My Manic Mountain

Posted by on June 7, 2016 at 4:13 pm :: No Comments

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.

December 23rd

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.

Trailblazing through powder that deep is quite difficult on a board but we decided to try it with our friends Kelsey and Zac anyway. We almost made it.

Trailblazing through powder that deep is quite difficult on a board but we decided to try it with our friends Kelsey and Zac anyway. We almost made it.

On many of the runs, one could only escape certain powder death by staying on a narrow band of compacted snow. Kelsey and I converged in an unplanned manner on one such band.

On many of the runs, one could only escape certain powder death by staying on a narrow band of compacted snow. Kelsey and I converged in an unplanned manner on one such band.

I fell on one slope and sunk this far. Wow! Incidentally, as demonstrated by this photo, iPhones do not take as good of pictures as regular cameras, despite what their fans claim.

I fell on one slope and sunk this far. Wow! Incidentally, as demonstrated by this photo, iPhones do not take as good of pictures as regular cameras, despite what their fans claim.

January 17th

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?

This is one of my favorite powder fields at Brighton.

This is one of my favorite powder fields at Brighton.

March 4th

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.

That's at least a solid inch of air.

That’s at least a solid inch of air.

I am tiny but I'm not quite as minuscule as I look in this picture.

I am tiny but I’m not quite as minuscule as I look in this picture.

March 16th

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.

I am no boarding expert but I do go fast enough that you can actually tell I'm moving.

I am no boarding expert but I do go fast enough that you can actually tell I’m moving.

Mountaintop or otherwise, spending time with my dad is always a pleasure.

Mountaintop or otherwise, spending time with my dad is always a pleasure.

The reasons there are lots of pictures of me snowboarding and not so many of Jason aren't egotistical but technical. I can't board and take pictures at the same time; Jason can.

The reasons there are lots of pictures of me snowboarding and not so many of Jason aren’t egotistical but technical. I can’t board and take pictures at the same time; Jason can.

Jason and I like to live on the wild side of the ski boundary. That's a full foot of danger there!

Jason and I like to live on the wild side of the ski boundary. That’s a full foot of danger there!

April 3rd

Weather: Mid-fifties and mighty springy

Mountain Pack: Practically vacant

Conference: Thank you!

That smile should be self-explanatory.

That smile should be self-explanatory.

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.

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