The Eagle Rants On

Last weekends’ snowstorm brought over 90″ inches of snow to Solitude (yippe!), but it also brought a slew of skiers from Smallwood {you figure out the translation} as well (bummer). The “feel” of Solitude is laid-back, relaxed and unpretentious – and unwelcome change is certainly in the air once our quaint resort is inundated with U-turners from another canyon. Now we know how you Floridians feel when the “Snowbirds” from the Northeast (pun intended) overtake swimming pools, highways and bridge games every winter.

The Eagle will protect the innocent’s identity, but will keep her claws sharp with response.  A few “words of encouragement” we heard  from uninvited transplants:

“This place sucks – there’s not a lot of terrain open”

Well, Your WHOLE CANYON is closed. Don’t be ungrateful – you’ll develop unsightly frown lines.

“When will all this huntington canyon thing open”

As soon as you leave.

“I thought it wasn’t normally crowded at Solitude”

It isn’t. This isn’t a normal day. See all the skittle thugs out there. They’re not normal, nor are they normally here.

In addition to the dynamic shift felt on the hill, our inbox fills up with many short-sighted pseudo-guest comments.  We had most of the upper mountain shut down for an hour and a half while patrol painstakingly did avalanche control work.  This is the same day there was major slides in-bounds at other resorts, in the backcountry, plus several resorts and roads didn’t open until well after noon.   Here were a few of the Eagle’s favorite…

“Why was Eagle Express not open right at 9? It was not safety related. Please don’t use safety as an excuse when there was a communication breakdown. You can only use Mother Nature as an excuse for so long…Otherwise, how is Solitude learning from these experiences?”

Sorry Dad, we’ll learn next time. 92″ of snow in 7 days is NO BIG DEAL. We’ll just open up terrain without ensuring it is 100% safe, because, after all, who wants to wait in the name of safety?

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“IT IS POSSIBLE to know that the slopes cannot be opened for 30 or 60 or “Z” minutes. It’s basic math. If there are “X” places that need to be re-inspected before an area can be re-opened, it then becomes “how many patrollers do we have working on those areas and how long will it take to just do the basics?”

Really? Avalanche professionals admit they cannot forecast when an avalanche will occur. They can get an idea, and do control work accordingly and recommend to close or open terrain. But this readers simple algebra equation has it figured out! Quick, someone nominate him for a medal!! For the record: We do alot more then just the basics. However, I think Mr. Basic math just nominated himself for guinea pig work.

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“I had to wait 90 minutes for a lift to open. This is not a way to treat loyal customers. Next time LCC is closed I will be going to Brighton.”

Hmmm.  This makes you our loyal customer? How? We’re obviously your plan-b resort. Your loss. Please do go to Brighton or Park City next time. However, I doubt they will want your attitude. I’m thinking Colorado is a safer bet.

Meanwhile, at the ‘tude, we’ll be doing this…

Important editor’s note: We do agree that communication could be improved concerning what lifts will open and when.  If and when we do have info available, we’ll post it to our twitter and facebook accounts. Follow us and become a fan – the girl who is getting first tracks in Milk Run is…

Utah makes a guest appearance in…Utah?

With the return of the snow. Wait, strike that. With the return of redonkulous dumpage only found in the Wasatch, Utah started looking alot like, Utah again.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video that is 43 seconds long, at 30 frames per second, would be made up of 1,290 pictures. The word equivalent would be 12,900 words. This day in age, with most conversations taking place within the 140 character confines of twitter, no one will read my 12,900 words. Even if Tolkein penned the elation of a powder run on Honeycomb, I still doubt you will feel even a single percent in comparison to what this vid will conjure.
Without further adieu:

Satisfy your sweet tooth at Solitude

I think chocolate gets a bad rap. People spend so much time focusing on the negatives that they forget about the positives of this delectable treat. In a way, they’re taking a glass-half-empty approach to chocolate. But by focusing on the negative, they’re missing out on the fact that chocolate may elevate your mood, raise good cholesterol, promote blood flow and make you a better skier or snowboarder. Ok, I may have made up that last point, but the rest are completely true.

If you can’t tell, I’m more of a glass-half-full type of guy when it comes to chocolate. So it should come as no surprise that I’m stoked for the 20th Annual Chocolate Lovers’ Tour at Solitude Mountain Resort on January 23!

I’ve heard of chocolate parties, but the 20th Annual Chocolate Lovers’ Tour is more like a chocolate vacation. First, you get a Chocolate Lovers Passport, which is very similar to a normal passport in that it gets you into the event. The only difference – instead of security checkpoints and strip searches you get pampered with chocolaty goodness. Second, you get to explore Solitude Mountain Resort. Six different tents are set up around the mountain, each featuring a different type of chocolate and give away. Third, you’ll probably want to bring a bag to carry all the giveaways and prizes that you could win.

Still not convinced? Pardon me while I name drop. Cream O’ Weber, C. Kay Cummings, Sweet’s Candy and Bakers C & C will all be there. As will V Chocolates, Utah Truffles and Premium Ice Cream Creamies.

By now you’re probably having chocolate dreams and possibly even drooling. Don’t worry, this is normal. What’s not normal is missing out on the 20th Annual Chocolate Lovers’ Tour. So grab your friends and family, make sure your sweet tooth is fully functioning and make your way to Solitude Mountain Resort for the 20th Annual Chocolate Lovers’ Tour!

A taste of Solitude: Hungry Tuna Sushi at The Thirsty Squirrel

Do you consider yourself a fan of sushi?  If so, a mountain resort outside Salt Lake City might not be the first place you’d think to find good sushi.  The whole land-locked and high elevation thing probably plays a part in that.  But if you’re going to let some little things like that get in the way of trying Hungry Tuna Sushi at The Thirsty Squirrel, then you should take your fan-dom, roll it up and toss it, because you’re missing out on the best thing since chopsticks!

Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 3-8 PM, Solitude Mountain Resort’s resident sushi chef, Clayton Wall, rolls out a menu that is changing the Cottonwood Canyons après ski scene.  From rolls of all shapes and sizes, to the delicious miso soup and edamame, you’re sure to find something that will tickle the taste buds.

At this point you’re probably waiting for a recommendation on what roll to get, and possibly an in-depth review of the ingredients and flavors.  But I’m not a food critic, and even if I was I wouldn’t want to over inform you about something so simple and delicious.  Just take my word for it and go with the signature Solitude Roll . . . or the Honeycomb Roll . . . or the Voltaire Roll.  Actually, try one of each.  Missing out on any one of these rolls would be a shame!

Hungry for more reviews? Stay tuned to this blog for more installments of “A taste of Solitude.” That’s right, this was just the first blog of many to feature the wide array of dining options found only at Solitude Mountain Resort.

Avalanche unaware . . .

If you’ve read my biography on the Meet The Crew you know that I’m the rookie. This is both a good and a bad thing. It’s good because all the old timers (I won’t name names) feel it necessary to show me the secret stashes, sweetest runs and the best apres ski watering holes. It’s bad because I have absolutely no idea what I’m getting myself into or the assumed risk that you take every time you click into your skis and head beyond resort boundaries.

Call me naive, but I’ve never worried about avalanches. Part of this may be due to growing up skiing in eastern Washington, which isn’t exactly a hotbed of avalanche activity. But I honestly think it’s because I was completely unaware of avalanches in general . . . until I moved to Utah.

People in Utah are serious about their avalanche safety. This fact is perfectly demonstrated by how quickly I got signed up for Back Tracks Avalanche Awareness Course. The conversation with my boss went something like this:

Boss – “Rookie, have you ever taken an avalanche course?”

Me – “Nope, do I need to?”

Boss – “Yes. And consider yourself signed up for the Avalanche Awareness Course tomorrow.”

And with that I was on my way to the Avalanche Awareness Course, not knowing what to expect and wondering how much there really is to learn about avalanches. Man, was I surprised. At no other time in my life have I gleaned more valuable information in a two-day span. Put on by Back Tracks, and taught by members of Solitude’s Professional Ski Patrol, the Avalanche Awareness Course was a great introduction to the identification of avalanche hazards and how to travel responsibly and safely outside resort boundaries.

Here are some of the more important and interesting factoids I took away from the course. Note: These may or may not be obvious to you, but I’m a rookie.

  • 75% of avalanche victims are experienced backcountry recreationists.
  • Most avalanches occur on slopes between 30 and 45 degrees.
  • Cross avalanche terrain one at a time, not in groups.
  • Snow pits and shear tests are the most reliable ways to analyze the safeness of the snowpack
  • An avalanche is broken down into three parts: starting zone, track and run out zone
  • There is more than one type of avalanche

Needless to say, I’m not naïve when it comes to avalanches anymore. And if I were to give one piece of advice to anyone thinking of venturing into the backcountry it would be to take the Avalanche Awareness Course.

Back Track’s