My trip to Vermont ended by packing up my new (1998)  subby outback and heading off into the sunset. I was frantic because it was Thursday, and Saturday in Alta was looking spectacular with 1-2 feet being promised by the weather reporters. We left Vermont about Thursday at 7 pm. Included was my sister Ashley, and her boyfriend Andy. Ashley had never been on a long road trip, or west of OHIO, and had only been skiing for probably 20-30 days.  She also had no idea what the Wasatch held for her. Andy was the same way, he had been to Alta once and had never seen it because it was snowing.

The wheels on the..... P. Andy
10 and 2 P. Andy
Not so Great Plains P. Andy
Cruzin P. Andy
Snow from des moines on

The road is always insanely longer than you could ever imagine, especially nearly crossing the country @ 2600 miles. Especially in a subby having seats with 170k on them (kind of worn out) We had a little action in the car when i grazed a snowbank @ 430 am that must have collapsed into the road or something. Other than that stopping for gas every 300ish miles nothing really really happened except sitting around and enjoying the ride for the next 40 hours. I had done the same drive many times, I also in my bag can say i have done it straight ALONE in 36 hours. I can also say that I might never do that again and am clueless how it was done.

IOWA
Driving is easy after sunrise
First Sign

Almost before we knew it we saw signs of the promised land. A land that I know when I skied my first park lap at park city i said “this is the place” much like a famous mormon once said. It was Saturday morning. 40 hours Vermont to Utah. $260 in gas, $40 in tolls, car ate one quart of oil, most likely from my sister driving 85-90 at 5k rpms for half of a night. I called Robbie up when we hit the border, I inquired if the 2 feet had fallen, he said “no, more like an angry inch” thats ok, we were exhausted. We took saturday off and hung out in downtown SLC for a little while.

WELCOME TO UTAH

Sunday was our first ski day, we drove up 210 and needless to say these guys were shocked. Thanks to JER on TGR Ash and Andy had a 10 day ticket for an awesome price like 50 percent off, and we donated to an animal shelter. They spent less money for 5 days of Alta then i spent on 4 days of EC resort skiing .  Our first run was from collins lift, just a groomer, then we took wildcat. I got ashley out on stimulation.  It was soft and smooth, that makes a black diamond seem almost like a blue square. Our Third run was High Ballroom trees which is some of my favorite turns in Alta. A 5-15 minute sidestep gets you up into the steep and deep. Ashley was seriously scared, Andy was in heaven, I was home.  The skiing was great, Ash handled herself awesomely.

Thanks JER
Wildcat lift
Ash on stimulation
Ashley about to puke High Ballroom Trees
Reailizing she can ski steep and deep HBT
Brother and sister

Over the next few days, Ash was discovering what she was looking for in Alta, while I took Andy to some place I knew he was looking for. We got nearly first tracks in the castle apron, and skied steeps all day. The next day we climbed baldy and got main chute in phenominal condition. I dragged andy back up baldy towards the end of the day and we skied pearla’s, Two classic lines for him and I.

Andy about to puke
Andy realizing he can ski steeps
Castle apron andys big arcs on the right
MOOOOO, MILKING

We got a storm mid trip, which alta and snowbird claimed was 20 inches. This is the first time I think I have doubted what Alta reported. Andy was squirming because he heard of serious east coast snow. A assured him that 3 feet of east coast schmegma r@(^ layer at FLATGIC mountain doesn’t compare to being out in a bluebird foot in Alta or a spring day at the bird.

Andy, Dan, Robbie and I went on a hike up emma ridges to find it was impossible to skin because it was dust on ice. We set the booter to the top, and magically the dust on crust turned into some amazing skiing. The crust was smooth and unskied so it was a perfect surface to ski.

About time the snowflakes got the focus
Robbie
Andy, heard magic mountain got 3 feet.
Dan could care less about magic mountain right now.

I took Ashley to snowbird the next day. Andy was feeling a bit worked after me dragging him around town. We sat around while the backside opened, then the shoulder, then devils castle opened. This got my blood pumping, and I was super anxious because I wanted to ditch those guys and be out there.

We got to snowbird around noon. Ashley having skied a handful of days is now on Hidden Peak 11,000(ish) feet. I took her on a warm up, lap lower cirque, then we hit the bookends.  Ash slayed the bookends, then we summited VIA Mineral Basin and skied to the tram base for a drink. I had time for one more run, so I told her we are going out to baldy. I carried her skis up the boot pack and we bent around to north baldy. We dropped in and she skied it like a champ. Then I realized I could have been a part of the shit show at Alta alone, trying to devour as much powder as I can and knock people off the traverses just so there is one less track infront of me, or to be on empty north baldy with my sister, never thinking in my life I would ever see here there and there she was. It was a great moment for me and I am sure that that run she skied she will remember for a long time.

Ash Lower Cirque
Bookends traverse
SHREDDING BOOKENDS
Ash on North Baldy

We put in a few more days at the bird. We got out to tigertail, Cirque, Wilbre bowl etc. These guys I could tell had an amazing time. Almost seemingly as soon as it started their 8 days had come to an end. Next thing anyone knew we were at Lone Star and then the airport and they flew back into the sunrise to continue the life they are used to. Luckily while they were gone the base of most eastern resorts grew three feet from nearly nothing to about 4 feet. I hope they have a great rest of the winter, and can enjoy the memories they earned for a long time.

Mineral Basin
Minny B
top of tiger tail
Ashley in seriously steep terrain
The crew on the last day

****Oh yea, all of the gear has held up fantastically though I do need someone to rock the LDC XL suit since my buddie just blew his knee out and cant ski it anymore. Email me independentgeartest@gmail.com if you think you can roll that hard in a suit that you rent for free in exchange for a few paragraphs about it occasionally.


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