Making the Most of It

By King of Après Feb 9, 2018
Mother Nature has not been kind to Utah this season, but the skiing is still better than you'd think.
Making the Most of It

I spent last weekend in Jackson, making the five-hour drive to Teton Village to do a little après-ski reconnaissance. It never hurts to take a weekend off to see what other ski towns are up to—and to be reminded how good we have it here in Utah. Driving home from Jackson this past Monday night, I was happy to see a few flakes falling on the "Welcome to Utah" sign. The flakes kept up for the last hour of the drive and into the morning. Accumulations weren't anything major, ranging from 2-6" across the state. But coming from a forecasted 12-18" of snow in Jackson, that delivered 3-5" of wind buff, I wasn't expecting much.

I joined the Powder Posse at Park City Mountain-Canyons Village, planning on skiing a few 9990 laps, followed by a sidecountry run before the new snow was tracked up. To our surprise, the occasionally crowded lifts and bootpacks were nearly deserted. We wound up hiking five different laps into the sidecountry, skiing untracked snow until our legs were ready to fall off. It wasn't the deepest day of the season. But like I always say, sometimes you can do a lot with four or five inches.

Little Cottonwood appeared to benefit most from the storm. The Ski Utah snow report listed about a half-foot of snow, but the conditions looked even better than that in some place. Check out Justin Morgan's clip from The Cirque at Snowbird.

The skiing was so good that Jason Morgan and I returned Wednesday afternoon with touring setups to venture a little further into the backcountry. We didn't need to. The skiing inbounds and just outside the resort boundary were still skiing really well. We crushed a few laps, skied some groomers and made our way down to the bar for a little après-ski at Red Tail Grill.

The past few days have seen off-and-on blue skies and some wind. The winds have moved the snow around and managed to refresh a lot of slopes as the week has progressed. Don't believe me? Check out the photo and the caption from local ripper Drew Petersen.

It's no secret that our snowfall totals are less than we've grown accustomed to here in Utah. This is especially evident at the base areas of our lower elevation resorts. But if you know where to look, and are willing to put in a little work, there are always some good turns to be had. And if not, après-skiing rarely disappoints.