February 25, 2008

Alta is for Skiers

On Thursday night, Keith and I picked Lane up from the Denver airport and proceeded to drive to the base of Little Cottonwood Canyon (essentially Salt Lake City). After a 7.5 hour drive, we arrived at a friend of a friend's house at 4:30 am. By 9:00 am, we were skiing at Alta, one of the last ski areas to continue prohibiting snowboards from its slopes.

We had arranged to surprise Louis at 10:00 on the slopes, and thanks to some organization that I had no hand in, this worked out beautifully. Keith, being the first to spot Lou as we descended towards the meeting spot, proceeded to race towards and tackle Lou, breaking a ski pole in the process, before Lou had seen any of us. This surprise attack marked the beginning of a 3-day-long bachelor party for Louis.

We proceeded to have a truly great day powder skiing. The snow continued to fall all day, filling in our tracks between runs and making fresh tracks the norm. Louis and his brother, Pete, had previously spent a few winters working at Alta, so the rest of us could follow them around all day to the secret stashes. When the lifts closed, we gathered 'round the back of Keith's car for a hard-earned tailgate party. Due to some incredible foresight on Keith's part, the back of his car contained a keg of Imperial Porter and a keg of IPA from a local microbrewery in Boulder.

The drinking continued for a while, but we managed to make it to bed in time for another 2-3 hour nap before getting up to go skiing. This time, Keith, Graham, Garret, and I headed into the Utah backcountry on the opposite side of the highway from the Alta ski area. The remainder of our contingency hit up a second day at the resort.

Me dropping in on our first and steepest backcountry line

The conditions in the backcountry were, to put it lightly, extremely and incredibly wonderful and perfect. With a stable snow pack, we were able to ski steep terrain even though there was a heavy dose of fresh powder snow everywhere. The four of us were grinning and giggling like school girls for the entire day, which involved hiking up and skiing down about 4000 vertical feet of untracked snow over four runs.

Garret in the midst of giggling like a school girl after some heavenly powder turns

The uproute backcountry highway

We made it back to the car and the kegs as the ski lifts on the other side of the valley closed, so we met up with the resort goers and began a repeat of the previous night. We managed to make it to bed by 3:30 am after some bachelor party oriented festivities.

There was no fresh snow the next day and it was raining at the resort, so most of us decided to bail on the ski plans and head out for breakfast, which was immediately followed by a rigorous round of card playing before we all parted ways and went home to our respective corners of the country.

1 comment:

sam said...

I enjoy following your blog. Especially enjoyed your Taos comments. I fully agree. I love that place.
Sam Sherstad