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 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.
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!