Every Day is My Utah Ski Vacation

I‘m not going to lie to you, I really like snow. Not in a “Hey look, it’s snowing!” type of way, but more of a “snow flows through my veins” kind of thing.

Some may say that I’m addicted to snow, but I’m not. I can stop anytime–but why would I? I’ll take as much snow as i can get. To me there is literally no downside to the white and fluffy stuff.

Driving in it? I wish I could do it year round. It makes driving fun again.

Shoveling and clearing it? One of the best winters of my life was when…

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IT’S TIME TO SKI FOR THE AGES

I was reminiscing with friends recently about the way things were when we were young as compared to what our own kids experience today. Rotary phones, typewriters, and riding in the back of pickup trucks are all things of the past. Sadly, today’s kids will never know the joys of when disco was new, mullets were cool, and Neil Patrick Harris was an emerging child actor. Not to mention the fact that we walked to school in waist-deep snow, uphill both ways, and often in bare feet. We all had a good laugh and acknowledged that, if there was ever any doubt, this conversation officially made us ‘old men.’

A few days later I found myself riding a chairlift at Solitude Mountain Resort when I noticed yet another way things have changed—My kids will never experience the noggin-numbing wait of a long lift line.

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Ageless.

Valentine’s at Solitude……Why Not?

High above the hustle and bustle of the Salt Lake Valley, unassumingly tucked away in The Inn at Solitude, can be found the Solitude Mountain Spa.

Solitude’s spectacular peaks and snow drenched slopes are some of Utah’s finest creations.  This quiet, peaceful and unpretentious resort entices visitors from all over to come and experience the famous Wasatch snow and exciting terrain in a friendly, low-key environment. Solitude, for the most part, is considered a day use area with many visitors coming up from the valley. This is a result of most skiers and boarders who park in the lower lot and give little thought to the quaint Bavaria

nesque village which is situated at the base of the Apex Lift. Many unknowingly pass the village by with little more than a glance at the clock tower as it strikes the passing hours. If you take the time to step onto the cobbled paths which meander through the picturesque village you will find that Solitude has more to offer than just the Moonbeam Lodge and incredible skiing. Restaurants, shops and cozy European lodging will take you back to yesteryear when life was simpler and the pace of every day life was just a little slower.

The Solitude Mountain Spa encompasses this notion of peace and relaxation and although, you will find that this is not a 5 star spa with glitzy amenities abounding, you will discover that it does deliver 5 star quality, service and a friendly, cozy atmosphere without the cost of larger more decadent spas.

Owned by Solitude Mountain Resort and managed by the incredibly knowledgeable and talented Suzanne Hawk the spa offers a fantastic selection of treatments, facials, massages and packages as well as the opportunity to create your own package perfectly suited to you. Suzanne and her staff of experienced estheticians and massage therapists are trained to know exactly how to treat and relieve ski specific soreness and fatigue as well as restoring and pampering the skin with treatments designed for clients who spend their time out of doors in the sun and elements. Whether your idea of relaxation is a 20 minute escape from the kids at lunch or 5 hours of pampering with your favorite friends, The Solitude Mountain Spa has something for everyone.

Only 20 minutes from Salt Lake means that it’s not just the tourists who should take advantage of this little sanctuary nestled modestly in the natural, alpine setting of the Wasatch but, locals as well should take advantage of the opportunity to detox the mind and relax the body in the most perfect of locations. Grab a friend and head up the canyon for a facial and warm, blissful stone massage or just come up for a custom pedicure sure to beat the quick ones found in the city.

With Valentine’s just around the corner, The Solitude Mountain Resort as well as the Spa is the ideal location for a romantic getaway. If you don’t have time for an overnight stay just come up for a massage for two and a romantic dinner at St. Bernards. Solitude is the ultimate surprise for your Valentine and Solitude has made it easy with a custom Valentine’s package designed just for you!

Solitude’s Sweetheart Deal can be found at this link:

http://www.skisolitude.com/trip_planner/solitude_savers.php

For more information on the Solitude Mountain Spa check out www.skisolitude.com. You will be able to find all of the services offered as well as any specials that may be available.

Two Girls and a Guy

We all know Solitude likes to pride itself on being a family destination spot. You know… the place where kids are always smiling and parents beam with self gratification at their wise decision to vacay in the solace of one of the most peaceful resorts on planet earth. We give Soli kudos for their laid back, family friendly environement but, I am here to tell you that you can still rip this mountain to shreds. Well, that is if you have the skills!

Today, just happened to be one of those put up or shut up kind of days. Sometimes, it is nice to leave the kiddies at home and find your own smile in the steeps and fluff. Elsewhere, any powder left from last week’s mammoth storm would surely be skied into oblivion and packed out into a wind crusted slab of knee injury induced crud. However, Solitude once again gifted us with fresh sugary turns and lonely lift lines.

Lonely lifts aren’t so bad though if you have a couple of fellow riders to laugh and shred with. Fellow gal pal and ripper, Jill Adler joined in the fun and Solitude’s very own Nick Como got a little “on the job” work done while figuring out his new HD 170 camcorder  from Drift Innovation and boosting our already self absorbed ego’s. I am proud to say he took some great shots and kept us giggling from Powderhorn to Honeycomb and everywhere in between all while tearing up the hill like any self respecting PR guy should!

November has barely turned into December and already the mountain is a month ahead of schedule as far as snow conditions go and the skiing is unbelievable for such an early start! After Nick’s departure to office land, Jill and I decided to go back and hit a sweet line which he had graciously led us to several hours earlier. Three solitary lines were still there beckoning to us for more. How could it be that not another soul had ventured upon our powder laden line? Could it be possible that hours could pass and fresh, beautiful turns still awaited us in Honeycomb so late in the afternoon?

Solitude offers so much more than meets the unassuming eye. Formidable but beautiful terrain awaits if you choose to seek it out. And if you do, you will be blessed with perfect turns and heart pounding action!

So, although there may be not a single soul in sight just remember that three tracks are always more fun than just one! Thanks for the turns and the laughs you two!

Solitude is Officially OPEN!!!

I got the call from Solitude’s marketing department that opening day had been bumped up to Friday late Thursday night. “Would you be able to come up and write about it” Nick’s voiced echoed through the phone. “Absolutely”, I said. I mean, was it even a question? For a brief second, I wondered if I should send Noah to school and Isaac to the sitter and go solo. Nahhhh….that wouldn’t be fair, I thought. It was opening day, let the boys miss a day. I excitedly woke them and shared the good news.

As many of you know, skiing with kids can be quite a challenge but, of course mine are the exception. I mean, come on, they have been on skis since they could walk and of course every opportunity to be on the hill means at least some (if not all) of the Hodson clan can be found on the slopes. Our two grommits were born to ski!  So, after a summer of wishing it were winter and after a couple of nice snowy storms, Friday morning’s early opening was a day to celebrate!

At 8:30 a.m. sharp, with giddy enthusiasm, we happily piled into the car…..Whoa…not so fast. Did you really think it would be that easy? Solitude’s 9:00 a.m. opening came and went and we were really doing was trying to find thermals that fit, deciding which helmets to wear and trying to locate those brand new ski socks which had somehow disappeared. At 9:20 Noah and Isaac were fighting over newly discovered ski stickers which surfaced at the worst possible moment. Fists were flying, tears were falling…Really? I mean did it really matter who got to stick the Rossignol sticker on their K2 skis or the Bern stickers on their Smith Helmets? By 9:30 the car was finally loaded…with gear that is but, no children in site. The bathroom beckoned, the dog needed to be greeted, the…WHAT THE??? Noah emerged in full gear, boots buckled, coat zipped, helmet on and goggles down. I tried telling him that he was going to fry in the car and that his boots would scratch my leather seats – not to mention that his goggles were going to fog up and that I was about to lose my mind! He shrugged his shoulders, threw a snotty comment my way and hopped in the car like a good little boy…NOT! Instead of buckling up, Noah has grabbed his scooter and headed for the road. Are you kidding me? Isaac finally arrived with his britches falling down past his knees and climbed into the backseat of the Volvo, while Noah, in full ski gettup, whizzed down the street while whistling for all the nosy neighbors to see. I had a passing thought that if he crashed and burned and I didn’t catch it on film, I may be missing out on some serious YouTube exposure. Who am I kidding? Kid on scooter, flying down hill in neon ski outfit crashes into neighbor’s car. Helmet and goggles save mini daredevil’s life. I imagine the whole scenario in my head and then come back to me senses. I am his mother not the producer of MTV’s stupidest kids.  By the time Noah had finished his comedy act it was 9:45 and I should probably have just gone back inside and went back to sleep.

By 10:00 a.m., we had finally turned up Big Cottonwood Canyon. The boys were silently fighting in the back (like I didn’t know what they were doing) and I was practicing relaxation techniques without crashing the car. Breath in, breathe out.

Solitude rolled into site and I hoped that the rest of the day would be cake. Blue skies, sunshine and freshly fallen snow lifted my spirits. We pulled into the upper parking lot to grab our passes and my boys, who were ready to shred, immediately voice their displeasure over the delay. Within 5 minutes the ticket lady was silently voicing her displeasure that she had to deal with my boys. Noah, always the angel sweetly said to me, “mom, aren’t you glad you have a nice butt” as he annoyingly smacked the don’t even think about it zone right in front of her.  He is lucky I didn’t knock him down on his backside. I force a smile at the lady as she rolls her eyes. During this seemingly lack of parental control, Isaac had decided it was his job to discover what was in some of the boxes that were in the ski shop adjacent to the office. Within moments of an impending disaster, he was shooshed out and a metal gate was loudly pulled or rather flung across the entry and locked.  Next came the pass pictures with one child who couldn’t smile and another who couldn’t stop bouncing up and down. After three failed attempts at a photo without an arm for a face, we finally had success and emerged triumphant.

We got back into the car and headed to the lower lot. Isaac who had been dying with excitement to get on his skis must have forgotten over the summer just how much he hated his ski coat and helmet oh, and ski boots and how could I forget those dang ski thermals which rode up his hiney. I mean if the kid would just wear undies he probably wouldn’t have that problem! 10:45 found him crying in the parking lot as everyone stared at the lame mom (yes, me) who was forcing her tiny four year old to toughen up and get on with it! It was a darn good thing Noah was already dressed and ready to go…or was he? “Uh, mom….I think I left my gloves at home” he says in that soft little voice which knows I am about five seconds from blowing like an atomic bomb. Seriously, when the kid comes out with his goggles down and his boots buckled you would ASSUME he would have put on his gloves. Duh.

11:00 a.m. found us in the ski shop buying two pair of gloves because obviously Isaac’s were way too big.  At 11:17 we were FINALLY on a lift. Isaac had temporarily forgotten about his clothing issues, Noah was grateful he was still alive and I was looking forward to a few turns.

Everything was finally right with the world. Oh, who was I kidding? Isaac had temporarily forgotten how to carve a turn, his new skis seemed too long and his emotions were raw. Noah, who is usually the naughty one, was obnoxiously reveling in the fact that he was acting perfect and that it was Isaac who had gone loco.

The first run, after a long hot summer of pools, flip flops and lazy days was not the happy Kodak moment I had expected but, I have to admit by the third run things started to look up. After a late lunch of fries, fries and more fries, Isaac was, at last, happy and ready to rip.

Although, the first day of the season didn’t quite go as planned and this blog may not have been exactly what Solitude had in mind, the day ended remarkably okay….Well, okay enough that I was still alive to write about it.  Noah, started laying out some gorgeous arcs and got to be interviewed by the news. Isaac eventually discovered his skiing legs and inevitably got used to the longer skis (which were his perfect size by the way). His snowplow evolved into the nice, fluid carved turns which he had mastered the previous season and his confidence soared. By the time we had loaded back into the car and headed down the canyon we were all smiling and looking forward to the next day’s return to the slopes. Thankfully, for me, Saturday means DEVO Team and the Coaches can work out any second day kinks while I get to peacefully enjoy my day on the hill!

Happy Ski Season 2010!!!

The Eagle Rants On

Last weekends’ snowstorm brought over 90″ inches of snow to Solitude (yippe!), but it also brought a slew of skiers from Smallwood {you figure out the translation} as well (bummer). The “feel” of Solitude is laid-back, relaxed and unpretentious – and unwelcome change is certainly in the air once our quaint resort is inundated with U-turners from another canyon. Now we know how you Floridians feel when the “Snowbirds” from the Northeast (pun intended) overtake swimming pools, highways and bridge games every winter.

The Eagle will protect the innocent’s identity, but will keep her claws sharp with response.  A few “words of encouragement” we heard  from uninvited transplants:

“This place sucks – there’s not a lot of terrain open”

Well, Your WHOLE CANYON is closed. Don’t be ungrateful – you’ll develop unsightly frown lines.

“When will all this huntington canyon thing open”

As soon as you leave.

“I thought it wasn’t normally crowded at Solitude”

It isn’t. This isn’t a normal day. See all the skittle thugs out there. They’re not normal, nor are they normally here.

In addition to the dynamic shift felt on the hill, our inbox fills up with many short-sighted pseudo-guest comments.  We had most of the upper mountain shut down for an hour and a half while patrol painstakingly did avalanche control work.  This is the same day there was major slides in-bounds at other resorts, in the backcountry, plus several resorts and roads didn’t open until well after noon.   Here were a few of the Eagle’s favorite…

“Why was Eagle Express not open right at 9? It was not safety related. Please don’t use safety as an excuse when there was a communication breakdown. You can only use Mother Nature as an excuse for so long…Otherwise, how is Solitude learning from these experiences?”

Sorry Dad, we’ll learn next time. 92″ of snow in 7 days is NO BIG DEAL. We’ll just open up terrain without ensuring it is 100% safe, because, after all, who wants to wait in the name of safety?

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“IT IS POSSIBLE to know that the slopes cannot be opened for 30 or 60 or “Z” minutes. It’s basic math. If there are “X” places that need to be re-inspected before an area can be re-opened, it then becomes “how many patrollers do we have working on those areas and how long will it take to just do the basics?”

Really? Avalanche professionals admit they cannot forecast when an avalanche will occur. They can get an idea, and do control work accordingly and recommend to close or open terrain. But this readers simple algebra equation has it figured out! Quick, someone nominate him for a medal!! For the record: We do alot more then just the basics. However, I think Mr. Basic math just nominated himself for guinea pig work.

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“I had to wait 90 minutes for a lift to open. This is not a way to treat loyal customers. Next time LCC is closed I will be going to Brighton.”

Hmmm.  This makes you our loyal customer? How? We’re obviously your plan-b resort. Your loss. Please do go to Brighton or Park City next time. However, I doubt they will want your attitude. I’m thinking Colorado is a safer bet.

Meanwhile, at the ‘tude, we’ll be doing this…

Important editor’s note: We do agree that communication could be improved concerning what lifts will open and when.  If and when we do have info available, we’ll post it to our twitter and facebook accounts. Follow us and become a fan – the girl who is getting first tracks in Milk Run is…

Guest Post: Adam Barker

In a good way, mind you. The last couple of days have been full of deep snow, cold hands and big grins. Where else for all of this to take place but Solitude Mtn. Resort?

I love Little Cottowood Canyon and it’s associated resorts as much as any powder-crazed skier/photographer, but man Solitude can hold it down when it comes to snow, features, and no crowds to battle when shooting. With a sketchy snowpack, I have been forced to shoot inbounds much more than years past. While frustrating at times, it definitely pushes me to see things in a read more…

Guest Post: James Douglas

Visitors come to Solitude, walk through this village and often think to themselves “How cool it would be to live here!!” Well folks I’m here to answer that question for you and the answer is… just as cool as you think it would be. I’ve been a resident here in the Solitude Village for two winters now and can tell you without a doubt that living here is everything you hoped it would be and more. The people are so incredible and accepting that all it might take is one lift ride to make a read more…

Engaged at Solitude

From Solitude’s newest happy couple: “I wanted to let someone at Solitude know! We met in a ski shop and spent the next day, New Year’s Day 2008, skiing together at Solitude. This New Year’s Day we spent the day skiing together at Solitude when Justin took me up Summit and then got down on one knee!”

Not only is Solitude a beautiful place to pop the question, but it is also a perfect spot to tie the knot. Check out our wedding page for some great photos!

Guest Post: Adam Barker

Today was my first visit to Solitude Mtn. Resort this winter. One of my favorite things about visiting Solitude is the drive up Big Cottonwood Canyon. I fell in love with this canyon several years ago during a brief work stint up at Solitude. I came to know it intimately. I saw its many moods–weather changing at the drop of a hat, light pouring from the sky–you know, all the good stuff.
Enough reminiscing. Today was downright cold, but enjoyabe nonetheless. Solitude opened up the Summit chair for the first time this year, and although still a bit thin in spots, there is plenty of soft snow to be had. One of my biggest frustrations read more…