|Utah Ski Trip II|
February 26 - March 4 - 2008
By Bob Gifford
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Well all-righty then..... another summary of the activities of the upper crust of the Boysweekend Crew
It all started a while back when we heard about this Alta place in Utah. Joe worked there and so did his sister Sue. Joes Brother Tom had been going for quite some time. Joe's Brother Jon had also been going right along. So I guess this is all Joes fault.
We set out on our journey on Tuesday Feb 26 at about 5:45am. Our flight was a little before 7am so with all the shoe checking and liquid soap measuring you need to be there a while before you actually get in the plane. I was standing there a little dazed wondering where the hell Joe and Shane were. I was in line for the United bag check. Joe showed up and then we noticed Shane at the Delta check in. We reeled him in and checked our bags. Joe had a bag over the weight limit so we moved the 5lbs of Cabot's hunters cheddar he brought along, to Shanes bag and we were good to go. Some lady ahead of us was dealing with a 2 hour delay and we thought shit the snow storm outside was affecting things. We decided if we were waiting we should eat, but we decided to check the gate to be sure. We found them loading our plane with an on time estimate for departure. Yeeeee Haw we were off to Utah!
We landed in Chicago and then were pretty quickly on the ground in Salt lake at about 12:30pm what ever time zone they are. We snagged a Ford Explorer and hit I 80 to I 15 and ended up in Sandy Utah wondering where exactly the Majestic Rockies Hotel was. Its kinda funny because the Rockies are nowhere near Sandy Utah. The Wasatch Range is sitting right there, but the Rockies are not. We checked into our awesome 100 buck a night little house and proceeded to drink beer. We were feeling lucky and looking to Alta for the next days fun. Jon and Jake were in the area. I called Jon and found him in the middle of his last Run at Powder Mountain 2 hours north or our Sandy location. Cell phones are pretty cool. We munched a whole BBQd chicken and a salad for dinner. Of course we drank beer too.
We all woke up at 3am Wednesday because it was 5am EST. What a pain in the ass! Alta doesnt open till 9:15am. We tried to stay in bed but by 5:30am Bob and Joe were drinking coffee and eating. We were chomping at the bit I guess. We ended up in the Alta parking lot with what looked to be a blue sky day at about 8am. Alta has these really cool tickets that are read with RF right thought your coat. You just need one in your pocket and the lift line just opens for you. It is how all ski areas will be in the future, except for Bolton, they will never change. We skied all day till about 3pm on Packed powder and some very limited untracked snow. The last snow had fallen on Monday so by Wednesday everything was pretty tracked out. We did Collins, Wild cat and some turns over on Sugarloaf. It was warm and sunny all day. We ended up on the deck drinking more beer after the last run. We headed back to the house and then headed out for a Ti dinner down the street.
We woke up again at 3am Freaking A! We did Alta again on Thursday because we had so much fun the day before. Jon couldnt go to Alta because he rides a board exclusively. Alta is one of the three or four Ski areas in the country that doesnt allow knuckle draggers. Thursday took us out to the Supreme lift and a hike to Catherines area. This is a great traverse yielding this day not so great snow. The lower part had been melted and re-frozen so it was not all that great. Really pretty but not the best skiing. We tended to stay on the north facing slopes which yielded the soft and occasional untracked lines. Thursday night Norm landed in the SLC around 4pm. Bob dropped Joe and Shane off at the house and headed up I15 in rush hour traffic after several beers. It was like some kind of video game. 6 lanes at 75 MPH is scary. Norm was on the curb and we used Cell phones to link up. We headed over to REI for tickets (52 bucks) for Snow bird. Jon and Jake were leaving on Saturday so we figured we would all go to a snowboard friendly place for Jons last day in Utah. Dinner this night was an awesome Mac and Cheese, salad and Beer!
Snowbird is huge It has an industrial feel with huge tracks of land. Spectacular views and trails that are hard to learn quickly. I felt a little off base the whole time. We checked out the whole place including the tunnel through the top part of the mountain which leads to another whole ski area 10 times the size of Bolton. The tunnel has a surface lift that moves you and it feels a little like Disney land. We ate lunch including buying Jake a beer at the mid mountain lodge. What the hell when in Utah break laws.
Jon and Jake stopped over after and we went to the Golden Corral for dinner. Jon had spied this nugget of culinary delight while cruising around in his rental Malibu. This is Friday night and the 425 person capacity was met just before we arrived. The 10.95 buffet billed as a seafood buffet was being swarmed upon by all manner of large Utahins. My god what a hefty group. The food was B grade at best and we decided not to listen to Jon about dinner places any more. The waitress was attentive and sweet so she got a good tip. We went home and filled our little house with methane.
Saturday was a pre-determined rest day Jon and Jake were on a 7am flight back to Vermont. We didnt know what we were doing but we knew we were not skiing. Old men get tired after 3 days at 10,000 feet. We loaded up the truck and headed for Copper town. Apparently the largest copper mine in the world was just a few mines from our house. We figured that we should drive over and check it out. The place is massive and closed to tourists. We saw some mule deer and spun around. We found our self in Jordan Utah waiting for the library to open at 9:50 am. The library internet connection yielded fragmented dual geo caches and a route which took us around the mountain range to the west. Tooele and Ofir were ahead and needed to be explored. We headed south and then west over a divide. We found what must be ATV Mecca for SLC folks. Miles of parking lots filled with trucks hauling trailers filled with ATVs and dirt bikes. The divide area was riddled with trails. We had already begun the decent into Beer induced route picking so Bob cranked a right up a 4X4 trail and we drove into the wilderness. About a mile in we stopped and exited the truck to get the feel of the place. We found more GD shot gun shells, broken glass and brass shell casings then we had ever imagined even existed. This was where red necks in Utah come to act like rednecks. There were appliances riddled with bullet holes, metric tons of smashed beer bottles, clay pigeon fragments all with a fantastic view into what must have been an old sea bed. We walked around a bit to check out the area and then we lined up a bunch of bottles and tossed stones until we added to the refuse. Hey when youre in redneck land you might as well act like a red neck. We headed out to the main road and proceeded on our route. A sign popped up pointing to Ofir. This looked like a dead end that headed up into the hills so we banked right and headed to Ofir. Ofir was a mining town at some point, 1820? There was 5 feet of snow on the ground and 10 houses at the end of the road. It was a boxed canyon and there was not any thing for us to do so we did a 180 and headed down. We did see some old mining equipment and some shafts on the sides of the canyon. We stopped part way down and went for a hike on a snow less ridge that looked interesting. We climbed up a bit and rolled large rocks to see how far they might go. Bob rolled a 50 pounder that made it almost to the bottom. I saw Norm smoke a cigarette and thought WTF? He said it was only his 4th in his entire life, but I didnt believe him.
We hung for a bit taking in the view and then headed back to the car. We had a Geo Cache to find in Tooele. As we hit the main road and headed North we noticed a grid of buildings off in the desert. It was the Desert Chemical Storage depot. Cool, I wonder what nasty shit they store in there. Better in the middle of Utah then in Vermont. We rolled along on a road that disappeared into the horizon. Dead straight, and no traffic. We saw a tumble weed roll by. Norm asked me if I had ever hit a tumble weed. 5 minutes later one rolled right into my rental Explorer. It exploded into a million pieces. That is something I will not forget.
We rolled in to Toole with Norms GPS leading us to a 7/11 store. The Geo cache was somewhere in the parking lot. The decoded text said the bottom unscrews. We checked every screw in the parking lot and then gave up as it started to rain. It poured as we rounded the Northern end of the mountain range. The Great Salt lake came into view as we rolled east toward Salt lake city. That lake is huge and you cant see the other side from this angle. This rain was good because it really looked like the mountains were getting hammered with snow. We returned to the house and made a big spaghetti dinner. I should add that Tom, Dave, Jon and Sue Ketcham were around the whole time. Sue stayed up at Alta for the beginning of the week. Tom, Jon and Dave were right at the Majestic Rockies with us in different rooms. Tom drove 900 miles from Washington state. Jon flew up from Austin Texas and Dave arrived from near Portsmouth NH. Sue lives in Milton Vermont. By this time Sue, Jon and Dave had headed to Moab for some site seeing and Tom was buying Records in Salt Lake. I think Tom hauled 50 albums back to Washington State when he left.
Sunday dawned with snow on the ground. Bob again awoke at 3am. What a royal pain in the ass! We got our shit together and headed back to Alta around 8am. We rolled up the access road and found a line of traffic. The road had been closed for avalanche danger. Apparently they were dealing with it, with explosives. We liked this as it was a good sign there was a bunch of snow. After about 45 minutes we were in the parking lot getting our gear on. I think the snow brings out the powder hounds because it got pretty crowded fast. The line on Collins looked like a typical Mad River Glen Saturday so we went over to Wild cat. There was a good fresh dump on everything. We were talking 24 but it might have been 20. We got a few runs on Wild Cat and it was totally cool. I dont know shit about skiing in deep snow but it was still really fun. Falls were claustrophobic. You couldnt breath or tell which way was up and it was dark. We skied all day and had a wicked good time. Joe stayed up at the area and Bob , Shane and Norm headed down. Norm had a flight back home so Bob hauled him to the airport. We were tired and didnt even eat dinner Sunday night. Just a couple beers was all we consumed.
Monday found us back at the Atla grill for Egg McAlta's. 7 bucks was not too bad. Monday was Blue sky and sunny so we were excited to relax and enjoy our last day on the hill. Much of the area was still closed Sunday for avalanche danger so we hoped we would get some fresh stuff as it opened up. We were hearing cannon shots all morning and were lucky enough to get into new areas early. I think we made more fresh tracks on Monday then we did on Sunday. Another one for the record books, an excellent day. We headed home and then went out to Joes Crab Shack for dinner. It was Ok but not all that good. The Servers were too attentive and we left a tiny tip.
We had a flight back to Vermont around 11 am so we packed up our junk and headed out Tuesday morning. We found on time flights and arrived in Burlington at about 7:30pm Tuesday. We lost no baggage and sustained no injuries along the way. On the flight from Chicago to B-town we ran in to Scott Danis. He was returning with family from Brecken Ridge Co. He looked like me, Tan, unshaven and gray.
There were so many .
Political discussions with Tom and Dave were interesting
Norm made it and entertained us constantly.
Snow in the middle of the week
Red Neck heaven
The Chemical Storage Dump in the middle of freaken nowhere.
Alta!!!!!!! The best little ski area I have been to.
The Sun shined 4 days of the 5.
Beer, we filled a large green container with empties.
TV in Utah sucks!
Ponderosa pine branches, Bob lost a coat to one, they are stiff and nasty.
The bottom line
Our air fair cost $404 round trip each. Our skiing cost about $260 for 5 days, our car cost about $165 a person with gas and the hotel was about 206 a person. This is a cheap way to see Utah. I should mention that while in Vermont the gas was $3.15 a gallon the SLC area was paying about 2.86 a gallon. I saw diesel for $2.40
The SLC area has more pick up trucks on the road then I have ever seen. Everyone is a cowboy I guess.
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