February 27, 2008

What it’s like to visit Utah

My brother Jay came out for a couple days this week. He flew to Phoenix from New Hampshire on Saturday night with his wife Jeannine, and daughter, Nichole to visit Jeannine's parents. He then took an early flight to SLC, arriving at 8:30. We were on the hill in about an hour. He brought his ski boots and used a pair of Volant Chubbs from Sarah's parents' collection. That morning we hit Deer Valley for a nice warm up. The weather got pretty dicey as the wind picked up and the hail started. But the snow conditions made it well worth it. We met up with my friends, Chris and Jody and then went out for an early dinner at Red Rock Brewery in Park City.

Day Two, we spent at Park City Mountain Resort, where my friend Bryan played tour guide for the morning, since he works there and I have not had the chance to learn my way around their 33,000 Skiable acres. Park City, had received about a foot overnight (at least) and there were fresh turns to be had in all directions. McConkey's bowl provided an epic first couple runs. And a late opening at Jupiter and Scott's bowls made the powder-day, and the resort tour complete.

That night we also made a trip to the Homestead in Midway (5 minutes from the house) to swim/dive at the famous "Crater". The Crater is an underground thermal pool inside a volcano-style cave with a hole at the top. You can swim or scuba dive in water that's 90° or more all year round. The water is about 55' deep and about 50' wide. Since Jay was already certified to dive he was allowed to rent scuba gear and explore the depths while Sarah and I watched with masks and snorkels from above.

Day 3, we hit Alta. Another 6 inches or so fell overnight while the wind swept the hill smooth. The sun came out early to a bluebird sky as we ate french toast and chicken fried steak at a trucker's diner in Heber. After a 45 minute drive into the valley and up Little Cottonwood Canyon, we made first chair on the popular Collins Quad. Our first run at Sunspot, off the Rustler traverse set the tone for another sweet day. We made an effort ride each of the four major chairs. We capped it off with a scenic overlook from the top of Supreme where we pointed out our house in Heber City over the Wasatch back. After a Mexican dinner at Cafe Rio, I dropped Jay back off at the airport to rejoin his family in Phoenix, exhausted and and satisfied.

February 18, 2008

Grand Targhee, What a Trip!

We took a weekend trip to visit our newlywed friends, and former neighbors, Neil and Mary in their new home in Driggs, Idaho. Joe's former co-worker at ASC, Neil has been working at Grand Targhee resort just across the border in Wyoming for a couple months now and is loving his new position. Mary has left as the Marketing Manager at the Park City Chamber and is currently doing contract work and enjoying the outdoors of her beautiful new surroundings.

The trip started out fine. We left Park City a little late and knew we'd be making the 5-hour drive in the dark. What we didn't count on was a fundamental oversight, that could have been easily avoided if we had simply remembered our trusty atlas. Upon exiting route 20 in Rexburg, we innocently took a left (west) instead of a right and proceeded to drive in the wrong direction. The road predictably narrowed, street-signs and marks of human involvement lessened, while low-lying layers of fog engulfed the car like sheets of wax paper blowing in the wind. We found ourselves driving at half-speed. The fog then yielded to happy sightings of fluffy bunnies on the road-side. At first we saw one or two alarmed little bunnies as we drew their attention from road-side bunny business. Then the frequency increased exponentially. Bunnies everywhere! Again we drove at a tortoise's pace, while making eye contact with each of the thousands of bunnies and evaluating their will to live. Some would dive towards the car in a last-ditch suicide attempt. We successfully dodged dozens bunnies before finally decapitating one determined hare. After that ordeal, we were able to maneuver around the rest of the population and escape bunny-ville without further casualties. Then came the deer. Pronghorns. And entire heard crossing route 33 in the dark. We of course waited for the last stragglers to pass and considered ourselves lucky once again.

At this point it occurred to us that we had seen nary a headlight in about an hour or so. We also noticed the mile-markers were counting down almost to zero and we weren't sure what that meant. Most disturbingly, we hadn't seen a single sign for Driggs and thought we might actually be lost. Could it be? We stopped at the end of route 33 as it met route 26 and called Mary who had been waiting up for us and had started to worry. As she tried to locate us on her map she confirmed the worst of truths, that we had been driving for the better part of two hours in the wrong direction. In fact, as we sheepishly made our u-turn, we immediately happened upon a sign saying 79 miles to Rexburg, our original point of digression. And worse still, we had to pass again through bunny-ville.

After arriving in Driggs at 2:30 Saturday Morning, we found the rest of our weekend to be a stress-free alpine delight. Mary and Neil treated us to some of the best hospitality in the west. The skiing was outstanding. The area was gorgeous. And the resort is very cool. We're very happy for our friends having this new, fresh start and we wish them the best of luck. But we hope they steer clear of the bunny patch.

February 11, 2008

World Cup Dual Moguls Competition

On Saturday, February 2, Joe and I braved 14 degree weather to go to the annual world cup dual mogul competition at Deer Valley Resort. You can see the course in the background.

For anyone who has not watch this event, 32 of the world's best mogul skiers compete side by side on the course which is made up of 3 mogul sections (all different lengths) and two jumps. It is amazing to watch these athletes negotiate the entire run. This is the last event in the overall world cup event so you get to see the top three men and women skiers for the event as well as the overall man and women event winners, Shelly Robertson and Vincent Marquis.

And the best was yet to come, De La Soul performed after the competition. It is by far the coldest I have been all winter but it was so worth it.

February 4, 2008

Super Sunday

No, I am not talking about the football game, in fact I didn't even watch the game ( I was passed out from skiing all day and 2 hours of shoveling snow). After dropping Joe off at the airport 35 minutes before his flight, we drove through white out conditions at 6a, I went skiing with my dad at Solitude Ski Resort. It was the most incredible day, we skied run after run of untracked powder. At one point I was up to my waist in Honeycomb Canyon just gliding through the trees. My skis were not even touching the trail. It is the greatest sensation in the world to ski bottomless powder. And...it snowed 17" overnight. The only down side to this is that I arrived home to 10" of snow our driveway. It is only February and we have a 7' snow bank around our driveway and then a 3' snow banks around the perimeter of our property. I wish I had pics buy our small digital camera is in Maine with Joe. You will just have to use your imagination.

February 1, 2008

One of Those (sick) Days

Wow. This week was crazy. we got 60+ inches since Monday (today is Friday, BTW) and finally I couldn't take it any more. I had to get some runs in this morning at The Canyons and it was the most amazing day you can imagine. Tough to say if it was the best ever, especially since Sarah wasn't there and I had to cut it short for work. But Damn. I'm just speechless. Face-shots all day long...almost every turn in fact. Max snapped a nice action shot of me in Silverado Bowl under the Golden Eagle Lift, a slow double on the front side running parallel to the Gondola. I may have had more runs if i skied a different lift but it's ok. That spot is empty and I can't imagine a better place to ski, in-bounds. Wow. Again.