I had a pretty awesome short jaunt up in the mountains today, which proved a couple well-known facts about Northern Utah: proximity and lengthy, overlapping seasons.
8:30 AM: Roll out of bed, make some coffee and breakfast, get on my laptop
9:15: A friend reminds me that I should be skiing right now. I concur, and pack up my ski gear for the first day of the season.
9:40: Take off for the mountains.
10:30: Arrive at Brighton after a nice, snowy drive up Big Cottonwood Canyon. It’s not open yet, but all the Utah resorts don’t mind backcountry skiers walking around in-bounds. It’s lightly snowing and in the lower 20s; pretty nice. Put on boots, skis, etc.
10:40: Start skinning up the mountain from the base. I don’t really know where I’m going to go, but follow some snowmobile tracks up a run.
11:40: Arrive at the top of the Great Western Lift (10,400 ft), which isn’t running. It’s snowing the whole walk up, and as soon as I put my pack down to take the skins off, the sun breaks through the clouds, illuminating my surroundings. They’re magnificent. I look forward to skiing a wide open, untracked, deep powder run at mid-day, in-bounds, at one of the most popular ski resorts in the state.
11:45: Click back into my bindings and set off. The top part of the run is untracked light powder, six to twelve inches, and the bottom half is untouched, just-groomed corduroy. The turns are nice and smooth. I’m reminded that it’s November 9.
12:00: Ski right to my car’s trunk in the snowy parking lot. It’s still pretty quiet, but a few backcountry travelers are milling about.
12:50 PM: Return home, three hours after I left.
This was two days after returning from Indian Creek in the desert of Southern Utah, climbing steep cracks in the 70-degree sun. Utah kicks ass!