January for me means time on the trauma service at the other big hospital in town besides the University, Intermountain Medical Center. A lot of folks in town call it The Death Star. Not sure why, except that it’s the biggest building in South Salt Lake by far.
Working on trauma is a feast/famine scenario for skiing that skews towards the famine. Twice weekly I work a 30-hour shift, which can potentially involve some sleep, but if it does not effectively kills two days. Add to that a 12 hour day shift and Wednesday morning lectures and there’s not a lot of time.
On a Tuesday morning after a 30 hour call with some sleep, I decided to take a risk on some info I’d heard and head to Mt Aire to ski the East Face. Anywhere else in the Wasatch, this particular face would garner little attention. Aire, however, sits just off the interstate to Park City and stares at me every time I’m driving home. On account of its position, it somehow made its way into the Chuting Gallery.
The book talks about a heinous and poorly defined approach. Like many things in the book, I don’t think that Andrew Maclean knows what he’s talking about. In retrospect there is a simple and direct approach to the face. I didn’t take that. I broke trail up an unnamed ridge and wasted time and miles traversing over to the Mt Aire summit.
There were tracks on the Center and North runs, but the sheeple stuck to the gully and left me sweet turns to the bottom of the face.
The book describes three lines on Aire, so I decided to ski all three to be thorough. The northerly run was a bit more variable.
I finished out the Southmost run, starting with the exposed face to skier’s left before skiing out an increasingly shrubby but manageable gully. The way in had been rough, the way out was simple and I was able to ski straight to my car. Damn you, Mr Maclean, but your nonspecific directions do lead to some exploratory adventures.