My Manic Mountain
This winter, Utah had a manic boarding season. The snow seemed intent on shrouding its fluff in mystery. For the flurries came when they weren’t expected and no-showed when they were. Jason and I only boarded five days at our usual haunt, Brighton, due to inconsistency of the storms yet some of the season’s surprises were rather inspiring. Here is my faithful report of our experiences with the snow’s highs and lows.
New Snow: 78 inches
Weather: Who cares? Did you not read that last line?
Commonness: This was the best snow Jason or I can remember encountering in the recent past. It was almost too much powder, if such a ridiculous thing could exist. If you lost your speed, you basically had to tunnel out. Being buried repeatedly in a motionless avalanche was exhausting yet intoxicating. I wish we had gone a few more times while the getting was good.
New Snow: 30 inches
Weather: Warm and sunny
Mountain Pack: Crowded! We literally got the last parking spot in the entire resort.
Conclusion: Brighton broke their previous parking records several times during this season. I believe the winter tourists have finally discovered my little slice of the powder pie. Drat! Unfortunately, based off the number of times I heard “Wow! You don’t see that at home!” uttered by out-of-towners as they gawked at the Heber Valley from the top of the Snake Creek Express, it seems unlikely that they are going to forget about their new finding. Frankly, I feel a little conflicted about my resort’s latest fans. I’m pleased Brighton is getting the appreciation it deserves but can’t it be appreciated from a distance?
Weather: Mid-fifties and cloudless
Complications: Even though we were heading down to Moab that evening, we decided it would be nonsensical to forgo a chance to board in conditions so pleasant. So we went from riding on white to riding on red within a few hours. I threw a rib out and injured my rotator cuff and neck on the slopes. Still, I biked the next day. Pain is for the people that pay attention to it.
New Snow: 12 inches (AKA powder enough)
Weather: Mid-thirties (AKA warm enough)
Cohorts: We treated my dad to a day on the slopes for his birthday. I think if he had had any birthday wishes left he would have used them up wishing we hadn’t, at least on his first few trips down the mountain. After not skiing for a decade, he was a bit clumsy initially but his muscles, like his mind, have a good memory. By the end of the day he was plowing smoothly.
Weather: Mid-fifties and mighty springy
Mountain Pack: Practically vacant
Conference: Thank you!
This boarding season started out like a superhero but it must have lost its lucky tights in one of the drifts or something because it took a rather ordinary turn in the middle of January. Still, we caught enough powder and sunshine to put big smiles on our faces and a little lament in our hearts over the approach of spring.