Part II - One man, one month, 367,000 vertical feet
Ski Utah Yeti
on April 20, 2011
My friend Edward Massey set out with fresh legs to pursue his dream of skiing all that Utah could offer. Follow the second part of his journey as he logged over 367,000 vertical feet of skiing across Utah's 14 resorts.
Edward's story picks up on the road, headed for Southern Utah.
1/17/2011 6:36 AM On the road to the four areas south of Salt Lake City, Sundance being the first on a warm, holiday Monday. Even a mediocre day skiing beats the best day in the office. And there was that avalanche in the canyon for excitement.
1/18/2011 8:22 AM Sleeping at 9700 feet and I can feel it. Off to Eagle Point. Originally Elk Meadows, dormant about seven years ago, re-started in the middle of Fishlake National Forest. From the mouth of the canyon to the parking lot at the top lift, 18 miles, and not a car going either way. I was relieved to pull in the lot and find six cars already there. The top lift (Skyline) serves a relentlessly sunny and blue mountain with a run (Tunnel Vision) down to the bottom lift that serves a dark mountain with ten different (black) ways down the hill. The only blue run involves catching a mountain cat that pulls you up the hill. It wasn’t working that day.
Brian Head is my nomination for the fun family hill of the trip. High, steep, rounded, no sharp edges. The hill would laugh at you if you tried to be macho. Trees up to the timberline, and 11,000 ft, a few, sturdy, hardy trees. Glorious. Wind scours the windward side and dumps on the leeward side, pack – powder – pack, calling for some shifting of styles at times.
1/21/2011 6:21 AM, today to Ruby’s Inn. Going to Bryce Canyon for a ski vacation is a little bit like having a dream about a dream. I search for the best analogy to get across to you how excited one can get. I have resisted the temptation to pepper this little blog with photos, but I cannot resist. Yes, those are the tips of my cross country skis peeking out over the rim as we peer down into Bryce.
1/24/2011 6:40 AM A day off for the grandeur of Zion and the drive back to Beaver Mountain. It’s a family owned mountain and they watch their nickels. I understood when they told me that the Beaver’s Face lift was shut down on weekdays. Lots of kids and high school ski teams on the mountain, but not much traffic. Furthest south to furthest north in two days capped three weeks of ski areas tuning up for the serious stuff still to come.
1/25/2011 5:50 AM: So far twenty days of cold as hell and crystal clear (save one sudden white out at Bryan Head) Utah January and I get to Snowbasin in a snow storm so heavy the mountain cams couldn’t even tell me if the lifts were running. The next day was Utah bright, sunny, cold, and not windy. When you skied Strawberry Express, it was hot enough to bring a sweat. You could ski Snowbasin forever. Only death would stop you; not an untimely death, just one that comes after 100 years or so. On the way up the Strawberry Express gondola, I met Lisa Fuller, a member of the Board of Directors of Ski Utah. She urged me to write this blog.
1/28/2011 5:45 AM After two days at Snowbasin, yesterday at Powder Mountain. I had never been there before and I had been warned: huge (7,000 skiable acres) and very challenging. I had set aside two. A big hill, there is challenge – the lift system is quite a chore with much travelling required. Great sun and a wonderful place just to be alone, but the place for me to have another day was Snowbasin. The John Paul Express followed by the Allen Peak Tram (Men’s Start picture) is addictive.
1/29/2011 6:30 AM My son, JE, is here, starting the last week. Today in Brighton, a serious mountain that, unfortunately, pales some but the perfect tune up day for JE. There are actual lift lines and if you aren’t careful about where you ski you may have to devote ten minutes each run to inching your way forward.
1/31/2011 5:51 AM Yesterday re-visiting the simple joy of The Canyons. What a surprising amount of exercise, skiing with four other men. Alta. First day, snowed so heavily you could barely see your partner but here is the one hill in the world where visibility does not seem to rob one of the experience: no matter how steep or how uncharted, you are skiing in snow above your knees and just pushing through it takes all your concentration.
2/1/2011 6:25 AM Like the song, I Love Paris, Alta is the Paris of all skiing in America, a little funky and definitely resistant to change. The second day’s clear sky was the perfect day for a Mountain Adventure. Again, like the French, they are a little arrogant. When you sign up they never tell you what you are going to be doing that day, you just take it on faith, and that day it was all mountain conditions.
2/2-3-4/2011 7:00 AM Three days at Snowbird. The last of my 18 ski areas in Utah. Very cold. Snowbird has everything for everybody but it is death defying when visibility is poor. The tendency to ski down the cat tracks is unnerving when you cannot see where you are about to fall into oblivion. I finally gave up and just skied down the hill. At least I knew where it was going.
Now I am back home. In their own way, a lot of people asked why I was doing this. Not that it was a dream of mine, at least not any longer than November of last year, but it falls within the whole notion of living your dream. As I wrote the day I left, life is the result of your own decisions. People should allow themselves to identify their dreams and live them. So, my month was over, but it is not gone. A little daunting, from time to time, getting up each morning and facing another day alone on the hill, but I did it and I will have it forever.
Edward can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
|Arrive 11:56 p.m.||Wolf Creek||"Car'kn'd" out||Soldier Hollow / Homestead (Nordic)||Deer Valley|
|Park City||Canyons||Canyons||White Pine Touring (Nordic)||Solitude||David Whyte (poet) retreat||David Whyte (poet) retreat|
|David Whyte Retreat||Sundance||Eagle Point||Brian Head / White Out||Brian Head||Ruby's Inn Bryce Canyon (Nordic)||Zion|
|Off||Beaver Mountain||Snowbasin - Snowed Out||Snowbasin||Powder Mountain||Snowbasin||Brighton|
|Canyons||Alta||Alta||Snowbird||Snowbird||Snowbird||Alta - Snowed Out|