4/20 Storm Cycle

In Northern Utah we always get a good cycle of cold spring storms just after most resorts close for the year. It is popularly known as the 4/20 storm cycle. This year that storm cycle came early, and stayed late. It began right around the 9th of the month and lasted late into April. I was able to take advantage of most of it, and it really made for a nice finish to the season. In March we had a lot of heat, so April seems to have made up for that. 

^My yard flamingo, Pink Floyd, is a ski bum institution in my circle for a variety of reasons, but he is still my backyard snow stake now that he has settled down in his elder years. Early on this one spring morning he was showing me the valley snow, which means much more at elevation this time of year! Floyd provides.

^I started the early set in the Ogden backcountry just outside Snowbasin. The resort was actually still half open so I was able to use the chairlift to help get out to the zone. The storm lingered early, and then began to break up later in the day.

^Breaking out.

^Full on bluebird skies for a little while.

^A look up at my next spot to ski from below. Looked pretty good, hey? I started really low angle due to some high winds, but when the winds died down and the stability results kept informing my desires to get slightly steeper terrain I saw this one and thought it was ready to give a go.

^I went really well as I had hoped and I beat up the zone pretty thoroughly, and then the clouds began to roll back in from the west as forecasted.

^By my last lap the storm moved back in with full force. Perfect set up for another opportunity the next day. I had plans to film with the fellas, and it was shaping up nice.  

^It did. I started early to capture some sunrise light pictures. The sunrise was beautiful, and I nailed some really pretty imagery. I am not a great photographer yet, but I am getting better all the time. I kind of fell into it by utility, but I really do enjoy it more and more. I grew up in art classes throughout my academia, and I feel this is a nice way to channel that artistic nature in my ski life too.

^That is a glorious ski track!

^The video shooting up in the higher elevations later in the day was all-time. I got some great shots of my friends, Ben Geiger and Alex Leblanc. Those dudes can slay on telemark gear. Pictured above is some track proof. My line is in there too, and I rolled it with an incredibly heavy pack loaded with camera gear. I was gonna just take it easy as I usually do when I am carrying thousands of dollars worth of gear, but I couldn't resist skiing an old favorite through the rocky shoulder after the fellas laid down such beauties. So I went for it! Felt good too.

^Ben and Alex on the ridge after their skinner ascent back up.

^I photograph these spines a lot, but that is just because they always look so damn glorious! Ogden City looms in the valley below all green and warm.

^These glades too.

^Alex's line through the Race Start chutes just outside the Snowbasin boundary. Talk about glory! Alex is an incredible telemark skier. He is a young backcountry hungry dude too. He is yearning for knowledge and terrain, and I am pumped to be able to get out with him anytime and share what I know.

^Then Ben came through the face of chutes making for two really good looking lines off the clean ridge. I couldn't help myself with the ski track porn picture. I also was just so amped on the video I got of them doing it! We crushed it that day, and I could have been happy to end it all there, but the 4/20 storm cycle just kept coming. 

^I had to re-certify my Wilderness First Responder training so I ended up spending one of the glory storms of the cycle in a classroom all weekend, but sometimes ya just gotta do what ya gotta do. I have to keep current so I didn't mind brushing up on the training. This medical training is pretty tough for me so I was glad to get more acquainted with it all too though. I get better with every course. Mountain Education and Development is a good group of folks to learn from too.

^The multi-sport option is a lot of fun this time of year too. Ski the higher elevations, and bike the lower elevations. Pretty special in my world. I have a trail just up the road from my house that I ride straight to from my workshop. It is a really nice perk of the neighborhood for sure! Gotta love Ogden City. I do.

^Then the cycle delivered yet again. I spent a day in the clouds with a new buddy, Brian Ellison. I met Brian on an Ogden skin track this season and we have been able to get out and tour together a variety of times since. I am always stoked to make new friends, and I also love to preach whatever amount of backcountry wisdom I have to offer to young dudes who soak it up. Brian is a sponge for it all, and takes all my preaching well. I can get a bit long winded on the subject, but he appeases my ramblings.

^More ski track porn. Brian had to skip out earlier then me thus leavening this one all to myself. Another great storm from the cycle, and then there was more sunshine to come too.

^So the next day I managed to get out on an early morning tour with another good friend of mine, Shane Erisoty. Shane is an Ogden boy too. Shane competes in the telemark freeski competitions I am part of as Director of Freeskiiing for USTSA. We have always talked about getting out together, but as the story goes with busy lives we could just never put it together. Well the 4/20s gave us an extension to the season so I finally found the opportunity to tour with him.

^The skiing was excellent too. Shane and I put together a really nice tour for the day, and the skiing was spectacular as we got on it early before the hot spring sun started to do its work on the cold powder snow. I had the photo camera out and was able to snap off some stellar shots of Shane too. I had some catching up to do on imagery after the heat of March and thankfully the 4/20s provided the chance to get good mid-winter looking photos that morning. After all this there were some rumors of some May storms as well. Could it be that the 4/20s were going to transcend April in some sort of strong finish to the season? I had high hopes it would. The cycle had been stronger then ever already so it was completely believable to me. The late reaching 4/20 storms had slowed down the start of my home remodeling work, but really helped me tie up the loose ends in my ski industry content work. There is an old farmer saying, "Gotta make hay when the sun shines.", but it seems in my world the metaphorical hay gets made when the snow flies. The 4/20s provided in spades, and I am grateful for it. Besides, I have all summer for the remodeling business to catch up now.