Tanner Hall, Chad Spector & Posse Shred the ‘tude

Excerpt from http://chadspector.com/blog/

“A little bird whispered in my ear last night that Solitude was going to open the Powderhorn and Summit chairs for the 1st time this season.  That meant that there’d be many many feet of snow that was just sitting there waiting for someone to ski it.  Snow that had taunted all the weekend warriors who were forced to look up in frustration as they could not reach the promised land.  I felt I owed it to these poor souls to do my part and ski it for the greater good.  You know, base building and compaction and all that snow sciencey stuff.”

read the entire post & check out photos here:

Powder Before Thanksgiving?

DEVO kids taking a breather after a powdery thigh burner

Are you kidding me…face shots before Thanksgiving? The forecaster’s have all been warning us of a whomper that has been heading our direction but the snow wasn’t supposed to hit until late tonight. Well, while the valleyites spent their day raking up leaves in the blustering wind, no one could have guessed that just a few miles up the canyons the winter storm had arrived early. Although, the winds in Salt Lake were downright treacherous, Solitude was blissfully unaffected by the valley’s gusty mayhem. The morning’s early snowfall may have been a bit reminiscent of the Pacific Northwest but as the day progressed and the temperatures dropped with the formidable low pressure, Utah’s famous fluffy flakes soon turned the slopes into a sugary dream!

How can you not love this place? Solitary ride after solitary ride on Eagle Express produced untracked turns and sheer powder paradise. It’s possible that there are some folks around here who wished that all the piles of people who headed up the canyon first thing in the a.m. had pulled off into Soli’s parking lot. But, as for me and the handful of other boarder’s and skier’s who effortlessly carved untouched fluff we were grateful that Solitude once again lived up to its namesake!

Half way through the day I decided I should probably check in on the boys who had been dropped off earlier for DEVO. It’s possible that my powder heaven wasn’t exactly theirs but, I was happily suprised to find Isaac….hmmm…how should I put this…oh yeah, shredding the gnar! He was skiing as tight as a little four year old…excuse me, his Birthday was yesterday…as tight as a little five year old could, in the onslaught of early season snow. However, as soon as he saw me, he decided to complain about  his scratchy coat and obnoxious goggles. I quickly left him to his teachers to finish out the morning.

After a quick lunch with both the grommits I decided to hang out with Noah’s class for a few runs but had so much fun with them I stayed all afternoon. I mean there really is not much to say when your seven year old and his cohorts are catching freshies and slaying it better than most of the adults on the hill. (well, actually, “Rip it up Noah!” comes to mind.) I had to hang…who wouldn’t?

What are you looking at Noah? Get on it!

By 2:30 the temperatures had probably dropped about twenty degrees since the first run and everyone was beat. I was getting a little nervous about the drive down as we had seen numerous flashing lights and even a firetruck heading up and down the canyon. After a little help from a shovel and a couple of awesome parking attendants I freed the car, loaded the boys and carefully headed out of the lot.

If any of you were headed down around three, you may have witnessed the same four slide-offs and how can we forget…the 40 minute delay as some nimrod in his tiny front wheel drive was towed back onto the road. Lucky for us we were the first on the scene and got to watch as cop after cop showed up to survey the scene. I am sure it seemed as if something serious was going on but, I am here to tell you (in case you were behind me and couldn’t see) that it was NOTHING! Can I just remind everyone (since I am on the subject), PLEASE check to see if it is snowing before driving your itty bitty AMC Pacer (You know, like the one in Wayne’s World) up into four wheel drive territory. Now, I couldn’t exactly see what make of car it was because every cop within 20 miles was surrounding the scene like it was some kind of homicide investigation but, I swear Wayne and Garth popped into my mind as I caught a glimpse of the retreating car. The hottest part of this little story is that less than a mile down the snow cleared and the roads were barely wet but, the little (whatever it was) car was nowhere to be found. Now, I am not an expert but, since I was the next car down the road (and not a turtle), I am guessing that he pulled off somewhere to hide to let the line of impatient drivers snake their way down. I am sure he waited just long enough before pulling out so that no one would realize he was the lame culprit that held up the traffic all afternoon!

Were Wayne and Garth in the Canyon?

So there it, another day for the books, and the snow is now piling up outside my window. Anyone who is lucky enough to catch some turns the next few days will be greatly rewarded…and who could have guessed…all this before the turkey is even carved!

Solitude is Officially OPEN!!!

I got the call from Solitude’s marketing department that opening day had been bumped up to Friday late Thursday night. “Would you be able to come up and write about it” Nick’s voiced echoed through the phone. “Absolutely”, I said. I mean, was it even a question? For a brief second, I wondered if I should send Noah to school and Isaac to the sitter and go solo. Nahhhh….that wouldn’t be fair, I thought. It was opening day, let the boys miss a day. I excitedly woke them and shared the good news.

As many of you know, skiing with kids can be quite a challenge but, of course mine are the exception. I mean, come on, they have been on skis since they could walk and of course every opportunity to be on the hill means at least some (if not all) of the Hodson clan can be found on the slopes. Our two grommits were born to ski!  So, after a summer of wishing it were winter and after a couple of nice snowy storms, Friday morning’s early opening was a day to celebrate!

At 8:30 a.m. sharp, with giddy enthusiasm, we happily piled into the car…..Whoa…not so fast. Did you really think it would be that easy? Solitude’s 9:00 a.m. opening came and went and we were really doing was trying to find thermals that fit, deciding which helmets to wear and trying to locate those brand new ski socks which had somehow disappeared. At 9:20 Noah and Isaac were fighting over newly discovered ski stickers which surfaced at the worst possible moment. Fists were flying, tears were falling…Really? I mean did it really matter who got to stick the Rossignol sticker on their K2 skis or the Bern stickers on their Smith Helmets? By 9:30 the car was finally loaded…with gear that is but, no children in site. The bathroom beckoned, the dog needed to be greeted, the…WHAT THE??? Noah emerged in full gear, boots buckled, coat zipped, helmet on and goggles down. I tried telling him that he was going to fry in the car and that his boots would scratch my leather seats – not to mention that his goggles were going to fog up and that I was about to lose my mind! He shrugged his shoulders, threw a snotty comment my way and hopped in the car like a good little boy…NOT! Instead of buckling up, Noah has grabbed his scooter and headed for the road. Are you kidding me? Isaac finally arrived with his britches falling down past his knees and climbed into the backseat of the Volvo, while Noah, in full ski gettup, whizzed down the street while whistling for all the nosy neighbors to see. I had a passing thought that if he crashed and burned and I didn’t catch it on film, I may be missing out on some serious YouTube exposure. Who am I kidding? Kid on scooter, flying down hill in neon ski outfit crashes into neighbor’s car. Helmet and goggles save mini daredevil’s life. I imagine the whole scenario in my head and then come back to me senses. I am his mother not the producer of MTV’s stupidest kids.  By the time Noah had finished his comedy act it was 9:45 and I should probably have just gone back inside and went back to sleep.

By 10:00 a.m., we had finally turned up Big Cottonwood Canyon. The boys were silently fighting in the back (like I didn’t know what they were doing) and I was practicing relaxation techniques without crashing the car. Breath in, breathe out.

Solitude rolled into site and I hoped that the rest of the day would be cake. Blue skies, sunshine and freshly fallen snow lifted my spirits. We pulled into the upper parking lot to grab our passes and my boys, who were ready to shred, immediately voice their displeasure over the delay. Within 5 minutes the ticket lady was silently voicing her displeasure that she had to deal with my boys. Noah, always the angel sweetly said to me, “mom, aren’t you glad you have a nice butt” as he annoyingly smacked the don’t even think about it zone right in front of her.  He is lucky I didn’t knock him down on his backside. I force a smile at the lady as she rolls her eyes. During this seemingly lack of parental control, Isaac had decided it was his job to discover what was in some of the boxes that were in the ski shop adjacent to the office. Within moments of an impending disaster, he was shooshed out and a metal gate was loudly pulled or rather flung across the entry and locked.  Next came the pass pictures with one child who couldn’t smile and another who couldn’t stop bouncing up and down. After three failed attempts at a photo without an arm for a face, we finally had success and emerged triumphant.

We got back into the car and headed to the lower lot. Isaac who had been dying with excitement to get on his skis must have forgotten over the summer just how much he hated his ski coat and helmet oh, and ski boots and how could I forget those dang ski thermals which rode up his hiney. I mean if the kid would just wear undies he probably wouldn’t have that problem! 10:45 found him crying in the parking lot as everyone stared at the lame mom (yes, me) who was forcing her tiny four year old to toughen up and get on with it! It was a darn good thing Noah was already dressed and ready to go…or was he? “Uh, mom….I think I left my gloves at home” he says in that soft little voice which knows I am about five seconds from blowing like an atomic bomb. Seriously, when the kid comes out with his goggles down and his boots buckled you would ASSUME he would have put on his gloves. Duh.

11:00 a.m. found us in the ski shop buying two pair of gloves because obviously Isaac’s were way too big.  At 11:17 we were FINALLY on a lift. Isaac had temporarily forgotten about his clothing issues, Noah was grateful he was still alive and I was looking forward to a few turns.

Everything was finally right with the world. Oh, who was I kidding? Isaac had temporarily forgotten how to carve a turn, his new skis seemed too long and his emotions were raw. Noah, who is usually the naughty one, was obnoxiously reveling in the fact that he was acting perfect and that it was Isaac who had gone loco.

The first run, after a long hot summer of pools, flip flops and lazy days was not the happy Kodak moment I had expected but, I have to admit by the third run things started to look up. After a late lunch of fries, fries and more fries, Isaac was, at last, happy and ready to rip.

Although, the first day of the season didn’t quite go as planned and this blog may not have been exactly what Solitude had in mind, the day ended remarkably okay….Well, okay enough that I was still alive to write about it.  Noah, started laying out some gorgeous arcs and got to be interviewed by the news. Isaac eventually discovered his skiing legs and inevitably got used to the longer skis (which were his perfect size by the way). His snowplow evolved into the nice, fluid carved turns which he had mastered the previous season and his confidence soared. By the time we had loaded back into the car and headed down the canyon we were all smiling and looking forward to the next day’s return to the slopes. Thankfully, for me, Saturday means DEVO Team and the Coaches can work out any second day kinks while I get to peacefully enjoy my day on the hill!

Happy Ski Season 2010!!!