What does pure exhaustion, sore thighs and utter contentment all have in common? They all mean that I have literally skied my heart out over the last seven days! Sleep has come easy this past week as I have crawled into bed each night worn out and happy. Although, the warm March sun is finally peeking it’s face out and melting the piles of snow that has fallen the last few days, I am grateful that the “best snow on earth” actually lived up to it’s reputation and gave us all the best week of the year!
I know that I am not the only one who is ready for a “break” today (even though I know that Solitude is going to be quiet and peaceful this morning). It has been a mad dash for powder, not only for the snow starved locals but for tourists as well as even a Monopalooza convention that found its way to Solitude this week. If any of you noticed the odd amounts of mono skiers gracing the slopes of the Tude, now you know why. They literally told me that a “MONOPOCALYPSE” of skiers had taken over the mountain! I wouldn’t exactly say they “took over the mountain” but, there sure were a lot of them smiling, partying and having a grand old time.
Okay, I am going to let you in on a little secret that I hope you won’t hold against me but, I feel that it is pertinent information. I love Alta! I have loved Alta since I was 19 and fresh out of my one semester of college in Colorado (probably TMI). I love to get over in Little Cottonwood Canyon and stomp on the home turf. So, why this, why now? Can’t I love to ski at more places than just Solitude? Well, I can and I do but, this is where I am going with my “I love Alta” nostalgia. Please read on for explanation. Although, I can attest (as well as most of you reading this) that Big Cottonwood Canyon was busy this past week, it was nothing like the mad chaos that was LCC! I am not trying to create a stir here because yes, I really do lust after the LCC some days but, I have never been more grateful to have a pass at Utah’s sweetest little (big) mountain!
Was I ever appreciative when I drove past the standstill of traffic heading up Little, or talked to those of you said you couldn’t find fresh powder after 11:00 am. Even my frustrating thirty minutes of canyon sitting, while I waited for the U.S. Forest Service to do control work, was nothing like the hours that some of you spent in your car in LCC.
Now, I am not trying to throw Little Cottonwood under the bus here, because, like I said, I am one of her greatest fans but, Solitude was where the endless stashes were to be discovered and skied over and over!
Thursday morning, I actually rode up the lift with a boarder from Snowbird who complained that Solitude was just as tracked out and that he should have just waited in line for the Bird. I looked at him, dumbfounded, as I said “Okay, so you would rather be sitting on Wasatch right now, then sitting on the lift” Insanely, he answered yes and said there was nothing to ski at Solitude. My friend next to me gave me the evil eye and pinched my leg so, that I would keep my mouth zipped. She knew wicked words were about to fly. It was all I could do to not call him out on his idiocy but, I held it together and as we slid off Powderhorn, I politely replied that there was plenty of sick terrain and untracked goods if only he knew where they were…but, of course I wasn’t showing him!
Tuesday was probably my favorite day of the week as I let Noah skip school and there is no one I would rather shred the hill with then the phenom ski grom which I will take full credit for. His little brother is about there but, I am not waiting for him on an epic powder day…yet.
The big snows had just begun to pack a punch but, it was windy and cold and the middle of a school and work week. I think most knew the best was yet to come and stayed away. Skiing in these conditions is ALWAYS the best time to ski! With every run, fresh snow fills your tracks and at Solitude our turns remained untouched by other skiers. It was quiet and peaceful and many employees were out racking up the vertical before the bigger crowds showed up. In fact, Noah and I were riding up Powderhorn to hit Milkrun when we noticed a sole skier carving up gorgeous, fluffy turns below us, it was Amy Nelson (Solitude employee and long time Solitude local). I caught her smile and I was happy that she had a chance to shred the gnar! It’s why she’s at the mountain for goodness sake! Tuesday was plain sick!
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and even Saturday were days that dreams are made from but, can I just say that the best run of the week was Thursday afternoon. Patrol got the Powderhorn gates open (Honeycomb side) and guess who was the first through? Untouched, pristine, deep, deep, deep, sparkling powder blew around me as I carved my way down through the open glades and trees that make up the north side of the canyon. Is there anything better? I think not!
So here I am, writing this blog, watching a short and tee shirt clad Isaac ride off down the street on his bicycle and wondering if it was all a dream but, the burn in my thighs after endless days of hiking out to Cathedral and all over Honeycomb, tell me otherwise. I couldn’t sum it up better than Nick Como (Solitude PR) who said on his Facebook page…”What is better than a powder day? A snow week!”
Thanks to Solitude and her quiet unassuming ways, her untouched stashes (that I know will be found long after the excitement of this week has passed) and to the quiet moments of epic freedom that were only broken from the whoops of happiness that often escaped through my lips. I was never more grateful to be shredding on her slopes than this week!