Sat 21 Jan 2012
The sheriff was at the bottom of Big Cottonwood Canyon turning around cars so, I knew it was going to be big but, it was hard to grasp the concept of snow when rain had been pouring in torrents throughout the night and there was nothing but fog and water socking in the valley. My windshield wipers flicked back and forth as I headed up the canyon road and memories of my youth came rushing back with every bead of water that slid down the windshield. Rain usually accompanied every drive up to Crystal Mountain or White Pass in Washington only to finally change to snow about ten minutes from the resorts. I had grown up with this stuff but, was I ready to ski in poncho weather after 17 years of Utah fluff?
The fog and rain was thick as Noah, Isaac and I kept our sights on the digital temperature display that was gradually dropping from the 40’s down into the 30’s. About 8 miles up, the rain started turning into slush and then into giant wet flakes. By the time that we reached the Solitude parking lot we had hit the motherlode!
In celebration of the first “real” powder day, I let the boys skip DEVO. We came to play and we were going to play hard! Isaac and I headed up Powderhorn after he had a few minutes to figure out the heavy, powder that encircled his tiny body (relatively speaking) off of Moonbeam. Cool, wet flakes drizzled down our necks and my pants were already taking in moisture but there was white stuff all around!
Powderhorn has been a base weld trap for the past month or so and I was excited to finally get our relationship back on track. Of course, no lines and we slid right onto the icy, wet seat. I wondered for a moment at those silly ponchos that the Crystal Mountain ticket guys would give us with our passes and laughed at the thought of Utah locals doing such a thing. In retrospect maybe a garbage bag with a few holes punched through wouldn’t have been half bad but, what fun would that have been? I think all of us would have rather been soaked than dry…right? Noah, who had beaten us up on the hill, came tearing down below with some of our favorite locals, Mike and Chris. We yelled out to him and got a grin from ear to ear as he gave us a thumbs up and then disappeared into the blur of snow and fog. I love that my nine year old has discovered heaven at such an early age!
Although, the visibility was questionable and Solitude was still our quiet Solitude as far as crowds go, the atmosphere was different and any of you who were skiing at any of the Cottonwood resorts today know what I am talking about. We all knew the rocks were not far below but dang, it felt good to have snow blowing past our faces for once as we popped in and out of the piling drifts of snow that were quickly filling in our tracks. As the day wore on and the temperatures continued to drop the skiing only got better and better. Excited whoops and cat calls reverberated through the stillness of the winter filled landscape. The snows had returned along with the happiness of all those who have longed for it! I smiled to myself as I sat back on the lift and listened to the canyon echo with Joy.