Happy Holidays!

 

Cold and Beautiful below Fantasy Ridge

“It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas” was playing over and over in everyone’s minds last week as the temperatures dropped on Christmas Eve and a large cold front pounded through Utah. The snow started to fall, as if on cue, for the man in red who was traveling through the night delivering gifts and has since continued to pile up. For most of us, the gift of powder was the best present anyone could have wished for. Shoveling was a pleasure and scraping snow and ice off our cars and sidewalks Christmas morning was as sweet as the candy that filled our stockings.

Merry Christmas Noah and Happy Snow Year!

 

Utah seems (fingers crossed) like it is back to a normal winter cycle after last year’s dry spell with snow truly falling and sticking around. The rocks and stumps are being buried under drifts of white and the possibility of major core shots and wrecked edges are diminishing with each passing day.

Although Christmas this year found Little Miss Sunshine (me) laid up with a nasty cold, I managed to chug a few Red Bulls, drop a few meds and make it up on the hill for some semi-inebriated turns as I couldn’t break a Hodson tradition! This only happening after my boys woke us up that morning at 3:20. I promise you, I am not joking. Someone please explain to me how you get two excited boys back to bed when Santa has come?  Runny nose and cough ignored, I finally gave in, after an hour of tears and promises, and plopped myself on our couch, in the dark of night, to see what surprises had been left under the sparkling tree. I would be really full of it if I said I then rallied and made it up to Solitude by 9:00 a.m. but the reality is, well, let’s just say I went back to bed and finally found myself (and the family) on the hill around 1:00 p.m. Hey, better late than never…right?

The Sun Peaking over Powderhorn

 

The mountain was relatively quiet, the sun was momentarily shining, the snow was light as cotton and we filled our three hours with some memorable moments including Isaac’s first turns down Black Forest this season, a secret stash that Noah discovered (which I swear I will never find myself in again) and a stop at the Roundhouse to watch Noah and Isaac, who has recently been nicknamed “The Tanker”, throw back some serious burgers. Noah claims (and will tell anyone who asks) that The Roundhouse has…da-da-da-duh…the juiciest burgers EVER! I am beginning to wonder if it is ever a legit ski day for either of them without a quick, sloppy stop mid-mountain?

Tanking Back a Roundhouse Cheeseburger

Some Good Eats

Not our greatest picture ever…but Merry Christmas from us anyways!

 

So, another Christmas came and went, my sniffles have since abated and yes, I have made it up several times to enjoy the fresh Utah snow all the while the New Years looms ever nearer. With the holiday season, comes the tourists, who must have heard that we maybe had some good snow here, and have spontaneously flocked to our state in droves.  In fact, yesterday, my family got the shock of a lifetime when we actually had to circle a few times for a parking spot. After an hour or so of people watching and some casual skiing we decided it might be nicest of us to just share the mountain with those who may not get to ski it as often and returned home.

A line at Moonbeam is as rare as seeing a white moose in Park City!

 

Of course, there is plenty of mountain to go around and of course there is ample space to spread out but, when you are used to seeing more people skiing with red coats and a white cross on their backs than any other type of skier, I decided, as the gracious Utahn that I am (or spoiled rotten brat), to let the good folks from out of town enjoy our powder for the next few days. In fact, I promise to give you all the space you need but, I do expect to have our mountain back to is solitary self by Wednesday. Sound alright?

Sweet Solitude

Laughs and jokes aside, I truly hope that everyone reading this had a wonderful, peaceful and joyous holiday and that the New Year’s brings much success, happiness and plenty of powder. Go Seahawks!

P.S. Great quote overheard on Challenger (and yes, it was a busy day…for Solitude): “If we were at Deer Valley right now, we would be picking our way down this run through the skiers…glad we came to Solitude!”

 

Powder down your clothes and up your nose…Best feeling EVER!

Jill Adler takes care of business in Honeycomb. Photo By:Rachael Hodson

I really should have got something up a few days ago but, with holiday parties, kid’s school, hockey, writing assignments…oh and some GREAT snow conditions, I just haven’t managed to actually put my thoughts down on paper…or I should say cyberspace. So here goes. Unless, you are of the “I hate winter” mentality and are holed up in your house playing video games, you have probably noticed that there is white stuff outside and when there is white stuff outside that usually means there is something good up in our mountains. Well, since you all should know by now that I am of the “I need cold, wet weather” variety it should then be no surprise that I have not been holed up in my home the last week or so! In fact, if you have any sense about you at all, you have been breathing powder through your nose and working those quads right along with me!

Jill again…Can you believe I shot this picture!

 

Although early season conditions still exist, I am going to go out on a limb and proclaim to the world that I have already had more face shots over the last seven days than I had ALL last season. I am hoping that I don’t jinx the rest of the winter but, I am so grateful that the winter of 2011/12 is behind us and I am not maneuvering around rocks and stumps and even dirt. Happy sigh.

Happiness in a Poof! R.H.

 

I am also happy that through it all, many of you have joined me up at Soli as well as the other ski hills in our neck-of-the-woods. I really am! It is great to see Utah skiers and boarders so excited about the snow and I love seeing all of your faces covered in ice and flakes. I have enjoyed the hollers echoing through Honeycomb and Headwall and the grins permeating the lift lines. Well, I suppose I shouldn’t exactly use the term “lift lines” since we are talking Solitude here but, the smiles of the happy few who are possibly waiting for a friend or two as fellow powder hounds scoot quickly through to the lift.

Solitude’s own, Brian Thurber enjoying his “work benefits”!

 

I heard this morning on the news that skier numbers are down 33% from last year in Utah and I am here to tell you that if you are not lucky enough to live in this fine location then you should make sure you put Utah on your radar this winter and book your tickets NOW! I promise the skiing is fabulous! I won’t even be bothered if you decide to stay and play on my favorite little, big mountain. I know that even on the best of the best days you probably won’t find a line or crowd anywhere on this hill. There is something magical about Solitude that seems to hide the folks skiing here. I am always wondering where everyone is…even when the lot is full…like on Saturday?

The Best of Both Worlds

There is nothing short of frustrating listening to your buddy’s voice mail as he raves about the 4th lap on Honeycomb on the Saturday after the dump. Basketball games and Boondocks for the kids today, powder tomorrow. With a little negotiating with the wife a  Sunday morning powder church was in store for me. Arriving at Solitude was the typical scene. A lot devoid of cars stretching towards eagle express where George and his buddies were starting the day off right with their pow wow at the end of the lot. You know George, the guy with the straw hat?  He has probably skied every day Solitude has been open ever!   As I stared into the truck bed I really had only one choice to make. Board or Skiis.Why not both?My plan was hatched and on the board I went. Oooh it looks good. FLUFFY low density stuff. I enter the ticket gate and notice the threesome 2 back from the first chair and I invite myself into their stead. A quick lift up and minutes later. POW. Yeah POW, and lot’s of it. I motor down to Powderhorn through the Rhapsody run and knew it was going to be an incredible day. Superlight, fluffy, low density, crystalline blessings of great joy…. Powderhorn. You just say the name and my mind races to the top picturing that awesome swiss style patrol shack with the red cross on it housing the guys that make all this possible. Except for the fact they aren’t in there. They are busy throwin’ bombs in Honeycomb preparing for my second act to come later. I find my self in Paradise.  No kidding, Paradise.  Literally and figuratively because that’s the run’s name and it is exactly what I’m experiencing. At least my version of it. Floating effortlessly through powder while throwing up a face shot with every other turn. Aaaahhhhh. Thank you sir may I have another, and another, and another. Cause’ that’s what you are going to get here at Solitude.

After six amazing runs of Vertigo, Concord, Paradise, and Paradise lost it was time to prepare for the second act. Skiis. Mainly because when my boys in red are done droppin’ bombs there is this magic gate to ecstasy off of Summit that I like to take and I have no interest in boot stompin’ that traverse!! Grab the skiis from the car… even found fresh tracks all the way down the mountain. A little Sunrise, and off to my favorite stashes in Headwall. Yeah, I know some of the shredders have been partaking but I can always find a line and it was very nice. After two headwalls I am on the lift and it grinds to a halt. Uh, oh. As I look at the watch I discover this is it. Gotta be home for sledding with the kids in an hour, so if the gate doesn’t open there will be no Honeycomb for me. Yeah, right. We are at Solitude people. As the gate to my powder destiny opens right as I get off the lift, I know what awaits. I could try to write about how that run went but I’ll leave it to your imagination, or you can make it your own reality. After all, you can have the best of both worlds here at Solitude.

Paradise on a weekday

There is a first time for everything. I’m not sure if I was looking to seek some humility on the slopes but
I was pretty sure my first day on some telemarking gear would give me some. I mean, c’mon. $250 bucks on KSL for boots, skiis, bindings,
and even some skins!? Too good to pass up. So here I go hitting the slopes at Solitude. Of course I won’t have to worry about
running into anybody, literally, cause’ theres hardly anybody to run into. Just some creamy powder and what feels like my private
resort. We’ll, private except my buddy Steve who had to repeatedly show me how slow I really was on this tele gear.I never knew
the appeal of telemarking but I figure I would find out for myself. First thing I found out is if you get to far forward it feels like your
tripping forward. If you don’t catch yourself, over the handlebars you go. Other than that it was a blast. It was kind of fun trying
a new way to slide down the mountain. I will say that if I was on my downhill skiis I would have switched to the snowboard today
because that creamy powder setup was ripe for surfin’. We found that Eagle Express was closed the day before so to be skiing
5 inches of powder the day after was pretty good. Only at Solitude, I can guarantee that. We split over to Summit for a couple of runs
and the snow at the top had amazingly good consistency. As for you potatoes down in the valley saying we need more snow. Well, it’s
up here! The coverage was good and we hit a bunch of off piste skiing that was pretty fun. Looking across the Road at the South slope,
(reminds me of Park City) it’s as brown and snowless as you can imagine. Solitude is on the North slope baby, so get up here and have
some fun! Yes I am willing to share…..like I did with maybe the 100 or so lucky people that have the flexibility to enjoy paradise on
the weekday. See you on the slopes. I’m bringing the snowboard tomorrow!

Sugar Therapy…Best for Moms

Although monster storm Brutus left us with some decent snow totals, it has been dry and warm ever since. In fact, I have been moping around wondering if it’s about time I gave another winter sport a try? One where there is climate control and where the conditions are always ripe, say, something like curling or figure skating or I know, I could join The Puck Girls and the Bikini Hockey League! Dad, what do you think about that? What? Huh? Oh, all right, I should probably learn to skate first. Besides, my smokin’ hot ski pal, Dawn Snyder already made the team so, I suppose I’ll just cheer her on and keep hoping for some good turns on the hill!

Having Some Fun on a Monday Morning- Rachael

Thankfully, before I spent money on some new curling stones and sweeping brooms, the weather channel started calling for high elevation snow. I wasn’t going to hold my breath but, I decided to put off my hopes for Olympic curling gold or goddess hockey status and wait and see if my aspirations for a solid powder morning would come to fruition. Besides, a sheet of pale ice and fluorescent lights probably wouldn’t cheer up this mountain girl’s need for wind, snow and vertical!

Rain pounded outside my window overnight and I crossed my fingers that a few miles up the mountain, snow would be falling. The early morning sun broke through lingering clouds and revealed dusted mountain peaks and I knew I would be getting some Monday morning glory in less than thirty!

Morning Sun On PowderHorn

It has been ten long years since I could just pick up and go. Ten long years of maybe I can get a sitter, maybe I will put the kids in ski school, maybe I will be skiing with the grommets and maybe I just won’t be skiing at all. Don’t get me wrong, I have spent ten years grooming two sick little skiers and having the time of my life, but can I get a HALLELUJAH for both boys in all day school! My husband whisked the groms out the door at 8:30 and I booked it up Big Cottonwood.

Jill Adler Playing in the Trees

5 inches of Sugar!

No one likes to ski alone so, I phoned one Utah mamma who I knew would be up for a chilly little play date. Jill Adler was dropping her first grader off at school in Park City when I called and played the Devil’s Advocate in her ear. Not one for choosing responsibilities over fresh snow (her gear never leaves her car), she doubled timed it for Solitude. By 9:25 a.m. we were both heading up Powderhorn for some seriously beautiful turns. Pure freedom! I didn’t need a new sport after all! What I needed was a few spare hours and some good snow to keep my smile cranking and my whining at bay! Trust me, powder in the form of tiny ice particles is much better than the stuff found in Prozac and Valium. Maybe more Utah moms should head up the canyons rather than to their shrinks or to the mall. I promise this form of therapy is much cheaper and the side affects are far better tolerated. With five inches of fresh sugar we filled our morning with childless sweetness and promised to do so again soon. Thursday morning is supposed to be nice….

While the kids are away...go to Solitude and play! Jill Adler Getting Some!