Sun 13 Feb 2011
Ahhh…The sun is shining, the winds are calm and for the moment, spring is in the air. This is Utah so I know not to get too used to the sunshine as the weather here is some of the wackiest. Snow will head in and the temperatures will drop (which we really want to happen anyway) and hand warmers will once again be all the rage. But, for now it’s nice to don the spring gloves and light layers and soak up some sunshine! After a week of real estate classes (my license expires this month), writing, kids and everything else that goes along with being a mom, I felt like I just wanted to burn off some calories and get some much needed exercise. Sometimes, skiing is just not much of a workout when you do it so much. You got to mix it up a little so after dropping the extra baggage (kidlets) off at DEVO, I decided it was the perfect morning to escape out of the gates for a little action.
Picking up another DEVO dad (don’t worry, he is married), for a little company and also as a safety measure, we headed over to Summit Lift. The sun baked, east facing slopes out of the Powderhorn gate made my lust for soft pow even greater and I began to get excited for the line that was going to make my day perfect. It has been a few days since the last pummel of fresh snow and with the warmer temps and skier laden canyons I knew that where I was headed may just be one of the last untouched stashes left in either canyon without a major hike to wear me out. DEVO Dad, who had never been out to my little secret stash was eager to learn a bit more about the mountain which he regularly skis with his family.
DD could definitely hang when it came to traversing and side stepping so we made our way out to the “stash” fairly quickly. As we traversed along the north facing slope of Honeycomb and made our way over chunks of avi debris (man made) and set up, crunchy snow my DEVO dad wasn’t 100 percent sure that soft as feather powder was waiting for him around the next bend. I was promising a sick line, deep powder and the Holy Grail of Solitude so, I knew I couldn’t disappoint. I have skied this line weeks after a dump and it always perfection so, I crossed my fingers and hoped for the best.
As we traversed around the corned into the coolness of the pines and aspens, the snow went from wind packed to sugar as it began to softly blow about our skis as we pushed along the trail. Emerging into the narrow opening that was to be our run with the beautiful empty canyon smiling at us from far below our mouths broke into grins. Taking a moment to let our hearts stop racing from the super fast trek and tighten our boots down only made our anticipation greater. DD couldn’t believe what he was seeing and both of us couldn’t wait for the ensuing moments. “You ready to hit it” I said. “Let’s go” came the reply.
The world disappeared with each turn and I became lost in the beauty of the mountains, the steady rhythm of my turns and the soft snow which gave way to each flawless carve as I made my way down the perfectly pitched slope. At the top, the pines which were ideally spaced beckoned me to cruise in and out and I did so with ease. The stillness and peacefulness of the moment seemed only broken by my own breathing and the random holler of joy that erupted from somewhere behind me every so often. The trees gave way to fun little rollers and gullies which just asked to be hopped over and carved up. After popping over the last big roller with a giggle erupting from somewhere within, I finally came to a stop and looked upwards. Seconds later, DEVO Dad cruised over the last steep pitch with a grin as wide as the canyon. “That was so awesome!” he said. He couldn’t believe that such perfect snow could be found at Solitude (on such a warm day with the last snowfall a week earlier). “It is so beautiful, the line, the pitch, the rollers, the snow…” I smiled to myself. It is a perfect run and no matter when I take the time to hike out, it never disappoints. Maybe the last little bit of road that you have to return on dampens the joy…but just a tiny bit…not enough to stop me from heading back out for round two!
We were back at Eagle express in under 30 minutes and it seemed so surreal that we had just gone from that to this. The moment had passed and as we settled onto the lift I glanced over and saw the twinkle in DEVO Dad’s eyes. I am most certain he was looking forward to the next time he would make the trek out…perhaps to share the pure perfection of this run with another unknowing friend. Or, perhaps he may just keep this little bit of new information to himself so, he can be certain that the next time (and I know there will be a next time) he is out there that it is still just as pristine and untouched as his very first line.
Oh, did I forget to mention the name of my favorite run in the Wasatch? Well, I guess I did and I think I will just leave it unnamed. You may already know where I am talking about or you may be able to figure it out from my description but if you don’t and you are really dying to know, you will just have to find this year’s resort issue of SKI magazine. I took so much heat from my mentioning this particular run in SKI that I promised I would NEVER EVER do it again. Besides, part of what makes this run so special is that it’s…well…EMPTY!