A Well-Timed Weekend
Would you trade one hour of Utah’s “Greatest Snow on Earth” for three hours in a car? After this weekend, I can be convinced that this would be a good deal. One full day of classic Alta snow and company was well worth the almost 22 hours in a car that it took to get there and back.
With a packed schedule, empty wallet and perfectly good snow six minutes from my house in Northwest Montana, I don’t often get out to explore other resorts. So when I was invited to join a car full of girls to visit our Alta friends for a quick weekend of skiing I jumped at the chance. After all, I wasn’t sure when I would have another chance to ski my other favorite hill. As it turns out, we couldn’t have chosen a better one-day ski weekend.
We were welcomed into Little Cottonwood Canyon by large flakes and a group of snow-fiending locals who hadn’t seen fresh snow for a bit and were convinced that we had brought the storm with us from the north. The inhabitants of the Rustler Lodge even mimicked our synchronized wardrobe choices and soon the majority of the people in the bar were wearing Hawaiian shirts. In my opinion, this is how every powder day eve should go.
Whether the snow did follow us south or Ullr was pleased at our diligent use of flowered threads, we all woke up early to 6” of fresh snow overnight with 9” in the past 24 hours. It was time to ski hard and get our money’s (and travel time’s) worth.
Our excitement was palpable as our countless whoops, hollers and full-on bird screeches reverberated through the trees and cliff lines. Time seemed to stop; we kept finding untracked snow. Where was everyone? How was it possible to be finding freshies well into the afternoon? I spent little time questioning this phenomenon and more time charging as hard as I could to milk Alta for every deep turn, high five, and snow-covered grin that I could.
We were lucky enough to be escorted by our friends who really know the lay of the Alta land. Although, we could really do no wrong when it came to run choice; everything was softer than any snow we had experienced recently. I was content following the ski tails of our friends who work, live, and breathe Alta. It was like following them down the rabbit hole. I had no idea where we were going half of the time, but it was the kind of day where every glorious turn was the only thing in your immediate world. There was no thought of where we were going, or where we came from. All that mattered was navigating the giant cloud of cold smoke generated by face shot after face shot.
A trip so short yet so potent doesn’t give you time to register what you just experienced until you are 20 minutes into your long commute back to real life. All of a sudden we were in the car heading back to Montana, our thoughts still 12 hours behind us, contemplating how we could have possibly timed such a quick trip so right. There was no time for bittersweet goodbyes. Our hands were still red from countless high fives and our cheeks sore from 7-hour smiles. Alta seduced us and spit us right back out, hair a mess, change of clothes in hand, making the drive of shame back north.