It's May and we're still skiing powder. What?! In honor of a winter that exceeded our wildest dreams, it's time to relive the best days of the season.
Follow along as our Ski Utah team share up their best days!
As I sit here with 105 ski days (and thus 105 après-ski days) under my belt, it was no easy task to try and reflect on one single most memorable après-ski day of the season. Opening Day at Alta, birthday backcountry laps, the Park City Mountain Christmas Day Martini Party, Deer Valley Resort World Cup Weekend, Clown Day, Frank, and Brighton's closing day all stand out as obvious candidates. How do you choose just one?
But after considerable research, I think I found a winner. December 17, 2016 at Alta Ski Area, We awoke to 11” of creamy powder in Little Cottonwood. After a couple hours of great skiing to start the day, a thunderstorm swept its way into the Wasatch bringing with it high winds and Thundersnow! The lifts were put on hold and the canyon closed to uphill and downhill traffic. We made the tough decision to stick and out and sought shelter in the Gold Miner’s Daughter Saloon with a bunch of fellow die-hard powder hounds. As the snow stacked up outside at a rate of three inches and hour, we stayed warm while sharing pitchers of beer, pizza and nachos.
A few hours later, the lifts reopened and everyone raced to get back on the hill. The snow was colder and deeper than the first turns that morning. It took a lap to get my legs back, but when they did, I skied some of the best powder laps of the year. Then we all regrouped back at the GMD Saloon to recap our days.
"Powder in the morning, a mandatory, resort-wide après-ski break, followed by blower pow in a deserted resort, and a second après-ski session to top it all off. Does it get any better? Now how do we make this a regular storm day tradition?"—Après Adam
Best day of the year you ask? Well, that's a tough one. With an all-time snowy winter, it seemed like every day was the best day! Definitely one of the best days was when a few friends and I made a last minute decision to head up to Powder Mountain and stay at a friend's cabin. We met up with some locals, had an awesome crew and rode some of the best conditions of my entire life. Certainly saw the biggest powder spray of my life! The chilled-out mellow vibe of Powder Mountain is hard to beat in my opinion making this the best day of the season for me! Check out the full story HERE.
Looking back on this winter, it is virtually impossible to pick out a single best day. I’ve had so many incredible memories this season. There was January 23rd at Park City Mountain. On that particular day, many of the lifts were forced to closed due to 65mph winds and snow falling at the rate of 5” per hour for multiple hours. Being a total weather nerd this was like a dream come true. Now of course, when the lifts started to close there was no way I was heading home. The Powder Posse skied all day on whatever terrain was open. By day's end, feet of snow had fallen and we were able to ski thigh deep powder all the way down to Park Ave in Park City. It was a wild experience for sure. During a brief lull in the storm, I was able to snap this photo of me at the base of the Thaynes chair lift. You get the idea.
Then two days later this happened in the Wasatch Backcountry:
Cheers to a great season everyone! Guess what? It’s still not over! More snow is in the forecast for this week! Snowbird is still rocking and rolling!
When asked about the best days of my winter—the obvious choice for me is "SHEEKEND" weekend. You may be wondering what this entails. Sheekend is when many of my favorite ladies gather for the ultimate fitness and fun, girls weekend! I schedule our days packed with activity to create mountain memories to show everyone why I love Utah so much! We have an amazing time on the slopes in onesies, take hikes in the snow, have spa days, and practice yoga. Sheekend is a weekend I always enjoy and look forward to every year!
~XOXO, Bring on the SNOW!
In a year such as this, it is nearly impossible to pinpoint a single "best" day of the season. I guess it depends on what you are looking for, whether it's powder, sunny skies, tons of vertical or just goofing around with friends. Every once in a while however, the factors seem to align and everything becomes perfect.
For me, the day of January 3rd at Brighton was one of those days. It just so happened that my college roommate Nick Catmur was back visiting for a week to get his powder fix. He was unsure whether his trip would line up with a storm, and lucky for him, that famous "atmospheric river" inundated us with snow all week.
Upon our early arrival to the Brighton parking lot, we serendipitously ran into my good friend Jess Sluder. Jess grew up in Salt Lake, snowboarding with what would become some of the "who's who" of professional snowboarders. Jess now lives in Los Angeles and gets a couple of times each season to rekindle his love affair with Brighton resort. It just so happened that he was riding solo for the day.
So low and behold we had an amazing crew, perfect conditions and a surprisingly small crowd. The sun would intermittently peek out from behind the driving snow to cast a glory light across the mountain and then the snow would return, filing our tracks from the previous run. It was as if we were getting away with something. At times we were scratching our heads, wondering what we did to deserve a day like this.
"From our first run of waist deep powder down the middle of the Milly bowl, to fresh turns on Clayton's at 3:30, we systematically picked our way through the resort reminding ourselves of just how magical this place really is."—Pat Harrington
Salt Lake legend, Jess Sluder was feeling a little cooped up in LA, so he decided to get back to Brighton to spread his wings a bit. Photo: Pat Harrington
The sound that was made while Nick Catmur created this powder explosion was unlike anything I’ve heard since I last saw Wang Chung in concert.
As a parent, you always want to hold onto your "baby" child. The saying "don't blink, they grow up so fast" is SO true. For one day at the end of this season, I got to glimpse back into when Brennan was a child—a day when he tried skiing again. That day happened a couple weeks ago at Alta.
We rented some "tiny" skis as Emily called them and no poles. And just like that, my 10-year-old snowboarding son was back on skis. He, of course, complained that the boots were uncomfortable and he grew frustrated as his ski tips kept crossing. If you're like me, it is fun to watch your kids work as a team vs arguing. I stood back and watched as Bren fell a few times, Emily picked him up, gave him instructions and was so patient. She skied backwards, just like an instructor. This day was so special because on any other winter day he's such a confident snowboarder, jumping off huge slopestyle features and going through the superpipe. It truly reminded me of when he was three again. Also, I'm such a fan of Alta (the relaxed feel, the amazing views, the great snow) in that this was truly my favorite day, returning with two skiers where it all started five years ago.
And in case you're wondering, when asked if Brennan wants to go back to skiing, his answer was "no way"! But, it was fun to see him on two planks for one day.
My best day was hiking uphill just outside of Brighton Resort during their Alpine Touring Workshop. It was so quiet and lovely! The sun peeked through the trees as we practiced skinning uphill following an avalanche rescue drill. It felt like a whole new world of snow had been opened up to me even though we were just feet from the resort boundary. The only other experience I can compare it to was a day I spent in the backcountry on the Ski Utah Interconnect Tour.
One of my best days (there were many) of the 2016-17 season was a case in extremes. My husband and eating-partner-in-crime, Matt, and I were in search of some powder stashes at Deer Valley, a day after a big storm. When we got to the top of the Empire Lift, it was a complete whiteout with icy snow blowing sideways. Almost in a state of vertigo, we felt our way down the hill and across the top of the traverse, steering clear of the Daly Chutes---I'm not ready to ski those yet!--and toward the trees. When we finally reached the area know as X-Files, it was calm and silent in the forest. We had a few minutes of bliss in big powder pillows, the runs to ourselves. At the bottom we made our way to the Veuve Cliquot Yurt at the Montage to top of our extreme day with extreme pampering--furry seating, glasses of bubbly, fancy snacks.
"If there's one thing I know how to do it's wrap up a great day with the right food and beverages."—Pam's Plate