Words by Brooke Gaynes
A year and a half into our marriage it became apparent that something was missing. My husband (a ski addict from the east coast) sat me down for a serious discussion. That next Valentine’s Day, I bought a pair of day passes to Alta, and prepared myself for a day of cold, suffering, and frustration. During our first ride up Sunnyside the sparkling snow, crisp air, and wind on my cheeks sold me. Skiing at Alta was going to be an important aspect of our life together.
Sure, we have friends who prefer to spend a solo day at the resort. Skiing is an escape. However, I wanted to spend our Saturday’s and vacations together! After spending a wintery day in the mountains, I didn’t want to be left at home! While John and I have different ability levels, and different skiing styles, we have found ways to spend the day together, satisfying both of our needs.
The first few times we skied at Alta, we spent the majority of our day in the Sugarloaf area. As I was learning to ski, I loved learning to carve along Little Dipper to Devil’s Elbow. Skiing the Sugarloaf lift area worked well for John and I, because as I was learning to ski on easier runs, John loved to traverse to the Yellow trail and Glory Hole areas. As I started to gain confidence, John took me for more technical runs down Extrovert, and Running Dog Nose. Once John helped me find my ski legs, the world of Alta opened up to us.
Over the years, John and I have learned more about each other and our dynamic. John is a pure adrenaline junky, preferring to spend his day seeking out cliffs and finding the most technical lines down everything. I prefer adventure and exploration, and enjoy finding new runs along the boundaries. Sometimes we’ll do a Wildcat day (John’s preference), and other times we’ll spend the day on Superior, exploring Catharine’s Area (for me). Most days we tend to cruise down Collins.
Because of the nature of the terrain at Alta, it’s possible to ski less than 50 yards apart and have a totally different experience. Sometimes on our way down the mountain, John and I will ski different lines on the same run and meet at the bottom. We can ski together without compromising how we each want to ski. When John wants to throw himself off the Bad News cliff band, I enjoy skiing a nice, long run down Baldy shoulder. When Baldy Chutes are open, I prefer Main Chute, while John gets excited about skiing Little Chute. Instead of always skiing the trees under Collins lift, I might go down Sunspot. While the majority of the day is still spent together, we both get to satisfy our different cravings.
Our favorite days at Alta are days that we ski our favorite runs together (Eagles Nest, Thirds, Baldy Shoulder, or High Rustler). It’s pretty rad to see the person you love rallying down a challenging section, or to hear yourself being cheered on by somebody who has confidence in you. All in all, our season passes are probably cheaper than couples therapy, and probably a whole hell of a lot more effective.
This Saturday John and I will celebrate our six-year anniversary; I think you know where we will be!
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