And old friends. We drove straight from JacksonHole to Ogden, UT. We are more than familiar with the town given our history in Ogden, but went straight to our buddy Tyler's place and enjoyed a beverage and some pizza before crashing in the driveway.
In the morning we woke up and headed for Powder Mountain, a resort we've heard lots about but never visited because during our time in Ogden we had a season pass to Snowbasin. As it turns out, Powder Mountain had been closed for the last three days while the storm rolled through, meaning three days and about 48" of fresh Utah powder since anyone had been on the mountain...
Plenty enough reason for us to change our plans and ride at Powder Mountain instead of Snowbasin our first day in Utah, and oh my were we so happy that we did. Thanks Ty for the good local advice, and a "nudge" in that direction!!
While there were larger numbers of people than apparently most days on the mountain, we still felt lucky to ride to the top of Paradise and make fresh turns almost all day long. We rode until our legs would barely hold us... but even at the end of a long day we were still finding fresh tracks as we made our way back across the mountain to the van. Words simply can't describe how good, how deep and how fun our day was, and we would soon realize that we have been very, very spoiled so far on this trip.
After our epic day on Powder Mountain we headed south past Salt Lake to Snowbird, where we knew from past experience we would have trouble parking/camping because dogs aren't even allowed in the canyon, much less camping due to it being a watershed for SLC. We upped our luxury points by overnighting in a Lowes parking lot, mostly for the wifi and then went up the canyon with sunrise.
Snowbird was probably our most disappointing day of the trip. The mountain was windblown and icy pretty much from top to bottom. We just assumed that we had missed the opportunity, but one day didn't seem like a long enough time to not be able to find any fresh snow at all. It also led to the shortest day of riding we've had since our first time out. We kept discussing whether it was the mountain, the conditions or merely how spoiled we had been the day before at Powder Mountain.
The highlight of our day was definitely the rooftop hottub at the resort, and the ride through the tunnel, which is basically a people mover from the airport that takes you literally through the mountain to the other side.
Maybe this is what the rest of our trip would be like after the epic powder days we had experienced early on. Maybe we were ruined and would never enjoy "normal" conditions again. We soon opted for a bit of apres and pool at the Tram Club and then drove back to Ogden to share a sushi dinner with Ty.
Our evening was like a trip down memory lane eating out on 25th ave and seeing places we haven't seen since we left ogden almost decade ago. In the morning we all headed up the hill to Snowbasin, our old resort even if only for a year. The drive up the canyon elicits so many great memories of the good times we had here despite being a year filled with hard work and turmoil rather than the fun we had planned.
The parking lots at the mountain were not what we remembered. All lots were almost filled and we had to walk a ways to get to the base despite being a weekday, as where our memories here are of walking a few steps from the car to the gondala with no lines even when riding on a weekend powder day. That said, the minute we got off a lift or gondola the amount of terrain easily handled the people and we didn't feel crowded in at all.
Not only was it great to see Ty, it was amazing to have a local tour guide to remind us our favorite parts of the mountain and a reminder as to why we loved the powder here so much. It had been several days since snow fell and we were still able to find ample soft and fresh every run we took. Didn't hurt that Ty is a blast to ride with (he's almost more comfortable riding a snowboard than walking) and trying to match his graceful turns pushed our comfort level all day long.
Never more evident than when we reached the top of strawberry lift and instead of picking a run he took off his board and started leading us up the ridge towards strawberry peak. We didn't ask questions but soon found ourselves looking down over the edge of easily the highest steepest drop we've ever strapped in for. His confidence was reassuring and we took a deep breath and went over the edge into some of the deepest fluffiest snow we've ever experienced, which made even the almost vertical face seem like a beginners course.
We laughed and giggled our way down the face and continued on along the side of the mountain for one of our longest rides down of the season. Run of the day, Run of the year... maybe run of a lifetime... or at least we would tell you so until our hearts got back to a normal pace and we started taking normal breaths again. Definitely one worth the drive to UT alone even if we hadn't already had a terrific trip so far.
We stopped in at the Shooting Star Saloon on the way back down the hill for one of their famous burgers and a beer and then jen and I headed back south for another day at snowbird (sadly, another fairly disappointing icy day) before heading south for Denver.