Solitude’s Training Grounds

Skiing is an interesting sport in that you can never be perfect at it. Once you’ve mastered that stem christie, you start working on parallel turns. Soon, you’re pounding out some moguls, feeling comfortable with on-piste conditions, and eventually start traversing or hiking. I suppose this is why we can do this sport, sometimes day in and day out, year after year, and never get bored. No matter how good you are, there’s always something you can’t do…yet.


This focus on perfection is what keeps me coming out on the hill. I always have the mindset that while the last three turns may have been perfectly laid out with hands positioned correctly, no chicken wing, and hips forward, that first one, or the fifth, or seventh turn may have been a bit off. So I go back up and try again, wanting each turn to be perfect.


Skill development doesn’t stop here.You’re turns may be decent, but working up to different types of terrain is another way to push yourself further. It’s funny to think, that years ago when I first came to Solitude, I was scared to death of Sunshine Bowl. It was so steep, so daunting, so visible. Yet now, after years of perfecting each of those turns, I occasionally get to the bottom and am stoked about that run and how I connected with it. Now, I’ve moved on to more advanced runs, but there are still many times when I am terrified.


Just the other day, after a hike up Fantasy with my husband, which in an of itself has gotten easier over the years (I honestly didn’t think our marriage was going to survive the first time he convinced me to attempt the climb), we arrived at the top of shot 22. The iconic rad line of Fantasy Ridge. If you are looking at the ridge from the top of the Eagle Express lift or the West face of Honeycomb canyon, it’s the most obvious narrow chute straight down the middle of Fantasy. What’s crazier is shot 21, which fellow blogger Mike mentioned is a mandatory 40 footer back into 22. In any case, if you’re cool, you ski 22, or at least that’s the pressure I had put on myself when we arrived at the top.


Let me just stop here, and save some face, by saying, that I have skied 22 before. I usually love the steep walls towering above me, the tight hopturns, and the adrenaline rush that comes with it all. Yet for some reason on this day, the entrance looked more intimidating. I could see down in there, and know that once I descended the first part and made it past a mandatory left turn choke, I would be golden. For some reason, though, I just couldn’t visualize the first few turns. Visualizing, for me is really important, the only reason I’ve been able to surpass my fears in the past even back in the day on Sunshine Bowl, was because I could see myself making those turns in my head. This technique has been a source of confidence, which is really all skiing is about. Unfortunately, regardless of which run you’re attempting, somedays you have it and somedays you don’t. So, with the lack of confidence I needed to drop in, we kept moving with a little bit of discord in my spirit, opting for a day of slackcountry powder instead. As we ripped powder turns down the backside of Fantasy towards the Silver Fork drainage, I promised myself to come back when it was a game-on day for me.


This sounds like just some epically anticlimactic tale, but here’s where the beauty of Solitude comes into play. This Utah ski resort is one giant training ground. If you set your sites on something, you have a cornucopia of choices for areas that mimic the terrain with fewer consequences. Before I got into Ortovox on Evergreen peak, I was making laps through the Dogleg and practicing my hop turns in the Powderhorn Cirque. And before I was skiing the Dogleg, I was working on keeping my turns tight in open mogul fields. This way, I could get to the top of something when capabilities weren’t holding me back, just confidence, and say to myself “it’s just like a chute in headwall, but with rocks instead of trees” or whatever was needed to get in and ski a line with confidence. So now, I’ll be working on my Evergreen peak and Cathedral chutes and other lines off fantasy with less exposure, so I can go back and slay 22 when it and I are ready. I hope to see you all out there on Solitude’s training grounds, pushing yourself further too.

Spring Skiing at Solitude

The best time of the year is here! It’s unfortunate that winter has come and gone  but the Utah ski season always saves the very best for last. Spring is a beautiful thing and we are loving it up.


springtime shenanigans

springtime shenanigans

The snows are still piling high in the Wasatch Mountains but the days are longer and warmer. You may get powder in the morning, sugar in the bowls for lunch and slushy bumps in the late afternoon but any way you ski it, it’s going to be ridiculously fun! Who doesn’t love to ski hard all day and then shed the jacket and boots for flip flops and tee shirts?

Powder up top, but flip flops in the parking lot

Powder up top, but flip flops in the parking lot


In the last seven days, the Hodson’s have clocked in five of them on the hill, one in church and one on our mountain bikes along with a little math, reading and writing mixed in between. The mittens have been stashed  away along with our fleece and toe warmers and instead of warming up at Moonbeam Lodge with hot cider, we are now cooling off at the Round House with ice cold drinks and cheese burgers (well, in my case, a delicious black bean burger).

the boys soaking up the sun at Sunshine Grill

the boys soaking up the sun at Sunshine Grill


This is the time of year when you can ski nine to four and not cry about the cold or the wind. No one wants to go in. Solitude is completely covered and conditions are ripe for exploring off the beaten track or looking for jumps and smushy tree lines that give and give. Whoops and hollers have filled the last few days as we have enjoyed the springtime sunshine and excellent conditions.


Spring powder in Honeycomb Canyon

Spring powder in Honeycomb Canyon

Solitude is as quiet as ever, other than the Hodson boys and their friends as they have joyfully played about her epic playground. I apologize for their gaiety as they have sung silly songs on lifts, yelled at each other through tight trees off Queen Bess, goofed off with employees and followed US Forest Rangers around with zillions of questions. I believe the sunshine has released the Krakens.


Taking advantage of a tour with the Rangers

Taking advantage of a tour with the Rangers

Only a few weeks left, so don’t miss out on the “funnest” times to be had at Solitude Mountain Resort.  But please, try not to come up next Saturday and eat all our chocolate. CHOCOLATE LOVERS FESTIVAL, March 29th!!!


Beginners Guide to Solitude Mountain Resort

Solitude Mountain Resort has plenty of powder to go around and offers some of the best skiing in Utah for all levels. It can be intimidating when you haven’t skied in years, and you’re looking to book a ski vacation in a state that claims to have “the greatest snow on earth.” But don’t let all the “skier lingo” intimidate you- there is plenty of mountain for beginners too!

At the first entrance at Solitude, you will see the Moonbeam lift. To the left of Moonbeam is the Link lift or the bunny hill lift. If you are a beginner, Moonbeam is the perfect place to start or to at least warm up if you haven’t been in a while. There are multiple ways to get down that can take you to the base of Moonbeam lift again, including connecting with Link if you’re looking for an easier way to get down. Moonbeam is a great place for beginners or if you are looking to practice your turns.

solitude again

When you’re feeling more confident, ski over to the Sunrise lift. You can get to Sunrise by staying to the right at the top of Moonbeam and heading towards Solitude’s main village. Sunrise is just past the Apex lift. Sunrise has beautiful runs through the trees, but pay attention because there are a few runs that turn into moguls so unless you are feeling very confident in your turns, avoid those runs.

Don’t forget to fuel up at one of the many dining options at Solitude. You can grab a quick bite at Moonbeam lodge, or ski over to Solitude’s main village for the Honeycomb Grill or a slice of pizza at Stone Haus. If you’re looking for some water, Stone Haus offers free cups for water by their fountain drinks. You can also grab a quick snack to pack in your coat at the village store. Don’t let yourself get depleted while on the mountain.

Fortunately at Solitude, on the most crowded days you usually don’t have to worry about running into other skiers or getting plowed over by another beginner. Don’t let yourself get intimidated by other skiers or steep runs. There is usually an easy blue to take to get down from any lift, just watch for the signs.

Even if you’re a beginner, you can still experience the best Utah skiing out there at Solitude Mountain Resort.

4 different experiences of 4 feet in 4 days


After anticipating it and hearing about it for years, I finally got a taste of powder at the best ski resort in Utah. On Friday, I made my way up the canyon excited for another day at my favorite Utah ski resort. Snow was falling and the weather was perfect. Taking my first warm up run, I couldn’t believe how much different my board felt on the snow with just a little extra powder. Since Salt Lake valley has no snow, I was oblivious to all of the good snow just up the canyon from my house.

 Going down from the Sunrise lift, I turned onto Timberline, a run through the trees that I had never noticed. My board felt like it was floating on a cloud and I realized why everyone always brags about the powder up at Solitude. You don’t have to trek the backcountry or hike fantasy ridge to get some powder. There’s plenty of powder to go around at Solitude.




I should probably win an award for the biggest slacker mom ever! Well, at least when it comes to deep Powder days which otherwise translate into “sick” days for my boys. The first wave of snow started falling last week and after a significant dry spell, it was all but mandatory to pull Noah and Isaac from school. I was completely forthright about the absence…not like they wouldn’t have assumed anyways and off we went, heading up to the newly transformed landscape of our favorite stomping ground.


Favorite runs that have remained closed or have been avoided were now stuffed with white stuff and Noah squealed like a girl when he realized the Powderhorn gates were open and Parachute, Milk Run, Black Forest and Here Be Dragons were all in primo condition. We lapped Summit and hiked Honeycomb in search of untracked fluff until the final school bell rang and our “sick” day came to end. There have been a few more “sick” days over the past week and when I say “sick”, I mean SICK! Solitude is a winter wonderland and the snow is still falling!


It’s early and dark, and my husband’s already downstairs getting ready for another day of avalanche control work. Although I’m exhausted, the creaking and groaning of snow on our roof, collapsing under it’s own weight, has me too excited for the day to sleep another second. I crawl from beneath the covers, fumbling for my ski socks and long underwear from the day before. The groaning of the snow overhead finally pops and I can hear all the snow wooshing off of our metal roof. It shakes the whole cabin as it lands on our porch and I smile in the dark, knowing it will be a good day. 


I say goodbye to my husband and dog as they head off into the snowy and still darkness for work, and then sit down to do the snow report. So many inches to report,  I can hardly talk through my grin. I even throw in a storm total on the phone recording, 36 inches is just too good to not say out loud. I hurry to get ready, pushing past my sore muscles. I’ve been skiing continuous deep powder laps off the lift for 18 hours total since Friday, and my body can feel it. But there are certain rules on a powder cycle beyond “no waiting for friends”: dishes are a chore that can be put off, laundry as well for that matter, and when it snows 4 feet in 4 days, you don’t stop. I lock up the cabin and enter a life-size snow globe, and then click into my skis and  head through the powdery and silent woods for another amazing day at Solitude. 


Teaming up with my friends, we hunt for powder.  First we ski powderoy, carving up the snow that’s settled on the efforts of last night’s groomers. We decide to wait for the powderhorn chair, which is tough seeing everyone ski powder as we stand there, but our patience is rewarded. Our little gang of girls nabs first chair, and the lift line is smooth and creamy, just waiting to be skied. Practically drooling, we unload the chair and charge like we never have before. Three girls flying under the chair, encouraged by hoots and hollers from those still on the chairlift in the air. Our legs are quivering, but gates begin to pop, and we push each other to hit little airs, and tear down the mountain. When our we can no longer turn because our legs are so beat, we retreat to the village. It’s a beautiful area in general, but when everyone is walking around grinning and snow covered, with fat flakes obscuring your view of the clock tower, it almost seems magical. We head into the Thirsty Squirrel, running into friends we’d lost throughout the day. The bar is alive with energy and everyone, most still in ski boots and ski pants, swaps stories upon stories of the most epic storm we’ve all ever experienced over ice cold beers and lots of water.  



I watch the weather for snow, and when I find myself in the parking lot of Solitude I know that I’ve arrived at a destination that offers the best powder skiing in Utah.  For years I have tried to quantify how I have come to that conclusion but ultimately it is about more powder per person. This past storm was a perfect example. 

After a series of storms, Honeycomb sat untouched over the weekend and we knew it was going to be a treat. Like many things in life the immediate gratification of the ecstasy of “freshies” is great, but sometimes waiting has its rewards.  Unlike many of the other Wasatch resorts, powder at Solitude seems to last run after run.  After a couple of warm up runs we head over to the Summit lift as it opens and indulge in the joy that the Headwall Forest offers.  With creativity, insight, and experience I am amazed at how much powder I can have run after run.   As usual we watch for the Summit Gate opening and were right in line when it opens.  Solitude welcomes both skiers and boarders and I choose to do both.  Although, I pitied the adventurous boarders as I found them literally stuck in waist deep in snow on the traverse into the Black Forest. As usual my buddy Steve has to temper my excitement and keep me traversing and side stepping up as we go deeper into the canyon until he “let’s” me take an untouched line of powder that allows me to have a transcendant skiing experience.  It’s simply heaven…. Smiles abound on all the skiers and boarders at the Honeycomb lift as they rise once again to hit the gates leading to paradise over and over again. Ultimately that is the difference of Solitude, the powder continues to last throughout the day and sometimes days on end.

The Game Changer

I remember the days of backwards pizzas, edgie wedgies and hula hoops all too well and trust me, when I say I put my time in on the hill with my two sons Noah and Isaac, I mean I put my time in. There were a few days in between the sweat and tears that I turned them over to ski school so I could break away but more often than not, it was me and them…my two, little, adorable monsters.

For the most part, I have split my time between the two efficiently. Three years apart, Noah had plenty of one on one time with mom and by the time that Isaac was ready to hit the slopes, Noah could easily ski circles around us and cheer his brother on from the sidelines. There came a day however, that Noah needed to step up his game and following his little brother around the groomers and tree trails just wasn’t cutting it anymore. Ski days became all about him or all about Isaac. I just had to work it out.

a compromise on the upper and lower East face traverses of Honeycomb

a compromise on the upper and lower East face traverses of Honeycomb

I remember the day that Noah hiked all the way to the very end of Honeycomb so he could ski an untracked line with me. I remember that day, because there was no whining or complaining, no sitting down for a break. He was just a kid and his skis huffing it out like he owned the place. I knew that my days of slow, controlled skiing were nearly over and I was about to step back into the world that I had left before Noah had joined me on planet earth. There was just one glitch in this otherwise perfect scenario. A little beast named Isaac who was still up and coming.

Noah slaying powder

Noah ripping powder

A few days ago, I found myself on the mountain with just my little BIG guy. Isaac is a solid mass of boy and has closed in on and surpassed his big brother in sheer size and brute. He is strong and his skills on the mountain reflect his strength. As we rode up Summit together, he looked at me and said he was ready to hike. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Although, Isaac is solid on his skis, he is not one to overly exert himself and make things more difficult than need be. I went over all of the not so great things about hiking but he insisted. I made him swear that he wouldn’t complain and he promised. He was determined to see what this hiking thing was all about.


Isaac eyeing the goods of hike-accessed terrain

Isaac eyeing the goods of hike-accessed terrain

We pushed through the gate just below Summit and headed up the north ridge of Honeycomb Canyon. Pretty soon, he stopped from his sidestepping and I figured we were going to be heading down but Isaac just kicked off his skis and lifted them up over his shoulder like he had been doing it for years. I followed him all the way out to one of my secret stashes, a line that he would have never been able to ski had he not worked for it.


Earning his turns

We mined for powder all afternoon on the under skied tree lines of Solitude’s backside. I realized that the game had infinitely changed. My time on the mountain was evolving from mothering to actually shredding and picking lines that I want to ski not just lines that we can ski. The pace is picking up and I rarely find myself needing to ski behind…just in case. The years of torture (kidding) are drawing to a close and the world of big mountain Utah skiing, snow safety classes and avalanche training are just around the bend.  Pretty soon, the boys won’t want to ski with their mother anymore but, I know that I have given them a gift that they will cherish the rest of their ski days….and it’s fine if they blow me off one day soon, this mamma still has plenty of game.


Isaac enjoying his earned turns

Isaac enjoying his earned turns

By: Rachael Hodson

Fantasy Ridge was Open?!

Fantasy Ridge

For the Utah skiers and boarders who have experienced hiking Fantasy Ridge the name elicits memories and maybe even a couple of butterfly’s in the stomachs of all of us.  I was surprised to find that the ridge was open so early in the season!  Solitude is known for it’s fantastic skiing within the resort, but what often goes overlooked is what lies in store for those willing to explore the best ski resort in Utah.  Journey through the many gates that access the rest of Solitude’s Mountain Resorts in-bound and side country terrain and you are in for an epic treat.

As you get off the Summit lift and take a quick left past the patrol shack you stay right and come to a couple of gates awaiting your exploration.  The first is the Fantasy gate that heads straight up the spine that separates Honey-Comb Canyon from the resort boundary.  You are basically climbing the resort boundary line with the terrain that leads into Honey-Comb as in bounds with the additional “side-country” terrain adjacent to it and considered out of the resort boundaries.

The hike is not for the faint of heart and can be likened to the part on Angel’s landing in Zion National park where there are “no fall zones” with chains to help you along.  On the ridge hike, cables have been placed in certain areas to help you negotiate some technical aspects.  With some care and a little courage you can overcome the obstacles with some well placed footwork and a decent level of fitness.

Ridgeline Hike

Of course, like all of Solitude’s skiing the access and control is done by the world class Ski Patrol who kick in the initial hiking lines and make sure the avalanche danger is “controlled”.  With that said each skier and snowboarder must do their part and come prepared with a beacon, shovel, and probe as well.  Their is a beacon testing sign at the entrance to make sure you’re ready to go.  Take advantage of the testing site at the base of Eagle Express to hone your skills and make sure you’re ready!

hikerocks and trees


After entering the gates you will find a boot line that is fairly easy to follow along with a couple of rocky sections that will definitely get your attention.  This is not a leisurely stroll by any means.  It is one of, if not the most technical lines accessed from resort boundaries.  The views are magnificent and make the hike worthwhile if just only for the views provided.  You have unobstructed views of Solitude and Brighton Ski resorts including lake Mary.

Lying above the lake slightly to the Southwest is the Wolverine cirque. wolverineBig Mountain skiers from across the globe come to drop some of the biggest lines and air in the Wasatch in that arena.

Cold and Beautiful below Fantasy Ridge

Cold and Beautiful below Fantasy Ridge



Views of additional Wasatch Mountain resorts including Alta and Snowbird lie below you as you feel that you are on top of the world.  In fact, looking down at the Powderhorn gate access point you are literally hundreds of feet higher while anticipating an awesome ride down.


Well, that is what we came her for right?  To ski or snowboard some awesome lines of most likely POWDER.  The choices seem limitless especially if you are considering some “side-country” skiing outside the resort boundary.  The hike allows you to access literally hundreds of skiable acres of terrain.  An awesome option is to ride into Silver Fork Canyon and end up on the road that leads to the base of Eagle Express.  I usually choose to ski back into Solitude using the multiple options available.

chute To the left is a nice tight chute that presents itself after the initial hike.  My buddy Kendall liked to drop in early and take a mandatory 40 footer, which goes to show you there is a line for anybody.  After the first couple of chutes there is another peak to bag and several options that present themselves for the taking.



Yes that could be you standing  right on top of the peak taking everything in…



JakeFantasyThe farther down west you go there is some cliff bands that allow you to get pictures like these.  When heading down the mountain it seems something like a fantasy in which you are playing the starring role.

Welcome to Solitude.

Utah Snowboarding- Face Your Fears

When I go snowboarding in Utah, I like to be safe. Nothing is worse than flying down the mountain at uncontrollable speeds and catching an edge. The result is a pounding headache and the wind knocked out of you at best.

I’ve always been a nervous snowboarder. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t just hang out on the bunny hill all day, but I do fall a lot. I have smacked my head, hurt my tail bone and wiped out in a terrain park attempting to learn my first box. But after switching over from skiing, I have always felt like I have less control on a snowboard. And having less control scares me. My irrational “dying while skiing” fears started at age nine when one of my mom’s friends lost her daughter to a ski accident. She had lost control and went straight into a tree. I remember going skiing after that and being scared to lose control and worried that if I went too fast, I wouldn’t be able to stop.

Solitude edited

Snowboarding at Solitude Mountain Resort this season has been the greatest way to overcome this fear. Instead of thinking about everything that can go wrong, I focus on the sound off my snowboard carving in the snow and spending my day at the best ski resort is Utah. On Saturday when I got to the top of the Summit lift, I strapped in and flew down the mountain. It was a busy day, but for Solitude Mountain Resort, that just means you wait two minutes in the lift lines instead of getting right on. I didn’t have to worry about watching for others on the mountain, I didn’t have to worry about anything.

apex lift edited

(The “line” at Apex)

When I got back down to Solitude’s village, I felt liberated. By far, this had been the best run of the day, and probably the best run of my snowboarding career. I felt free and ready to move on to more difficult terrain.

You can spend the day worrying about what could happen, or you can divert your energy to having a good time. Life’s too short to worry about the things that can go wrong. Sometimes you just have to be brave and just face your fear head on.

Anticipating More (and How to Find It)

Solitude Secret Stashes

Do you know what lies beyond Honeycomb?

It’s starting: we’re getting past the point of early season skiing in Utah and are starting to lust after some of our favorites lines. We hungrily eye the routes we haven’t taken since last season as we pass overhead on the lift. People stack up next to closure lines to assess how long until their favorite stash will be filled in and ready to tear into.

It’s almost there.

The anticipation is nearly as heavy as pre-season excitement, when folks are putting off their summer adventures and tuning up skis, practically jumping at every forecast that dips below 32˚F. We’ve patiently skied the opening day groomers, kept pristine for our pacification. We jumped off trail much too early, turning last year’s gear into next year’s rock skis, grinning during every turn and taking any gouges as badges of honor. We’ve explored all we can, and yet, there’s more coming.

That’s the beauty of Solitude Mountain Resort. Even when you’ve skied it all, you really haven’t skied it all. The place is filled with gems that many locals don’t know about. But listen closely: You’ll hear the whispers, the tales of powder that lasts for days after a storm. This is knowledge that isn’t given up willingly; it’s knowledge you have to earn.

Right now is the time to be doing just that.

We’re verging on mid-season greatness. Storms will be filling in those final inches that make it possible to drop in Solitude’s sweet sidecountry and traverse into terrain that goes unnamed on the trail map. So here’s my insider tip: Take lift laps with those in the know and find your way into their inner circle.

How do you recognize these folks? Well, you won’t unless you’re “on hill” and being observant. They are the ones up there several times a week, usually roving about the resort in the same small group of two or three skiers. Don’t look at the lodge during lunch; they are too far out to be bothered with warming their toes by the fire. And looking at the base will end your search fruitless: They use Moonbeam only to make tracks for the far reaches of the resort, namely its top elevations or peripherals.

If you happen to find the ones who know the places in-between, you’ve struck gold.

Admittedly, it will be hard to track down the most knowledgeable skiers while the lifts are spinning since Solitude has enough places to keep these skiers elusive. It’s time for “Plan B”: The Thirsty Squirrel. This pub plays after-party for the hill’s guests. In this après scene, you’ll find that skiers need little time to loosen up and get into the festive spirit of story-swapping and tale spinning. When it happens, pay attention: Feeling a bit of bravado, skiers let their guard down and their secrets out — and you’re there to soak it all in.

Now is your window to make this the season you’ve been waiting for: one filled with steep lines and trees that hold powder days after a storm. Oh yeah, and the one that your friends start asking you where to find all the goods you’re getting.

Groms with Glow Sticks Ring in the New Year


Cheese pizza, a snow cat ride with your friends, and skiing back down decorated with glow sticks? What more could a kid ask for to ring in the New Year? Youth from the Wasatch area, local cabin kids, and even a few visitors joined us last night for the annual Children’s Glow Light Parade.



What a fun night for the kiddos of our community! They started the evening at our Last chance Southwest Grill, dining on cheese pizza and accessorizing with glow sticks. Soon they were shuffled out to our cat, where they piled in with their buddies for a nighttime ride up the hill. Parents huddled outside the machine with their cameras, peeking into the frosty and glowing windows peppered with the too-cute image of children in goggles and helmets. If you’ve never ridden in a snow cat, it’s about as much fun as a spin on a carnival ride, and these pint-size rippers were probably just as excited for the ride up, as they were the ski down.

loading into the snow cat

loading into the snow cat

As the light of the second group of children reached the top of Main Street, spectators moved out onto the flats at the bottom. The beams of the children’s flashlights illuminated their path and combined into the parade of lights to welcome in 2014. The trail of lights was even accented by some creative Utah skiers who’d fashioned outfits of lights in various colors.

ready to head up the hill

ready to head up the hill


The laughter and cheers of children faintly drifted down the hill toward the awaiting crowd, who returned with woots and whistles. Parents, spectators, and baby brothers and sisters alike embraced the glowing group as they reached the bottom of the hill, and although it was dark, I’m pretty sure I saw a few gleaming smiles from the participants.


The Glow Light Parade

The Glow Light Parade

Like those that participated last night, we hope you spend your New Year skiing Utah, smiling, and glimmering. Happy New Year from all of us here at Solitude Mountain Resort!

Dreaming of White


In my book, Christmas should always be white. Not white sands but white snow. This year, however, the Hodson family decided to spend eight days in sunny Florida right before Christmas. A trip of a lifetime for the boys with a visit to every theme park and landmark that could be found. Blue skies, shorts, alligators and sand was exciting and new but as Christmas loomed closer, my heart started to empty of its love for 80 degree temps and flip flops and longed for the snow capped peaks of the Wasatch Mountain resorts.

Dazzling lights, fake Christmas trees, bells and wreaths, concerts and shows could not make up for the loss of December in Utah. As much as I had been thrilled about the change in scenery, I needed to get home. All of us needed to get home!

Seems a little whacky for Christmas.

Seems a little whacky for Christmas.

We were giddy, even after a long, LONG flight home as we stepped into the chill of pre-Christmas Eve with highly anticipated joy. The boys worried that Santa would not know we were home but he came, quietly and stealthily amidst the stars gleaming above the city, blanketed in white. The cold morning dawned as Noah and Isaac reveled in their loot and I yawned and enjoyed the peace of my own home. Hotel rooms and busy itineraries drifted into the past.

A Hodson Christmas!

A Hodson Christmas!

Legos captivated the boys and breakfast filled them but eventually they began to wonder why we were still lounging around the house? Didn’t we ski on Christmas? Wasn’t it tradition? Jet lagged and sleepy and feeling rather Scroogy, Matt and I finally decided that yes, we belonged on the slopes on Christmas Day.

The short drive up Big Cottonwood reminded us why Florida could never compare and we greeted Solitude Mountain Resort with enthusiasm. The late afternoon sun was already casting it’s shadowy light when we finally clicked into our bindings but ski Utah on Christmas Day we did. With not a second to spare, we high tailed it through the recently opened Powderhorn gate and made our way into Black Forest. Sun baked drifts gave way to shady patches of soft fluff and we turned effortlessly as we dropped into the silent valley of Honeycomb Canyon. Anyone who had been there had long since gone home and we relished in the quiet together as a family.

Isaac looks back at the looming peaks falling into shadows.

Isaac looks back at the looming peaks falling into shadows.

Beaches cannot compare on Christmas Day to the beauty of pines drooping with the weight of sparkling snow or craggy peaks glowing pink and purple with the effervescent glow of the setting sun. Winter in Utah is brilliant and spectacular and if you are even thinking of skipping over our magical playground for the magic of other places just wait until the snow melts because when you dream of winter, you should always dream in white.

Happy Holidays!