This year’s trip was to Utah visiting Powder Mountain and Snowbasin. The week before I was able to stop in at Solitude and Alta for a few days. Weather was excellent and the snow was great. The last time I was at Powder Mountain it was 2010 and the Olympics were going on. This years trip had a interesting twist as the night before I took a puck to the foot just above the ankle. That would make things interesting.
I’d only been to Solitude and Alta once before which was more than a few years ago. I didn’t really know what to expect coming back since there hadn’t been much snow. As luck would have it snow was on the way and the first day we’d have to go up Little Cottonwood Canyon since Big Cotton Canyon was closed till 9:00am, and we didn’t want to wait. In hindsight going to Solitude was the right choice, great snow and no lift lines. I doubt we waited 30 seconds for a chair all day, Alta was a different story. At Alta the wait was a minimum of 10 minutes. Not sure if it was a Friday thing or just that more people go there. Regardless both places were excellent and the long Alta runs made up for the wait, most of the time.
The puck to the ankle would put time at Snowbasin and Powder Mountain to three days instead of the planned four. Day one at Snowbasin was excellent. The ankle held up pretty well even though the boot fitting the evening before was questionable, just strapping it tight was painful. I kept the day short and finished heading down Dan’s Run, not the best choice of runs. It hadn’t been groomed and there were a few moguls which made for more pounding on the foot than I’d like. The experience there is second to none, first class. It might be a hour outside of Salt Lake City but it’s worth the drive.
Day two at Powder Mountain was just as expected, accept for the early exit. Two years ago when we were there we skied two days and I remembered a number of runs. It was an overcast day and a little cooler, only in the 20’s but that made for good snow. With it a little colder we stopped for a break around 11:30 at the Hidden Lake Lodge. The ankle was really bothering me as continued pressure when turning was taking it’s toll. After the break I left the group and headed down to the main lodge and was going to call it quits. The “Powder Keg”, as it’s called, is small bar on the main floor and was very busy. I took a seat at the bar had a beer and hung out till about 2:00. Not sure if it was the beer, tight quarters, or feeling a little better but I headed back out for a run to see how the foot would hold up. I headed down to the Timberline lift and things felt ok. At the top of Timberline I headed over to the Sunrise tow bar and still felt decent, but knew there wouldn’t be much more. Sunrise takes you by Dr. C and Clair’s Run a couple blues that don’t get much action since you have to back track a little to get to them. I saw very few people head over there in the morning and thought if that was going to be it I’d like to see what one of them was like. Heading down Clair’s Run it didn’t take long to see fresh corduroy, that was pleasantly unexpected. Back down at the Hidden Lake Express lift I decided that was going to be it. I headed back to the main Lodge to catch up with a few others that were at the Powder Keg for a beer and a little music.
Day three would be an off day for me. It turned out to be the best weather yet, sunny and 40 and the guys reported near perfect conditions at Powder Mountain. Lucky for me weather for the next day was to be similar.
Day four weather was excellent. Back to Snowbasin for a second time the sun was shining and it was around 40 at the base. Snow held up pretty well mid mountain and above, below it got kind of mushy. The ankle held up with only one spill, not expecting the steepness on a black run … which I try to avoid in general. Finished the day with a few passes on Dan’s Run, it had been groomed this time, and a few beers with the guys at the base Lodge.
Another great trip and perfect timing for weather and snow. Hope next year is the same!