A Week of Ahhhs….

Big Cottonwood Canyon, January 24th, 2012

Although, we are not where we need to be, the canyons are looking a little more white and wintery than they have been the last couple of months. It has been a great week of skiing and I have been so busy making turns that I have all but, forgot about blogging about it.

If any of you have been looking at the photos from Solitude’s Facebook page, than you know that there has actually been some serious goods on the hill this past week. I have been promising Noah, all season, that I would pull him from school on the first big powder day and Tuesday definitely delivered his pink slip! Although, he had to get in a few hours of class in the morning, we still had plenty of time left to play. I knew driving up the canyon at 11:30 meant that most of the untouched powder would be gone but, I also knew that we wouldn’t be fighting over lines. The locals had obviously come out in full force that morning as I pulled into the parking lot and noticed the bumped out frontside of Solitude. However, as quickly as they had come, they had all but vacated the premises. Although, I was a little bummed at the obvious disregard to the late starters (me), I suppose it was just as well because it ended up being just us and the mountain. I love Solitude for that! I pulled right up to the front in typical Solitude fashion and we headed up towards Summit.

The sun was shining, the snow was sparkling and I was happy to find Headwall Forest empty of fellow skiers but, surprisingly, full of fresh, untracked Utah powder. You have to remember that this was the first time we have been able to ski anything but cruisers and bumps since last season and it was awesome! We lapped Headwall so many times that I believe the two of us may have shredded all the precious snow in there.

Noah "Getting Some" in Headwall Forest

Noah and I drooled over Honeycomb (which was closed) for a few minutes and wished that we could imprint ourselves onto her untouched slopes but we also understood and felt the danger of the unknown which was hidden beneath the heavy slabs of snow precariously sitting upon the steep canyon walls. With all the flakes that Utah has received over the last week or so, conditions, although so much better, are currently treacherous out-of-bounds. Visible slabs of cracked snowpack and the tell tale sign of slides are evident throughout the Wasatch and the surrounding terrain around Solitude is no exception. The patrol were out in full force, on Tuesday, training and working with their avalanche dogs and it was great to see them out there doing what they do to keep all of us safe.

Working Hard

I thought about them (patrol) as I stood on a ridge looking down into Milk Run early Saturday morning. There were tracks above me heading over towards Middle slope and possibly some tracks entering from the south side but, nothing from where I stood. Well, nothing other than the slide down the center of the run which undoubtedly was set by Solitude’s finest to stabilize the slope. I was tempted to just traverse in and head down but, I just couldn’t do it alone. I knew that the patrol wouldn’t have opened it if they didn’t feel it was safe but, I just had a nagging sensation in my gut to not go it solo. I stood there for a good ten minutes until two telemarkers pulled up next to me. “Looks a little sketchy” they said and I nodded but, I so wanted to hit it….we all did! I figured at least I had a chance of being uncovered with two big guys behind and carefully made my way over the ridge and down into the slide zone. At that point, I was a free bird and giddily bounced through the fluff and crud all the way down towards Summit. It was sweet and I was so grateful after such a lame start to the season to be skiing one of my favorite runs again! I was thankful to those who work their frozen fingers off, before any of us have even gotten out of bed, so that we can safely ski the amazing terrain that Solitude has to offer! Thank you, it was a wonderful day.

The last couple of days have been snowless but, no longer is dirt visible and the little rocks which tagged you on every run are all but gone, buried beneath the thick snow that finally came. The weather has been beautiful and mild and Solitude is empty once again from the onslaught of crowds which made their way up to the slopes over the weekend. This morning was quiet and calm and utterly relaxing as I played around the mountain with my little Issac and my husband, Matt. Isaac got in a good 3 1/2 hours of ski time before he had to head back down to the valley for kindergarten and officially end his ski weekend (I suppose his ski week is just beginning). I love these passing moments with my children that will be gone before I know it but, how fun to watch my 6 year old shred the bumps off Eagle or figure out how to turn on the steeps of Black Forest or scout out his favorite jumps for a little air time. He is gaining confidence and before long, he will far surpass his mother’s skills on the hill! Noah is just about there…Ahhhh!

Isaac Playing in Black Forest for the First Time!

The Eagle...Looking Pretty!

Bumps and Sun for Isaac

The Canyon Echoed With Joy!

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.

What Dreams are Made of!

It's Been Awhile Since We Have Seen This....Thanks Guys!

Chris C. Noah & Mike G.

YEAH!

Isaac making his first powder turns of the year on Powderhorn

Your New Year’s Resolution…GO SKI!

My very first blog of 2012! Yippee! Can you believe it’s been a year since I last wrote? After a long, two week hiatus from Solitude, It sure felt good to get back up in Big Cottonwood Canyon and enjoy some serious sunshine as well as some beautiful turns! I am pretty sure you didn’t miss me but, just in case you did…just a little bit…I didn’t go AWOL, I promise, life just happened. The last few weeks were busy with an out-of-state wedding, travel assignment, kindergarten testing, and a few other hiccups so, it was definitely relaxing to hit the home turf today.

I see not a lot has happened (as far as snow) in my absence but, I hear it’s coming….that’s right!  Word on the street is that things are about to change. Change is good but as far as tomorrow goes…why worry about it, why not enjoy what today has to offer, and today was simply perfect!

Seriously, what a day! I don’t know, sometimes, days just click (and if you read this blog, you KNOW that doesn’t always happen for me) and today was one of them. I loved today! The weather was phenomenal, in a springy, laid back kind of way and the brilliant sunshine, reflecting off the snow, was just what this girl needed. All the regulars were on the hill having a great time, the kids were happy, my skis were the right size (long story), my boots were finally fitting the way the they should (another long story) and we even ran into a few unexpected friends which always makes for a good time.

On another note, it seems like every time I turn around someone asks me about the conditions and gives me their feeble excuse about why they don’t want to ski and why they haven’t made it up yet…not even once. I listen and nod my head and some days I might get you and feel your pain but not ski? Not ever? Why? That…I just don’t get! A friend of mine, from another mountain, was telling me that the resort gets calls every day from somebody or another asking whether the mountain is even open or not. PEOPLE, THE RESORTS ARE OPEN! Spread the news for goodness sakes! No, it’s not epic goodness, but the slopes are still worth your time!

So, for the last time, if any of you are still wondering if you should rally and head up the canyons…What the heck are you waiting for? Powder? Well, who isn’t, so why don’t you just put a smile on that face and realize that you can still have a great time without the fluff. Why wait for the crowds when you can still get some peaceful alone time on the hill? Why worry about your new fat skis when you can just grab those four year old giant slalom skis, hiding in your garage, and lay out some serious arcs? You could do what I have done most of the season and ski on a pair of midget slalom skis and try to actually make more than three turns down the hill. I have never turned so much in my life! I know a few people who would be shocked by my precise, little turns. I am telling you…good stuff!

You don’t have to listen to me or to any one else for that matter and you can go ahead and pull out your boring old golf clubs or whatever else you think is better than cruising down the ski hill, but just remember, when the snow comes and it will (because Mark Eubanks says it will) all of us who are ripping around, fine tuning our game, are going to crush your skinny legs when you finally do decide to make it up here. Just saying…

Blue Skies, Sunshine...Gorgeous!

Spencer Gardner carving up Sunshine Bowl

Don't tell Noah there is NO powder...He will surely find it!

Ahhhh

It looks like the Gardners and the Hodsons think that the skiing is no good...NOT!

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

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!!!

The Honest Tude

You might think after the last post that I may have gotten all of the early season kinks worked out but, oddly enough, this week was every bit as crazy. I don’t know, maybe the cards are stacked against me this year. I guess I have to have hope that as the snow begins to fall and actually covers the slopes in white, that I will get out of this rut…If not, you may see me on the news (insert tragic story) instead of on this blog.

Thanksgiving week has been hectic but, I managed to get up to Solitude a couple of days in between family, cooking and too much eating. First of all, let me just wish you all a happy belated Turkey Day. I assume that if you are reading this, you probably like to ski or board so, I hope that besides stuffing yourselves with delicious food you also found time to head up into the mountains for some fresh air and a few runs on the hill. Although, we are all looking for signs of the next big storm, Solitude is still managing to provide some good turns to those who head her way.

Powderhorn opened earlier this week to limited skiing, but, it was nice to head off the beaten track a little. Diamond Lane benefited from the past weekend’s storm which had delivered enough snow to get it in decent skiable shape. For early season conditions, the skiing was great! Now, with that being said, the key words here are “early season conditions”. What this means is, DO NOT ski on your brand new skis on anything but the groomers. I know better, you know better, but, sometimes, the new skis, with their perfect, untarnished, bases and edges are just too much to resist. I am sure you can guess the ending to this particular story. Lucky for me, I married a guy who can tune a pair of skis with his eyes closed and lucky for him, his US SKI Team tuning brother showed up and saved my husband from a night of P-tex, hot wax and diamond files.

On another magnificent Thanksgiving Week ski day, I managed to sink my Volvo in quicksand-like snow at the end of the Moonbeam parking lot. Seriously? I haven’t gotten a car stuck since, well, since never! I am going to blame it on the weird snow seeing how I am rocking some seriously sweet snow tires and a ride that can definitely handle winter. I know what your thinking, “Yeah, the car might be able to handle it, but she obviously can’t.” I am not going to go there, take back the thought! Anyways, 45 minutes and some very nice strangers later, I was free. I parked my car and Noah and I headed out for an afternoon of funness….I know that’s not a real word but I like it!

Noah and I had fun chasing each other down Sunshine Bowl until, I stopped to talk to someone at the top of Eagle Express and lost him. Actually, I didn’t lose him, I skied right past him, while I held his poles. I love skiing with two sets of poles…always a real pleasure and I also wondered how mad my son was going to be when I finally found him. Luckily for me, he stayed put and I retrieved him right where I had left him, unnoticed, standing at the top of the lift. I can’t blame Solitude for my mishaps, Solitude is awesome. Solitude is quiet, even during this past holiday week. Solitude is everything she is supposed to be…unfortunately, I am not. Solitude is so mellow and awesome and the people who ski here are so rad (Yep, I like that word too) that the following not-so-great thing could have been bad in an epic proportions kind of way.

Upon returning to my car, we found a familiar older gentleman standing nearby. I had parked next to him earlier and had smiled hello. Amazingly, he happened to come down at just about the same time we did. He informed me that he had just shut my driver’s side door as I had left it wide open. He mentioned that my iphone was sitting on the front seat and I immediately thought of my wallet which was in plain sight as well as my husband’s new ski boots which were still in the box. My heart was racing as I opened the door and found everything just as I had left it. I couldn’t believe it! We had been away from the car for about three hours and not one person had grabbed my belongings! Before I go on, I must say that this will NEVER happen again…so, don’t go getting any ideas! Anyways, the thing is this, this is exactly why I love Solitude. I love that you feel like you become family on this hill. I love that it is peaceful and quiet and that you get to know most of the locals that ski here. I love that no one bothered to take advantage of a car that was obviously unattended and that one, Rob Reece, decided to shut and lock the door for me. Most of all, I love that I can laugh about this stuff with all of you and Solitude keeps letting me do it!

So, along with a few other minor mishaps, I made it through this crazy week no less for the wear and look forward to what the next week might bring….PLEASE LET IT BE SNOW!

Help, I Can't Get Out!

Powderhorn Opens!

Sunshine Bowl...Living Up to It's Name!

Cream Jeggings and Apple Cider

I think It may take a few tries to get back into the rhythm of things. The resorts received enough new snow this past week to make it look like it is actually ski season and after a crazy week of Birthday parties (Isaac is officially 6), family, school and everything else, I was ready to hit the slopes…or was I?

Saturday morning came early as my sister and I had to drive our mom to the airport so she could head back home to Washington. Decidedly, a 6:00 a.m. wake-up call is never a good thing! In fact, it is currently 6:30 p.m. on Sunday evening and yes, it has taken me that long to get this blog up. My brain is almost up to functioning, working order again. You might blame the following words on my blondish hair but, I am going to blame it on lack of sleep.

Returning home from the airport, I contemplated going back to bed and rolling out later for a noon entrance at Solitude. Not too bad of an idea I thought, until I walked in the door to two boys excited to get out on the slopes. Noah had been in New Mexico last weekend and was anxious to rip it up with his old DEVO Team buddies and Isaac (who has somehow turned into a 55 pound skiing machine) couldn’t wait to prove once again that he is almost as tough as his big brother!

Some of you may remember one of the first posts of last season, regarding the (not so great) behavior of my boys. A morning, not so far away, when getting two boys ready and out the door for a day on the slopes was a mighty chore. What a difference a year makes! It’s not the boys who need help, it’s me.

Usually, very organized, I realized (five minutes before DEVO) that Noah’s helmet and goggles had been left at home. After I convinced him that wearing my helmet was not such a bad thing (Thank goodness I brought a black helmet with black Oakleys…could have been hot pink) he headed out to meet up with his friends.

Before, I go any further, let me just add that I am ski clothes junkie. I love em! I love to get them for free and I love to buy them! This past week, I found a cute pair of Holden pants that fit like my favorite low rise, skinny jeans. After, getting the boys out the door, I pulled on my boots and then tried to pull down my pants. WT!? They wouldn’t fit over my boots! I finally had to roll them up just so I could ski. Fashion nightmare. I looked like I had super tight cream jeans on and when rolled up, my boot was totally exposed…loser. No helmet, no goggles and a pair of cream jeggings later, I pushed off the lift. Things were happening, I was making some nice turns and I was feeling okay….well, until I layed out my skis and about flew onto my side. I had zero edges. Immediately, I heard a voice in my head reminding me that I never scraped the wax off my skis. Idiot! I carefully, skied the rest of the way down and dropped my skis off at the shop.

Solitude has got a great bunch of guys down there and they respectfully didn’t laugh and call me names…at least not to my face. I am sure they were just like “What is that girl doing on these K2 Sidekicks?…I bet she can’t even ski…hahaha”. I decided that I might be better off in the lodge drinking hot apple cider. If it’s not one thing, it’s another, right?

As always, my ski days always end great and after my brother-in-law showed up with Noah’s helmet and made me laugh (see picture), I was able to enjoy some late afternoon bumps and cruisers. You know I really love skiing, I always have, but, sometimes, the off days are the ones we remember the most so, I say, just laugh about them…or in my case, just blog about them.

Isaac's first turns as a 6 year old!

Hey Mom! My outfit looks better than yours!

These guys were making me laugh all day...Don't worry, they figured it out eventually.

My brother-in-law Mark, How can this not make you laugh?

THE 2011/12 SEASON IS OFFICIALLY UNDERWAY!

This morning was clear and beautiful as I stepped out into the crisp early light. The eastern sun shone brightly over the snow capped peaks and the browning leaves fluttered gently in the breeze. Snow from the last storm still lingered in the cool shade of our yard as the school children had hurried past to catch the bus to school. A typical November day, much like yesterday and likely, just like tomorrow. As the usual morning unfolded around me, I smiled as I loaded the car and called Noah’s school to let them know he would be a few hours late. The Thanksgiving holidays seem too far off in the distance for us to be loading the car with skis, boots and coats. But, that was exactly what I did this (anything but normal) November 10th morning.

Excitedly, we headed towards Big Cottonwood Canyon, slowed only by the occasional school bus taking the unfortunate children to their day of reading, writing and math. Noah and Isaac giggled as they saw their friends waiting on the street corners. I know, I know, I am soooo responsible. Sometimes, just sometimes, higher elevation is just a little more important than higher education and today was one of those days.

How could I let them miss the opening day at Solitude? The boys had been longing for this day ever since the first, wet snowflakes back in October. Well, I couldn’t let them miss it and I couldn’t miss it either!

Due to a few early storms and ample snowmaking, Solitude had plenty of reasons to open three lifts (with another opening this weekend).  Dear Solitude, Thank you! As we stood at the bottom of Moonbeam, I felt the flutter in my heart as I surveyed the lifts cranking, the groomers pushing snow on Sunshine Bowl and the ski school and patrol out in full force. I believe that the 2011/2012 ski season is officially underway!

With our boots clicked in and our helmets on, we were off to a great start. There were no rocks in site as we cruised down beautiful corduroy and enjoyed our skis beneath our feet once again. We skied run after run until, finally, it was time to get the boys back to school (no tears please) for the afternoon…must save those full hooky days for the powder…which is sure to come.

The resort is in great shape for those who are smart enough to come up this weekend for some early pre-season skiing. However, if your like us and need to just excuse yourself from life for one day, I am sure Solitude won’t tell anyone. Friday morning turns anyone?

First Chairlift Ride of the Season, Noah & Rachael Hodson

Noah's First Turns of the Year!

Tear it up Isaac!

Fall Is Spectacular at Solitude!

Utah has been enjoying some warm weather lately and the mountain foilage is responding beautifully to the mild temperatures. Winter’s chill is just around the corner and the snowflakes are destined to come but presently, the canyons are aglow in glorious hues of reds and yellows. Even though the thought of powder piling up outside my windows brings on pangs of excitement, I can’t deny that this fall is every bit as spectacular!

The leaves seem to be on fire this year as the rays of the sun bounce off the canyon walls and gentle winds fill the aspens and pines with life.
It has been a few years since the fall colors have peaked as they are doing now and if you blink, you will miss it.
So hurry up and get off your computer! Head up to Solitude and take in the last breaths of alpine fall before the snows blanket the slopes.

Grab your mountain bike or your trail runners or just grab your loved ones and come up and enjoy a peaceful lunch at Kimi’s and take in the gorgeous mountains aglow in fall’s joyful palette… I promise you will see Solitude as you have never seen her before!

Oh, and DON’T forget to bring your camera…that would be a VERY BIG mistake!