The Grinch Almost Skied Solitude…Thank goodness I didn’t!

“That’s a noise,” grinned the Grinch, “That I simply must hear!” So he paused. And the Grinch put a hand to his ear. And he did hear a sound rising over the snow. It started in low. Then it started to grow… But the sound wasn’t sad! Why, this sound sounded merry! It couldn’t be so! But it WAS merry! VERY! He stared down at Who-ville! The Grinch popped his eyes! Then he shook! What he saw was a shocking surprise! Every Who down in Who-ville, the tall and the small, Was singing! Without any presents at all!

Christmas Skiers...They Came!

For some reason as I pulled into Solitude, the day after Christmas, these words from The Grinch popped into my head. I have to be honest, it was hard to motivate to ski this week. Last year, over Christmas, we were ripping powder turns down Parachute and this year we are trying not to wreck our equipment as we navigate down Easy Street. No matter how hard we have all wished for snow, Christmas came either way. The weather grinch had taken away the only gift that any of us really wanted. There was no powder wrapped up in a bow, waiting for us to tear it apart. There was no “openings” of new lifts and lines. There was just a slight drizzle that never amounted to anything and I had become quite the Christmas Grinch myself.

All Smiles

As all of you know, most of the country has been hard up for moisture. Even my native Washington, who was off to a great start, has been squeezed dry of the wet stuff. The lack of snow is affecting the ski industry as a whole and all involved are casting their gaze upwards in hopes for the gifts that we know Mother Nature can send our way. It was hard enough (as Utahns) to wake up to a “brown” Christmas but, finding the motivation to ski was even harder.

Isaac checking out the scenery at the top of Summit.

Forced onto the slopes by my family, I begrudgingly crawled out of bed, gathered my gear and packed a lunch. I also grabbed some magazines, Tylenol and apple cider, which I was sure, would all come in handy when I bailed on the slopes and hit the lodge. I hopped into the car with a sour attitude and headed up the canyon. The grey skies loomed overhead and the barren rocks of the canyon walls greeted my hapless gaze. I couldn’t imagine anyone wanting to head up with such a dismal weather outlook.

But then it happened. First the cars…they were zooming up, one after the other and pretty soon I began to wonder if people had missed the memo that there was no snow. I looked at my husband, bewildered. Did the Christmas crowds come to the canyons regardless of the lack of white stuff? We pulled

into the Moonbeam Parking lot and my lackadaisical self became curiously surprised. The lot was almost full and there was a LINE at the bottom of Moonbeam! I couldn’t believe my eyes. Every Who down in Who-ville, the tall and the small, Was skiing! Without any snow at all! Well, of course there is snow but, really and truly, those words popped into my shocked head. There were people everywhere and they weren’t disappointed, or bummed out, they were smiling and laughing and having a great time! All were loving the slopes and they were all making the very best of a not-so-great situation.

Some Locals and Visitors from California Hanging Together at The Tude!

And what happened then…? Well…at Solitude they say, this grinch’s heart grew three sizes that day! And the minute my heart didn’t feel quite so tight, I popped on my skis and whizzed out of site! Hahaha, I wished I whizzed out of site…more like my kids took off and I followed behind them.

Silly stuff aside, it was wonderful to see everyone who has come out this week, both locals and tourists, supporting our mountains

and all those who are employed by them. The lodges were bumping, the ski school was packed and the cash was flowing. It was a genuinely, fantastic Christmas break and I am glad that I got to spend this time with all of you out there who love to ski and board and who happily loved (and are still loving) the slopes at Solitude! Merry Christmas to all and hopefully, we see you back up on the hill soon! May the New Year bring us ALL LOTS OF POWDER!

Noah and His Cousin Christian Heading up Summit

IT’S TIME TO SKI FOR THE AGES

I was reminiscing with friends recently about the way things were when we were young as compared to what our own kids experience today. Rotary phones, typewriters, and riding in the back of pickup trucks are all things of the past. Sadly, today’s kids will never know the joys of when disco was new, mullets were cool, and Neil Patrick Harris was an emerging child actor. Not to mention the fact that we walked to school in waist-deep snow, uphill both ways, and often in bare feet. We all had a good laugh and acknowledged that, if there was ever any doubt, this conversation officially made us ‘old men.’

A few days later I found myself riding a chairlift at Solitude Mountain Resort when I noticed yet another way things have changed—My kids will never experience the noggin-numbing wait of a long lift line.

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Ageless.

Yes, Virginia, there is a sun!

Study the two pictures below. The one on the left is the view of the city. The one on the right is from  Solitude Resort. Both are taken within an hour of each other.

Let us begin our examination in comparisons. Both photos have clouds. The photo on the left features a pollution cloud filled with smog particulates from an inversion that hangs over the otherwise picturesque valley of Salt Lake. The clouds on the right are happy little clouds filled with H20 and little else.

Both have lines. The ones on the left are power lines that crisscross the city and obstruct views of the mountains- which are visable when the city isn’t blanketed in yellow air. The lines on the left are chairlift cables that whisk you up to incredibly clear views of unobstructed panoramas.

Both pictures have people. The people on the right are hidden in buildings and cars- boxes that keep them from interacting with the outdoors- which is probably a good thing since they’d otherwise be sucking in the chemicals floating in the city air. The people on the right are fully exposed to the outdoor elements- a good thing because up in the clean mountain air, they are filling their lungs with freshness, getting vitamin D from the sun, and awakening their senses with crisp air.

…more

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Powder Turns at Solitude?

I need to apologize, its been a little hectic around my house the last couple of days and so I am a day (or two) late but, hopefully not a dollar short.

It seems as if a few people heeded the call and headed up to the Tude over the weekend. There were a few more cars in the parking lot and yes, I still got my secret spot. The weather was beautiful and there was even a slight dusting of fresh snow, not a lot, but the trees looked a little more festive and merry with their fresh white tips. It was also nice to see a line at the ticket office window, for a few minutes at least.

With Christmas less than a week away, it’s hard to believe that the snow angels have not yet bestowed upon us their usual, bounteous, winter gifts of white fluff. Are we on the naughty list, I wonder? Maybe they are just teasing us, a dusting here, a dusting there and then…the day after Christmas… BOOM…SNOW! I am sure that is what is going on, just a simple heavenly joke, right?

Either way, Solitude isn’t sitting around crying about the lack of snow, she is happily sitting pretty, nestled in her serene little corner of the Wasatch Mountains, biding her time and welcoming all those who support and love her.

While the grey clouds still cover the valley in fog and haze, Solitude’s peaks are glistening in the brilliance of the winter sun and yes, we ARE skiing while some of you sit around and dream of it. You might not believe it but, we actually skied some fresh powder on Saturday. Solitude gifted us with a sweet little taste of winter by opening the east facing side of Honeycomb Canyon. The news spread like wildfire on Facebook, Friday afternoon, and it seemed that everyone had something to say about it. No matter your reaction, this snow has lain untouched since the first snowfall and was ripe for the picking. While it was awesome to get our turns on, I was ever so grateful that I had on a pair of old skis.

I am not going to embellish for a great story, so yes, with the powder on the top came consequences on the bottom. Some people shook their heads at the chance to rip down Honeycomb but, I say to the naysayers…click into your rock skis and have some fun in life. If you are smart and watch your line, there is no reason that you can’t make it to the bottom of Eagle with your body and skis still intact. Well, you may need a little P-Tex but, what the heck…worth it, don’t you think? Thanks Solitude for that sweet run! My garage will smell of P-Tex and wax for a day or two but, hey, I actually LOVE that smell!

There is snow on the horizon…maybe even Wednesday and Thursday so, let’s try to get off that naughty list and see what gifts will come! However, don’t forget that Solitude has plenty of runs open to keep you entertained and life is definitely happening in the canyon! HEY!!! There is snow falling outside my window!!!

East Slope of Honeycomb Canyon....STUNNING!

Local Skiers Heading Out on the Traverse

Hello Blue Sky!

Noah, Navigating His Way Down

A Local Skier Gets His First Powder Turns In of the Season

WE WANT YOU!

Alright, I have been debating for a couple of days whether to post the following words or not. I mean, I have been quietly enjoying my blue sky groomer days all to myself but, I am starting to worry that I am not doing the job that Solitude has asked me to do. So, I suppose that this particular blog is really geared towards the locals who have seemed to forget that the resorts are open and that there is snow up in the canyons.

Sunshine Bowl...WAITING FOR YOU TO RIP IT!

I know what you are thinking…I live in the valley too. There is no snow in the yards or on the trees, in fact, it really is not beginning to look a lot like Christmas around here! Thank goodness for the insane traffic and the Christmas lights glowing in the cold evening air to remind us what month we are actually in! I mean are we even in Utah…home of the greatest snow on earth? Oh wait, how could we forget? That nasty inversion that greets us every day is a sure sign of our location. It’s probably been days since you have seen the crisp blueness of the sky or the long shadows of the winter sun casting its light across glistening snow. Well, the last snow did fall over a week ago and obviously it was nothing to write home about and it didn’t do much for the barely there snowpack, did it? I am just going to assume that you are all on the same page when it comes to rallying the troops for a ski day. Why bother? Why not just hole up at home or continue on in that typical holiday fashion of shopping with the masses of people or wrapping the way too many presents that you have purchased? I guess that sounds fun.

JUST LOOK AT THAT SKY!

Well, what I am here to tell you is the honest truth about what is actually going on up at Solitude. YOUR NOT HERE! I was liking it for awhile. You know, all those perfectly groomed and empty runs that I have all to myself. The lunch tables that I can completely take over and kick my feet up on and oh, how could I forget…my own personal spot, right at the front steps, every time I pull my car in. It’s been great but, it’s getting a little lonely.

Big Cottonwood, GORGEOUS in the early morning light!

I am getting tired of breathing all that fresh, mountain air all by myself. I am getting bored of only having lifties to talk to…not that they aren’t AWESOME but, they can’t ride up and take a run with me. I am getting tired of being the only one laying out huge arcs on Sunshine Bowl (well, besides the patrollers) or not having to worry that someone might hit me…ever! I am getting tired of not having to evade the parking guys so, I can have a chance at my favorite parking spot and I am really getting tired of not having to wait in line at the bathroom on the main floor of Moonbeam Lodge! Really, what’s the fun in that? You know what else? I am getting bored of being the only person on the chairlift and watching the Ski School clinic all day because YOU are not driving up here. So, although you might think that there is nothing happening up here, really the only thing not happening is you!

SOMEONE, COME UP AND SKI WITH ONE OF THESE GREAT INSTRUCTORS!

I am going to lay it to you straight. No, there is not a ton of terrain open. Yes, if you head off a groomer you are likely to ding a ski. No, all of the lifts are not running and no, you are definitely not getting any freshies…at least not this week. HOWEVER, don’t fool yourself into thinking that there is nothing to ski and that coming up into the canyon is a waste of time. First of all, remember that fresh air I mentioned and the crystal blue skies that are filled with the warmth of the SUN! Isn’t that reason enough to ditch the valley and the chaotic shopping malls? Second, it is plenty cold enough at night that the trails have kept all of their snow and the snow machines can add to it. The groomers are SWEET right now. If you like to lay them out and rip turns, then trust me, arcs are right on your door step. Third, tickets are still not full pop, so why not take advantage and bring your family up for a day of skiing and lessons so that they are prepared for the snow that will certainly come? Fourth, think of all the employees at the resorts and at local ski shops just waiting for YOU to get off the couch and have a little FUN! And, I guess, the most important reason for you to come on up here, is so that I don’t have to be lonely anymore…just don’t park in my spot!

P.S. I actually, really like not having to wait for the single upstairs bathroom so when you come, be sure to use the ones on the first floor….there are plenty of them…thanks, me.

THE LARGEST GROUP ON THE MOUNTAIN...LOOK, THEY ARE HAVING FUN!!!