Solitude Closes With Style

Solitude locals definitely know how to have a good time come rain or shine and today’s closing day brought out the best (and weirdest) that Utah has to offer. Who would miss the closing of our sweet little slice of heaven? Not me.

THE SUN PEAKS THROUGH...FINALLY!

Although the skies were sending down torrents of rain and church was still happening with or without us, we piled in the car and headed up the rain stricken canyon. Was I being punished for wearing ski clothes instead of a dress? I don’t know, but, what I do know is that Big Cottonwood Canyon seemed eerily similar to my childhood ski days driving up into the Cascades in Washington State. Where yesterday the sun cast it’s warmth over the craggy peaks, today, grey mists hugged the landscape like a quiet blanket drifting softly through the forests. The windshield wipers worked furiously to clear the wet drops from our view as I wondered if we should just turn around and forget about it. The thought lasted only a moment. What was I thinking? It was the LAST day for goodness sakes. I would be six months older the next time I slid off Summit Lift. Turn around? No way!

Last day at any ski resort is always a great time and Solitude would be no exception. I just needed to suck it up and hope that our ski clothes were truly waterproof.

We pulled into the Moonbeam parking lot as the rain really began to pick up but I wasn’t to be disappointed. Closing day had still lured the die hards and the celebrations were already underway. Although ponchos, tents and umbrellas were the order of the morning, skiers, borders and those just up for the party were already kicking back, bumping the tunes and sporting some seriously great outfits!

We could barely see through our goggles as we sat down on the dripping lift. We huddled together as water found its way down beneath our jackets and slid down our necks and backs. Spring is such a temperamental thing. Why just last weekend we were skiing in drifts of fluffy snow and one week later, here we are taking showers on the lifts and sloshing around slurpy like ski trails, praying to the man upstairs to not let a knee be blown or worse. You all know what I am talking about. …ski, ski, ski, stop, lurch…what the???

AM I HAVING FUN?

But you know what? We still had a great time! It wasn’t cold, so the rain was manageable. We made a few runs, enjoyed the fantastic people watching and took in the festivities…well, as much as some non-costumed clad, church skipping folks could. And guess what? The sun broke her way through the clouds, just in time for all of Solitude’s truest fans who were huddled in the parking lot to really let loose for the last few hours of the 2010/2011 season!

WHO NEEDS THE SUN? THEY DON'T!

This year was a memorable one and with snow totals at thirty year highs, Solitude was able to share her deepest thanks to all of us who made her our playground throughout the season. She was a gracious host and blessed us each day with her thrilling terrain and copious amounts of snow. We are all grateful for the hard work and dedication of her employees and to all those who made it possible for us to shred her slopes over this amazingly epic winter!

Until the slopes melt and the bike trails open…Hasta la vista, baby!

A FEW OF SOLITUDE’S AWE INSPIRING LOCALS and my little guys…of course…

Hand Warmers…Anyone?

It’s not like we haven’t had a few sunny, warm days to remind us that spring is truly upon us but in the last few weeks it has felt more like January than April. Not that I am complaining, I mean who wouldn’t want to ski fresh powder on a daily basis well into the spring thaw? Over the past few days, Solitude has received over 30 inches of snow…30 INCHES OF SNOW!!! There is so much snow up in the canyons that we could be skiing well into June, that is, if you would rather be skiing than swimming at the pool.

That's ALOT of snow for April!

Either way, with the 17th quickly approaching and another storm on the horizon, an extra week or two or three would be nice. The funny thing is this, I don’t want to keep skiing because the conditions are phenomenal…I want a few days of warm sunshine. I want to kick back at The Roundhouse and catch some rays. I want to wear my “skinny girl” stuff and not look like the Pillsbury Dough boy every time I don my ski gear. I want to bump tunes as I bounce through the crud and sticky slush. As much as I lust for winter powder, it would be fantastic to have a few extra weeks to carve it up with nothing but a sweatshirt and spring gloves. Don’t you think? I mean, spring gloves…what the heck are those? I wouldn’t know, I am still sporting my heavy winter mittens stuffed with hand warmers.

Noah chilling in the village...Brrrr....

I know, I know, there aren’t enough employees to keep the doors open and people are thinking about boating, hiking and biking and definitely not wishing for more snow but, I just can’t help myself…it’s what I dream about. I guess, in my enthusiasm for the white stuff I should be darn grateful that I don’t live in a flood zone. Some of the folks around here are getting a little nervous with the continuing flakes and deepening drifts.

Noah catching a little air...PHOTO BY: Jason West

Jason West catching some good air!

It sure has been an epic snow year though and it is times like this when I openly wonder what the whole global warning crisis is really about? I mean from West Coast to East Coast, this winter has been HUGE! Crystal Mountain, WA (my home mountain) is expecting to stay open until June 1st with 60 FEET of snow atop their passes. I might be crying about Solitude’s looming closing date but, rest assured our snow is every bit as deep and so much better than said resort’s snowpack. Thank goodness for Utah flakes and an always predictable snow fall. I guess, the silver lining here is that we have had an amazing year with plenty of uber light face shots to keep us going until next winter’s frost. I suppose I should just should wish for a gradual warm up before the heat really kicks in and torments the valley. I guess it’s time to start thinking about getting my bike tuned up instead of my skis.

6 days and counting so get up to Solitude, rip it up and don’t forget your hand warmers!

Mountain Goats in Big Cottonwood Canyon

Big Cottonwood Canyon...Isn't she gorgeous!