If you only knew……

If you Only knew….
But I’m glad you don’t…..
So goes a little sticker I have from years ago from Solitude. In all sincerity April 9th it was like a virtual dream occurring days before the resort will run its last chair, the patrol conducts it’s last sweep, and the skiers ski their last lap through the magnificent terrain of honeycomb. Was it windy up there? Did they get much snow overnight? Questions are most easily answered by the personal experience of getting in touch with Solitude. As I pulled into the parking I threw the truck into 4wd to no less than 12 inchest that greeted me in a lot devoid of cars with the exception maybe a dozen. As I started my evaluation of what my expectations were for the day I faced my usual dilemma. Snowboard or Skis. As the phone rings my buddy Mark (snowboarder) calls and asks me what’s up. “There is about 12” in the parking lot right now so get your butt up here!” I exclaim.
My other buddy Steve (Skier) calls minutes afterward stating, “I’m on the way up.” I usually ski with skiers, and board with boarders, but today I’ll throw on the board cause I figure it will be that creamy spring powder just dense enough for a boarder to float without crusting out. Then the plan is to don the Skis and start shredding headwall and then honey comb when it opens up. Cause it always does with Solitudes Patrol. They take care of business, and Me!
Off I head on the board and I can see it looks like George again, in the straw hat blowing cold smoke down sunshine bowl as I watch the contrails of powder rise in the air. That ain’t dense and creamy; we are talking bonifide mid season powder! I consider taking a quick one on the Express, or head to Powderhorn. Powderhorn it is as I start floating effortlessly through the powder on my usual line just above the cliffs then darting down the terrain that other people avoid thinking it’s too thin. Well it’s not. Up Powderhorn I am looking at the other 5 people on the hundred chairs and start wondering. Where is everybody? As I make a couple calls I nearly lose my hand to frostbite. Man it’s cold. Well that is what made this snow so epic. Yeah, I said it. EPIC That is what this day turned out to be.
I noticed that skiers right of the lift on Concord is looking deep and untouched. With a perfect pitch I figured it was game on. I qued up some music by muse “uprising” and then ventured into an ethereal experience. I really don’t know how to explain the ecstasy of bounding through over a foot of powder taking face shots and entering the white room crystalline experience of shear joy and exaltation. Turn after turn of untouched powder greeted me as a continual climax of jubilance radiated through my body as I threw my hands up the air at the end to honor the experience just obtained. As I literally basked in the afterglow of my run I realized nearly no one was witness to the best snowboard run I have had all year. Why, I must do it again! EPIC, Unfortunately my Zen was slightly interrupted by the ringing in my ear of my skier buddy arriving in the parking lot. On the lift in 5 he tells me. Hmmm, opportune time to shed the board I think to myself. Going to have a lot of touring’ to do today cause I can always count on Solitudes Patrol to “Take care of business, and ME!”
Pit stop at the car and BAM, I’m a skier. Like Clark Kent turning into Superman I’m on the sticks and on a mission of shear enjoyment. We know where were going and there is only one way to get there. As we head up Sunshine on our way to summit I reminisce about my days as a kid here where I owned this lift. I loved to ski under the liftas a 6 year old mini me with my dad as my sister and mom meandered down cornucopia and new sensation.
It’s on, off the Summit lift into the rollercoaster of the headwall. Two sweet runs of powder and then whoop there it is. As the masses, 12 people, head out on the east face we take the gate and head out to the black forest and have an untouched powder stash that was no kidding, at least two feet deep. Ugh, Link is done. As I reflect back in the day you had to earn your honeycomb laps and that would require you to make the run out to the bottom of the inspiration lift. Of course this was back in the infancy of snowboarders and one thing was a given. You wouldn’t find many willing to work their way out. There was only one thing that this would mean to us. Endless honeycomb powder. All day long. Lap after lap  coming off of Eagle Express it was untouched between Gary’s glade and rhapsody down to the Powder horn lift and then farming out here be dragons of epic Solitude powder.
I can honestly say that I would rather not be anywhere else. I am talking anywhere. Whether it is in the Bahamas on a beach, some backstage rock party, or ANY other resort. Maybe, just maybe I would consider a helicopter. Except this is quicker. I finally break down after lap three I give in and follow my friend Steve a little right of my untouched lines and break over into another untouched stash hundreds of yards long. Is this for real? Yes, This is Solitude after all.
Super fresh untouched two feet of light Utah powder at 1:30 in April with NOBODY around. Such is SOLITUDE.

There’s Always Tomorrow…(But it won’t be the same)

Walking into the Moonbeam Lodge this morning felt like coming home. After a few ski trips out of state and the new found warmth of spring, it has been awhile since I have clicked into my bindings at Solitude. It’s been much longer than that since I have stopped into the Lodge. Of course, I got my usual spot (right at the front door) and traipsed into the brown bag area to find…nothing, no one, not a soul around. Actually, it’s like this a lot. I smiled, took in the homey, musty smell of my favorite hang out spot and welcomed myself home.

I recently returned from skiing endless, staggering vertical at Big Sky, MT and before that, Jackson Hole. I loved playing on such amazing mountains but now, after all the glitz and glam has since dimmed into the fading season, the quiet and serenity of Utah’s most peaceful resort called me to her. The magic of a cold, spring snowfall was just what this gal needed to sink back into the roots and soulfulness of my sport. Solitude may not be big and full of herself but she is sweet, deep and unmarred by the hustle of the world around her.

 

Fourteen inches of cold fluff (not the heavy spring stuff we’ve gotten accustomed to) but authentic, middle of winter powder, brought out the fat skis and one excited mama. I should have let my boys miss school but I called a friend instead and we floated, literally, in our hours of childless freedom.

I expected more enthusiasm from the locals but, with minds on spring sports and summer around the corner, I think people may have hung up their boards for the moment. Those who found yourselves drawn to the mountains this morning, must likely share in my sentiments, that today, Tuesday April 9th, was assuredly the best day of the year! Today was inspiring, rejuvenating and completely epic. With no one to compete with and untouched lines galore, it was a powder addicts dream and the best drug I know to put a smile on one’s face.

The air was cold, but not bitter and as the sun eventually emerged with her blissful rays, Solitude became bathed in effervescent perfection. The mountain stood still and the canyons lay quiet as we silently engraved our turns upon her unscathed slopes. A piece of my soul was left today, high in the trees of Honeycomb and I may just have to see if I might find where I left it tomorrow…