiding the modernist roots and the architecture in vogue in the 1960s and 1970s. They reminded me of Louis Kahn, with the blend of concrete and wood, but are mixed in with plenty of dark, reflective glass. The master plan was completed in 1966, and the buildings were completed between 1971 and 1973, designed by Enteleki, Architecture, Planning, Research, and Brixen and Christopher architects (closed 2016).

The best building is probably the mid-mountain lodge, designed to withstand the elements, but also graced with wood beams that blend with the trees, and plenty of windows that allow for views of the mountains. Designed by Enteleki and completed in 1971, it looks clearly 1970s in the color scheme, but has weathered the 45 years very well. The entrance is a bit awkward though, with a ground level entrance splitting the lower level in half, and stairs lead up to the lodge level.

Mid-mountain lodge, harmonious.

Mid-mountain lodge, harmonious.

The base tram terminal shoots out of the ground like a church, but is a simply designed, logical structure that expresses exactly what it does. It’s unadorned form following function.

Lower tram terminal, with the Cliff Lodge in the background.

Lower tram terminal, with the Cliff Lodge in the background.

Closeup of the Cliff Lodge.

Closeup of the Cliff Lodge.

So even the distinguished architectural photographer Julius Shulman dropped by and took photos, it was that good!

At the top is the Summit at Snowbird, which opened on 26 December 2015, and is the least distinguished structure, resembling a bunker. The views from the balconies and from behind the reflective glass are amazing, but it stands out like a sore thumb on the summit of Hidden Peak. The restaurant and seating is nice, though, serving healthy food with a touch of class and even linen tablecloths! It does provide a necessary stopping point at the junction of the upper tram terminal and the Mineral Basin lift. This “entry column” evokes the concrete architecture of the other buildings, but the materials don’t quite fit in.

View from the Summit at Snowbird, not a bad place to have lunch.

View from the Summit at Snowbird, not a bad place to have lunch.

And the logos and fonts, they evoke the 1970s as well, large and clean, with the Snowbird “triangles” logo imprinted into many of the structures. This is a great 1970s period piece and remains fresh even today.

An excellent page with more info and photos can be found at the Salt Lake Modern website.

 

 

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Up in the air

I’ve been hopscotching the country this year. Just a few random photos from an eventful and thankfully happy period. New job, stuck in airports, wacky connections, going-away parties, powder, internet buddies, bureaucracy, barefoot days, exotic eats, beaches, deserts, mountains. Long may it last, but it probably won’t.

Hollywood Boulevard from one of LA's sky islands

Hollywood Boulevard from one of LA’s sky islands

Mission District, San Francisco

Mission District, San Francisco

Tahoe bachelor pad still life

Tahoe bachelor pad still life

The Sierra Nevada, Yosemite Valley in the foreground, Mono Lake on the right, and Lake Tahoe on the upper left.

The Sierra Nevada, Yosemite Valley in the foreground, Mono Lake on the right, and Lake Tahoe on the upper left.

The San Juans

The San Juans

Deep powder day at Wolf Creek

Deep powder day at Wolf Creek

Young and Sick mural, commissioned by Foster the People, downtown Los Angeles

Young and Sick mural, commissioned by Foster the People, downtown Los Angeles

Innsbruck, Austria

So I hit the roads and skies for a few weeks. Innsbruck has always been one of my favorite places to visit, a city of 150,000-ish people squeezed into a narrow valley between mighty mountains. It’s a strategic location, along a river, and at the foot of the Brenner Pass, the lowest pass between Austria and Italy. So there’s more than a hint of Italian flavor, mixed in with a large student population, and all sorts of outdoorsy folks hitting the slopes or trails on their lunch breaks. My kind of town indeed. It has that combination of history and beauty, while remaining a real city with its gritty corners and less beautiful neighborhoods. It’s authentic, in other words, fitting for the main city and administrative center in the Tyrol (Tirol).

I normally take the train, but this time I flew in and out, and having taken 500+ flights in my lifetime, this one is special. The flight paths pretty much graze the Alps at barely over 3000 meters, so you’re really up close and personal with the mountains for the first or last 10 minutes of flight. So here you go, some mountain porn for your viewing pleasure.

On the way in, just past the Zugspitze.

On the way in, just past the Zugspitze.

Around the Germany / Austria border

Around the Germany / Austria border

Also around the Germany / Austria border

Also around the Germany / Austria border

From the Patscherkofel looking up the Stubaital

From the Patscherkofel looking up the Stubaital

No architecture in this post, maybe I’ll write another one about the numerous interesting structures in town, along with some of the urban stuff.

Utah, greatest snow on earth?

Not this season, it has been looking more than a bit sparse. But regardless, I borrowed a board from Traveling Kiwi Andy, his well-loved Skate Banana 152, and headed OUT the door. First stop, Beaver Mountain, a small, rare mom-and-pop operation in the shadow of megaresorts elsewhere in the state. Yes, the owner sells the lift tickets, how about that? The resort is about 120 miles north of Salt Lake City, on US 89 northeast of Logan, right at the Idaho border, and it’s a very pretty drive.

The Wasatch Range, looking north from above Provo

Ski the Beav!

Road to Logan, UT

Next stop, Snowbird. It’s been a while since I was last here, and in addition to the snow, I have to admit paying attention to, and liking, the Brutalist structures scattered on the slopes. Normally ski resorts are not known for their buildings, but Snowbird’s 1970s structures are a nice mix of concrete and wood, tastefully done. The tunnel at the top of Peruvian is also nifty, with a nice accompaniment of 80’s music that makes me realize how old I am.

I hooked up with my buddy Dave, and got an insider’s tour of Snowbird, with a bit of off-piste stuff to find the last vestiges of powder, mixed in with leg-burning groomers and side hits. I couldn’t think of a better way of spending a sunny weekend day. We did refrain from poaching Alta, when will they allow snowboarding? And even better was wrapping up the day with mole at Red Iguana, despite the long wait outside (wearing flip-flops).

Dave, digging that burger

Alta, forbidden fruit!

Colorado and New Mexico, March-April 2010, part 1

Now that I’m unemployed (anyone want to hire a highly qualified biochemist?), I seem to have plenty of time on my hands.

So with the help of an Epic Pass, the string of Colorado resorts along or near the I-70 corridor are within financial reach.

March 30- After a 90 minute drive the night before from Albuquerque to Espanola, I drove the last 60 miles to Taos. This was my first legitimate spring riding day this season, with a cool breeze on the ridgeline, slush at the bottom, and one lousy last run down an icy Al’s run. I got on the road by around 4:30 PM and drove north along the spine of the Sangre de Cristos to Salida, CO. This is the wickedest range in Colorado, a jagged ridgeline rising 6000 feet from the San Luis Valley, somewhat reminiscent of the Sierras and the Owens Valley in California.

The Sangre de Cristos

March 31- Breckenridge, turned out to be the only nice day, packed powder at the top, with moderate winds, a bit icy in the middle and windy, and spring slush and warm temps at the bottom. It was a smooth drive from Salida with great views of the University Range, with the exception of a near wipeout on an icy spot on the hairpin turns of Hoosier Pass. Good times otherwise. They groom the resort perfectly, and the various rollers and hits are fun to bomb down. It’s not a steep mountain overall, though.

Mt. Princeton and Buena Vista, CO

Top of Imperial Express, Breckenridge, looking north

April 1- Beaver Creek, dust on some very rough crust in the morning, which became a whiteout by late morning, and continual snowfall and winds in the afternoon. The snowfall turned a crappy day into a great one, despite a broken binding that needed fixing. The bonus was getting over Vail Pass during that 45 minute window of being open, otherwise I would have been stuck in a shelter in Vail for the night. But the driving was downright hazardous.

Mid-afternoon break in the weather, Beaver Creek

April 2- Breckenridge, powder day in early April. No, not bottomless stuff, but still excellent. It was downright cold, though, luckily I packed the cold weather gear.

April 3- Breckenridge, this time it lived up to its moniker Breckenfridge. Rode the top lifts until it was shut down due to high winds in early afternoon. The crowds were minimal, nobody was riding the top lift, although the snow was excellent. Oh, and I think the reason why was the beerfest in town.

April 4- Keystone, okay half day, since I went all out the past five days. The sun finally came out, although it was still somewhat unsettled. Hooked up with another solo rider who showed me some of the goods in the woods. And he proceeded to take multiple bong hits, Keystoned indeed. Then it was back south towards New Mexico, via Climax, Leadville, Alamosa. . .

Leadville, CO

April 10- An afternoon at Ski Santa Fe, probably my last day this season, nothing exceptional, but it was outstanding snow cover for New Mexico, which had an excellent season, and I hiked the peak behind the top lift. It’s a 15 minute walk or so at 12,000+ feet, and, it looks like excellent backcountry / sidecountry descents back there, but well, I’ll save it for another day and do it with a partner.

Obligatory self-portrait at the summit, showing off my $2 beanie purchased in Morocco

Sangre de Cristos in New Mexico, Santa Fe Baldy and Truchas Peaks

So that’s my season, 21 days. I was hoping for more, but who knows?

Colorado and New Mexico, December 2009

The start of a new season on the snow, Day 1-4. Here’s the lowdown:

13 December 2009, Eldora, Colorado. Never been here before, but as I was staying with my friend Mike and his family in the north suburbs of Denver, we figured that this was the best option. There was a full schedule planned for that Sunday, so we were out early, finished by around 2:30 PM or so, and then headed down to Denver for the Avalanche / Flames hockey game. The conditions were overall fine, with overcast skies, not-so-cold temperatures, and still early season coverage. So no tree stuff, limited runs were open, but the ski area is fun, a telemark magnet, and a short scenic drive up the canyon from Boulder. Mostly, it was bombing the pistes, and I got the chance to take a run on Mike’s new Lib Tech Skate Banana board. Having not ridden a new board in nearly 7 years, this was quite an experience, it felt initially less stable, but was very easy to maneuver and held an edge very well. No doubt, the reverse camber and the Magnetraction had something to do with it. But as I continue to look into a replacement board, I’ll certainly consider this board carefully.

Mike, first day of the season stoke

14 December 2009, Winter Park, Colorado. Now for some big resort action. Again, this was my first trip to Winter Park, and it involved a very slow drive over a snowed-in Berthoud Pass, with all the visibility issues, slick roads, and Denver rush hour traffic. So the 90 mile drive took nearly 2.5 hours to negotiate. I hooked up with WP local Jeff Harper of Adrenaline Garage Productions, who took a break from his busy filming schedule to show me around. Now it was a legitimate powder day, with a good 8 inches or so of snow, and still early season conditions. The runs were pretty bumped up, and being a novice to this place, it’s less-than-ideal for snowboards in places, with plenty of traverses that required me to unstrap and hike/skate to. But I got a good flavor of the area, and hopefully will return.

WP local Jeff of Adrenaline Garage Productions

Continental Divide from Tabernash, CO

North view from Berthoud Pass

Then it was down to New Mexico for business, but I managed to squeeze a couple of days in there.

18 December 2009, Taos, New Mexico. I wrote about Taos in the early life of this blog, and returned for a day trip. It was a more leisurely day than my usual, the slopes were a bit icy from the lack of recent snow, but we got in a good number of runs off of what was open, and also took in a quick trip to Bavaria during lunch. Yes, we had lunch at the Bavarian, an alpine-style house serving you guessed it, German Bavarian specialties. So I indulged in a beer at lunch, soaked in the warm sun, and had a typical sausage and potatoes lunch, under a Freistaat Bayern sign. No green chile sauce in this part of New Mexico, but the smell of pinyon smoke is an instant giveaway that it’s not Bavaria. The ski area is famous for its steep stuff, dry powder, and its long-standing ban on snowboards, lifted in 2008. It looks like the number of snowboarders has increased over last season, which is good news.

Beer, sausage, sauerkraut, and potatoes at the Bavarian, Taos, NM

23 December 2009, Pajarito Mountain, New Mexico. This is the local Los Alamos hill, owned by the lab, and what a nice surprise. The slopes are steep, and coverage was still spotty in places, so I took a few rock shots to my board, and found myself plowing through weeds, small trees, and random bushes, but there was a good helping of fresh dry New Mexico snow. In contrast to the 2005-2006 season, where the mountain didn’t even open due to poor snowfall, the season’s off to an excellent start. It’s about 20 minutes from downtown Los Alamos, so I was able to get a late-ish start, pick up a coffee at Starbucks, and then go through the security checkpoint en route to the base area.

More on the non-snow related stuff in another post.

My new food court gangster steeze

Jemez Mountains and Rio Grande Valley from Pajarito

SERIOUS business

Taos, December 2008

First installment of a few writeups of more memorable trips I’ve taken recently, here goes. . .

This is the first full season Taos has been open to snowboarding. Being the stuff of skiing legend, for its isolation, snow quality, and difficulty, I decided to check it out, since it was a 90 minute drive from where I had been on business. Originally I had intended on flying up to Colorado or Wyoming for a few days, but work-related issues put an end to that, and also allowed me to avoid the bitterly cold temperatures. It was comparatively mild in Taos, and here are some of my observations from a couple days spent in the area.

So is snowboarding welcome? Well, from the people I spoke to on the lift, it was a necessary move, the story was that for the investors to pump in money to keep the place running, that the owners had to agree to allow snowboarding. It’s still a 70-80 % skier / rider ratio, so it will probably be some time (if ever) that snowboarding catches up to the ratio nationwide. At least for right now, it’s a rather awkward relationship. 

The terrain and snow? It’s everything that it’s stacked up to be, luckily the snow for December has been generous, so I got to sample some very nice, but still early season, powder. It’s indeed good, light and dry. This is the blower stuff, you puff on a pile of snow, and it just scatters. The terrain is the very steep stuff, the closest parallel I’ve experienced is Snowbird or Kirkwood. But the double diamonds are relatively short vertical drops, but on the challenging side. Half the mountain was still not open yet, and this included the ridgeline hike beyond the Juarez trail.

 

Feeling good at 12000 feet

Feeling good at 12000 feet

 

Ridgeline view

Ridgeline view

 

Wheeler Peak (13167', 4013 m), one long, difficult hike.

Wheeler Peak (13167', 4013 m), one long, difficult hike.

 

 

 

I briefly demoed the 2009 Custom X with the EST, C60 bindings, and tried out the Ozones (okay, a park boot, but I wanted to give them a test drive). The board is excellent and responsive, the boots were quite comfortable, despite being a bit icky from sitting outside all day in the cold. Putting on my own boots afterwards was even ickier. 

I spent one day mixing it up, snowboarding in the morning, skiing in the afternoon, and had the chance to speak with a couple of the instructors. One voiced her opinion, paraphrased- ” This is a skier’s mountain, lots of flat spots and narrow lanes that are difficult for a snowboard.” What’s a “skier’s mountain”? I found that to be far from the truth, Heavenly is considerably worse in terms of bad traverses, and it is not all that narrow in general. Plus the overall lack of crowds makes it ideal for snowboards and skis. No high-speed lifts, though, a bit like Kirkwood used to be. 

Had one bad set of attitude from the one of the rental staff, who was a bit of an ass about letting me stash my snowboard while I was out skiing. But generally they’ve been pretty mellow about snowboarding, if not completely welcoming. 

 

Looking towards Colorado

Looking towards Colorado

 

I was hoping for another day, but very high winds and lift closures ended that, despite a foot of snow overnight. So I played tourist instead and braved the terrible roads to explore for the day before returning to Santa Fe. Alas, next time. The price for lift tickets, incidentally, is $66 / day, which is good value, although no real discounts are offered. The resort’s rather isolated, being 150 miles from the nearest major airport and 4.5 hours from Denver. 

The town and atmosphere is special. I’ve been here several times before, and have always approached it from the Low Road, it’s an incomparable view once the road veers away from the Rio Grande and you have an airplane-like view of the town and the Wheeler Peak wilderness. Winter is also special, with that mix of fluffy snow and the pervasive smell of pinyon smoke. It’s one of the most spectacular natural settings, mixed in with the distinctive Southwest mix of cultures and people. Plenty of chile, good food, adobe buildings, nifty architecture, endless views, and a special quality to the light. 

 

Low road to Taos. . .

Low road to Taos. . .

San Francisco de Asis, Rancho de Taos

San Francisco de Asis, Rancho de Taos

 

 

Taos Pueblo

Taos Pueblo

 

The hotel / B+B I stayed at was excellent as well, so I’ll give a plug for the San Jeronimo Lodge, located about 2 miles east of the plaza off of U.S. 64. Hard to find, but good lodging, and the price was right. The green chile breakfast casserole was delicious, my only minor gripe was that breakfast started a bit late to make it up to the hill by opening time. 

I’ll hopefully be back.

Traversing in Garmisch

. . .with no offense to the Partenkirchen part.

I haven’t been here in ten years. In fact, this was the spot of my first snowboarding experience outside of the U.S., for an afternoon back in February 1999, on a crappy rented board with bindings that were way too big for the boots I was using. I was seriously ill after catching something on the plane ride from the West Coast to Frankfurt, added a few antimalarials, alcohol, a train system all out of whack from the avalanches in Austria, and I was an absolute mess. But hey, I still had to go and ride for the afternoon on the Hausberg.

Fast forward ten years later, give or take a month or so, and I checked the snow forecast and headed to Garmisch. It was partially a money-saving move, but I had not been up to Germany’s highest point either. And the Bavarian beer sealed my decision to stick relatively close by. 

Alas, it didn’t snow as promised, but the overcast gave way to plenty of sunshine during the day. I hooked up with another solo rider from Munich, and checked out some of the off-piste stuff. More snow is needed, but there were still some good spots. As usual for going to a new spot, I was lost much of the time. The runs are pretty short overall, and there are lots of flat spots that required either a lot of speed or plenty of traversing.

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Put on the boots. . .

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Get on the train, get on the cable car, and 25 minutes later. . .

 

The last run down was absolutely awful, narrow icy paths designed for walkers, but instead it was a nightmare getting down to the bottom. Ice. Flat spots, death chunks of ice. And more traverses. I don’t think I ever figured out how to really get around the area, but then again, it was my first time on some of these slopes.

Monday was significantly better, but cut short by my 4 PM train back to Munich. I headed for the Zugspitze area, which was a 45 minute journey by cogwheel train followed by a very thrilling cable car that went up 2000 m to the top of Germany. But that’s not all, then you have to take another cable car to go down to the ski area.

I did take in the view first, before heading down to the ski area. It’s an isolated peak in the almost Austrian Alps, with a view on the nicest days clear into Italy and Switzerland, so it’s an impressive panorama.

Waxenstein and Garmisch

Waxenstein and Garmisch

Top of the cable car

Top of the cable car

 

The snow was actually OK in spots, the ski area is built on this wide open bowl, with a fast disappearing glacier somewhere in the middle. I never figured out where the glacier actually is (was). There was 4 cm of snow Saturday night, but by the time I got there, it was sun baked, crusty, and skied out. Still, I found a few parts in the shade that stayed in very good shape, so I can say that it was a semi-powder (chowder?) day.

From the top

From the top

 

And, I should add, that I took a 5 minute detour and walked across the border into Tirol, before crossing back into Bayern. Note that there’s no mention of Germany or Austria.

Welcome to Freistaat Bayern

Welcome to Freistaat Bayern

Welcome to Tirol

Welcome to Tirol

 

Alas, one that ended a bit too quickly. I had to quit by 1:30 PM to make my way back, even though my legs were hurting, my big toes were getting bruised (again) from my oh-so-supa-tight boots. With the scheduling, the system of cable cars and trains was absolutely awful- a 10 minute wait here, a 15 minute wait there, and then the train back to Garmisch which ran every hour. There is a ski bus, but I couldn’t figure out where the stops were. So once you’re at the area of choice, it’s fine getting around, but to go between sections is downright horrible.

Not sure that I will come back here, unless I’m missing something really special. I’ll stick to Austria.

Snowboarding in Africa

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We suggest you. . .

Snowboard Africa?

I’ve always wanted to try something like this; it’s been on my to-do list for a while.

So one place where it’s possible is in the Atlas Mountains, which stretches 2500 km from Morocco to Tunisia, and acts as a barrier to the Sahara. The snow situation is quite variable, some years there’s hardly any, but there were reports of plenty of powder and snow back in 2006. This winter was also shaping up to be very good, with chilly temperatures down in Marrakech, and a steady amount of rain.

After checking out the weather reports for a few weeks, I took the plunge and bought a last-minute plane ticket, combining a weekend trip to Marrakech with a day trip up to the mountains. It rained heavily in Marrakech on Saturday night, with temperatures in town hovering near 3 C, and the snowline was approximately 1300 m. My hosts in the riad advised against going on Sunday due to bad weather (as I heard later the road was impassable on Sunday due to snow and ice), so I hired a car / driver for Monday.

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Not a golf bag

So my destination was the resort of Oukaimeden, 75 km south of Marrakech and 2000 m higher up. It’s a Berber village as well, which of course predates the resort, which was built by the French mid-century. To the best of my knowledge, Oukaimeden is the southernmost ski area (not artificial slope) in the Northern Hemisphere, at 31 N latitude, and a respectably high elevation. It tops out at 3260 m, with a vertical of around 600 meters, so it’s a pretty good drop by any standards, and the scenery was simply amazing, with most of the rugged High Atlas spread out in front of you. The peaks in this part of the range are between 3500 and 4150 m, and the highest peak of Morocco, Jebel Toubkal, is easily visible. I could have mistaken it for Alaska or the Coast Range, the vertical relief is pretty major.

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On my way.

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Well-hidden Berber villages

The road from Marrakech to Oukaimeden is a relatively short 75 km, about 50 km on a flat plain, and the remaining 25 km on a steep, spectacular road that parallels a river gorge, rises above treeline, before flattening onto a narrow plateau. It was paved, but narrow and full of sketchy, icy spots. There are numerous small Berber villages on the way, where the way of life probably hasn’t changed in centuries. Some are only accessible by foot, and from above, the switchbacks and ancient trails are clearly visible. The area is desperately poor and a hardscrabble life, and the living standards of the cities will take a long time to reach the area.

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First closeup of the Atlas

The temepratures were cold, probably -10 C or so at the top with some serious wind chill, and around -2 C at the base. Despite the very strong sun near the Tropic of Cancer (23 N), the recent snowfall and cold temps meant plenty of powder on the lower slopes. The upper elevations were downright hazardous, with high winds blowing most of the snow off, leaving the steep top part with a mix of ice and hidden rocks, definitely not what one expects in Africa a mere 75 km from a palm trees and orange groves. So I mostly stuck to the lower 500 m of the ski area. Another foot or two of snow cover would be wonderful, and well, more is predicted for this weekend. But on the day I went, it was a succession of ice, unexpected rocks, and powder. How’s that for an African experience?

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Yours truly. Which line shall I take?

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Proof of powder

Also, I had no idea of the off-piste stuff, it looked good, but needed more snow to make it reasonable; even the location of the pistes were not clear. Portable trail maps don’t really exist, and it’s all above treeline.

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Africa below  

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Trail map. Not pocket-sized.

The lift ticket costs 100 Dh, or about 12 USD for the day, for the use of all lifts, one chairlift that covered the entire vertical drop of the resort and the remaining surface lifts. Now this is a pretty good expense for many Moroccans, although plenty of people could afford the single round-trip to the top for viewing. And they brought along all sorts of stuff, one guy played the oud (like a guitar) on the way up, others brought up food and carpets for a (cold) picnic. The lift is actually brand new, a fixed-grip two-seater made by Doppelmayr, with the old disused lift towers laid out at the base. Pistes aren’t marked, so I pretty much had to follow other ski tracks to find my way down. Being a weekday, the slopes were nearly deserted, and I counted pretty much all the snowboarders that day on one hand.

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End of the adventure, back to Marrakech

More about Marrakech in a later post. . .