Day Half Full

By Khai Johannes Apr 10, 2023
Afternoon delight isn't limited to lyrics from the Standard Vocal Band or the standard meaning. It can be a string of soft turns made after sleeping in and taking your time to get to the mountain. There's joy to be found in the Wasatch, and there's no time limit.
Day Half Full

I’d set an alarm for the person I wanted to be, but I’m left with the reality of who I am as the morning light greets me like a house guest who's far too comfortable walking in unannounced. Waking up the screen on my phone it reads Missed alarm which is its way of shrugging and saying, “I tried.”

I allow my fingers to continue to be far more active than the rest of my body and find my overzealous powder amigos posting from the mouth of Little Cottonwood Canyon. They’re contributing their four wheels to the conga line of cars waiting for the roads to open and seem to have stoke to spare. In the post, they lip-synch to Open it up by The Migos. Clever.

Swinging my feet out of bed, they nestle into my slippers and I navigate to the kitchen. The perfume of bacon and crackle of the eggs frying wakes my senses more efficiently than my failed alarm. As my small feast-for-one is slowly disappearing into the deposit box of my belly I have a change of spirit and mind. I had written off the day in solemn ink but I’m now hearing the timeless words of the Buddha, “go shred, brother!”


He actually said “may all beings have happy minds!” which translates to me as “go shred!”

Role-playing as Gordon Ramsay takes a bit longer than shoving a protein bar in my pocket
. It’s now 9:33 a.m. At this point, I’m a bit behind my powder-hungry peers. Chairs have been spinning at Snowbird for 1,980 seconds and my dog hasn’t been walked nor has my gym been graced with my presence. The sense of urgency rolls off my shoulders. It’s closer to 9:48 a.m. by the time Aza (my African Painted Dog) and I are walking around our snow-encapsulated neighborhood.

Shoveling the driveway becomes the warm-up to my workout and once my car is liberated from its snow prison, I make the short drive to the gym. After opening the door to the sweat infested location I call Home #2 a realization fans the flames of my happy mind; “there’s no one here!” 

What typically takes me two hours is streamlined to an hour and a half. With a quick rinse, I’m on the road, making my way to the mountain; 12:07 p.m. Utah’s highways are void of snow and cars. The majority of the population is either skiing or at work, I hope for the latter and continue my drive. Arriving to the mouth of the canyon, at roughly 12:30 p.m., I see what was the backdrop for my friend’s Instagram story and cruise upwards. Because of my delayed arrival, UDOT had more than ample time to clear the roads. While no cars are joining me in the assent upwards, a few pass me headed downward.

Leaving powder bewilders me as much as trying to figure out what my partner wants for dinner. In either situation, I make the wise decision not to expend much brain power on the situation and move on.

My humble sedan pulls into the crowded parking lot with blind optimism. Sure, I passed a few burly 4x4 trucks parked on small summits of snow a quarter mile from the lift. Yes, I’m arriving nearly four hours after Snowbird opened, but…

12:42 p.m. I’m parked on the west side of Creekside, a quick walk to the chairs. Bless the early bird who couldn’t stomach another face shot. 


From my view on Gadzoom I can see the fluff stuff does indeed have its fair share of tracks and chops through it. Those early risers made quick work of the low-hanging fruit. Even a few of the cliffs that require some serious self-talk from the bold now have bomb holes underneath them. No need for stress to form yet, I have my stashes and chopped powder rides better than a lot of other conditions. A sigh of relief turns to cold smoke in the brisk air as I get my first turns on my way to Little Cloud. It was going to be a soft day.

If this is what fate had planned for me as a reward for deciding to make the push up the mountain, I would be satisfied. Nearing the top of the lift I can see there’s a miracle waiting for me. A line has formed at the gate leading into The Road to Provo. Avalanche mitigation must have kept the area closed all day! Assuming there must be rumblings of the gate opening soon, I decided to take my place in the line and keep my happy mind happy. 

2:06 p.m. the rope dropped. Waves of colorful jackets paint the blank canvas.


I wasn’t in the front of the line when the rope dropped, I wasn’t on the first chair when operations began nor was I at the mouth of the canyon when it opened. I am, however, floating weightlessly on untouched snow. The crowd funnels back to Little Cloud and I’m surrounded by cheerful beings with happy minds. I’ll be able to lap this zone two more times before the alpine bowl is tracked out and I’ll be forced to poke around in the Gad trees or the Black Forest for some remaining goodies.

I’d almost written off the day, thinking with a late start I’d miss out on the joys of shredding. It’s because of my late start I was able to treat myself to a quality breakfast, enjoy the emptiness of my gym and roadways, score princess parking and powder laps without waiting. For so long we focus on the conundrum of whether the glass is half full or half empty. All I know is; I went shredding for half a day and my heart was full from it.