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Chasing snowstorms in Southern Utah

by Powderhound Matt December 4 2011 0 Comments

The forecast was calling for an epic wind storm in Salt Lake City and for a decent sized snowstorm to develop in the desert southwest.  So logically, a road trip was in order.  In a Wednesday morning "powder panic" I rallied the troops and got them all fired up for what I thought looked to be the makings of a pretty good storm down south.  By noon Wednesday my plan was coming together and arrangements were being made and by 4 pm we were on the road.  Cruising down Interstate 15 we were making great time, taking full advantage of those 80 mph speed zones but then about 40 miles north of our destination we ran right into the blinding snowstorm  Quite abruptly our forward progress was stalled but we were not going to be denied. The snow packed roads couldn't deter us, they only added fuel to our powder crazed fire.  We were stoked!  It looked like the forecast was right, and we would most certainly be skiing powder in the morning.  We were blazing the trail, straight up the access road, making first tracks the entire way up to Brian Head.  We kept wondering to ourselves,  "are we going the right way? It's dumping up here, how is no one else on the way up?"
 
Upon our arrival at the Cedar Breaks Lodge we were greeted by a solid 9 inches of snow and like I said, it was dumping!   The front desk clerk let us know, "Boy are you guys lucky!  There are only two other parties staying with us tonight, looks like it's going to be powder turns for you tomorrow."   He wasn't kidding, the next morning we awoke to a solid foot or more of snow and by 10 am when the lifts started to turn, there were only three other cars in the parking lot.  No joke, not only did we have first chair and first tracks but we had it all day long!  Honestly, at the peak of the afternoon maybe there were 9 cars in the lot and I bet half of them were employees.  At one point we joked as a monster group of two snowboarders passed, we all shouted, "Hey get off our mountain, this is our place!"  Both groups got a good chuckle.  So as the day continued, we just continued to tear it up and the snow grew deeper and deeper.  We were hearing stories that back in Salt Lake, the monster wind storm was panning out and winds were gusting to 100 mph! Well this was not the case at Brian Head, the snow was falling and the winds were calm, they were breezy up at the peak elevation of  11,000 feet but nothing that one wouldn't expect at the top of a peak during a snowstorm.  While we were shooting the video we tried to find the windiest place on the hill,  just to poke some fun at the extreme Salt Lake windstorm. Hopefully we succeeded...
 
Day two Friday morning, we woke up and guess what, it was still snowing.  So once again we made our way over to the Giant Steps lift for the opening bell. Surprise, surprise we landed first chair again.  The only problem with Friday was the place got just ambushed by skiers and boarders. I'd have to guess there were at least 30 skiers and riders by mid-day Friday.  Too funny. 
 
I always wondered what it would be like to own my own chair lift on my own mountain. Now I don't have to wonder anymore.  If all the snow down at Brian Head Resort isn't reason enough for you to head south for a few days, then seeing Cedar Breaks National Monument with your own two eyes, blanketed by a fresh coating of snow has to push you over the edge.  The views are absolutely breathtaking! The drive is an easy five minutes or 2 miles south of the resort. It's a must see.  
 
 
I need to give a special thanks Brett at the Cedar Breaks lodge for taking great care of us.  Also, a special thanks to Bekah Stevens for taking such awesome photos of the crew in the pow! 
 
*Weather Update*  since returning home, Brian Head Resort received an additional 12-18" of snow on Friday night. Since Wednesday night we are talking 2-3 feet!  Without a doubt, Brian Head currently has the best skiing in the Western United States. 

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Powderhound Matt

About the Author

Powderhound Matt

Matt Baydala

Matt Baydala, originally from Rockville Centre, New York, sniffed his way to Park City, Utah in 2006. Since then, he has built a career as a Park City restaurant manager to accommodate his skiing lifestyle. His passion and appreciation for the diversity of Utah’s wintersports product make him the perfect Powderhound. "For me skiing The Greatest Snow on Earth® is not just a hobby; it’s an obsession," exclaimed Baydala. "Now I have the opportunity to share this awesome life we live out here with the entire skiing community."

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