Wild Wild West: Our Utah Ski Adventure

(To note: our trip took place in late January, only a month before the Coronavirus shut down mountains, towns, many businesses and drastically changed our lives….so feel extremely lucky to have had this time!)

Living out west, deciding to head where the mountains were in reach, has been one of the best decisions we have ever made.  The joy that we both get, during all seasons, really can’t be matched and wouldn’t be possible had we not decided to take a leap of faith and pick up our life to move to Colorado. In the winter, we find ourselves giddy each time a forecast calls for the fluffy white stuff and for the past two years have bought the Ikon pass, which allows us to adventure to other mountain towns all over the state and country to explore. This year, our beloved ski crew decided to head to the mountains of Utah, where several mountains we had never experienced beckoned. We found a fabulous home at the base of Brighton ski resort to rent for the first half of our trip, where 13 of our closest friends would snuggle in to mountain living for the weekend. Mike and I had decided to extend our stay for 11 days – as I would be able to work from wherever and our Investment property was finished. During the middle of the week, I had planned to stay with a long-time friend who lived in Park City, and then a second fleet of friends would head out for another long weekend. Our mountain adventure would be epic!

Mike and I left Denver on a Thursday, early afternoon to head to Brighton, where we’d meet 13 of our closest friends. Our buddy Zach, was heading out from the east coast to ski with our crew, so we scooped him up from the airport, stayed in Salt city for the night (experiencing some of the Utah bar scene at Squatters Pub). The next morning, we had continental breakfast and fresh POW for breakfast at Alta. This mountain, with it’s jagged peaks, steep chutes, plush trees with deep, deep powder between, could not have promised more. There’s really something to experiencing a brand new mountain, one you’ve never set skis on, that amplifies your excitement, gets your adrenaline flowing. Especially with fresh snow to float around on. Our #powningtown group explored the steep, steep terrain, zigged through the trees and lapped the zero line resort all afternoon, smiles permanently fixed on our faces!

We found our way to Brighton, where our house (The Great Western) sat at the base of the mountain, for a ski in ski out treat. It wasn’t quite time to check in yet, so we headed to Molly Green’s, the Apres A-Frame mountain bar. Complete with a moose-head and waitresses with dreads, we got some beers and cheers’ed to an amazing first day. At 4pm on the dot we went over to the house to check out the digs. Literally a 30 second drive over to the house, the ski in ski out feature was super clutch! Within 30 minutes of us arriving, the rest of our Colorado crew started showing up, piling their ski gear, food and lots and lots of beer into our mountain chalet. The weekend had officially started!

That night, we feasted on a soyrizo veggie bake, got silly over a game of fishbowl & discussed which slopes we’d slay in the morning. Solitude won out and we all agreed to get up and at em’ around 8 to hit it. I had breakfast duty, so as soon as I awoke, threw in my pre-made egg bake and we hit it. The crew walked over to the Millie D lift where we were able to ski all the way from Brighton over to Solitude, where the blue bird skies and great snow kept us smiling all day. Mid-afternoon, we all met up at the lodge where snacks and beers were drank. There were 13 of us, so it was pretty impressive that for the majority of the day, we all stayed and skied together. The terrain was extremely impressive, something for everyone, and the terrain was as aggressive as you wanted it, with shoots, bumps and steeps. An awesome day had by all, with amazing weather. By early afternoon, Mike, Zach and I decided to call it and head back for some apres & hot tub goodness.

The next day we awoke early and got out in the Wasatch mountains for some back country goodness with a good friend from back east. He had lived in Utah for the past 15 years and knew the area well, plus had been a guide. Utah had very different canyons with parking lots for all the back country fanatics. We parked, booted up, and crossed the street to Mill D North Fork trail. When we got to a fork in the path, we chose to go the route less traveled and wow, it was a slick boot packed trail, that gave us a run for our money with our AT gear. Finally, we found the trail that shot up the mountain, straight up it seemed like, to extraordinary views.  The day was perfect, amazing blue-bird skies, a steep approach (about 2,000 feet of vert) and an awesome crew. In total, we got 5.35 miles in and the pow was fluffy and light. After heading back to the car, we headed to The Silver Fork Lodge and Restaurant, where beers were drank and the biggest plate of nachos were eaten.

That evening we were pretty beat, so headed to the house to hot tub, headed to the Brighton Store to check out the goods, then drank a few before hitting the hay early. The next morning, we awoke to snow, so headed into Brighton where we had fresh trees all day! I had never been to Brighton and the mountain didn’t disappoint. That night we went back to the Silverfork Lodge for this first crew’s last meal together before most headed out. It was a beautiful evening, with great friends and good food!

The next day, I had to work, so we headed to Park City where we spent the next few days with a buddy of mine who I’d been friends with since middle school. That night he took us on a night skin up Deer Valley Resort, where he told us casually ‘to duck if we saw a cat’. Yeah, it was super cool! We skinned up, trying to stay close to him (he’s fast AF!) and found ourselves at a fort tucked into a tree halfway up a run. A buddy of Patterson had built it years ago, spent every Sunday there, and it was a cherished place. Patterson fired up the small stove and we cheersed to one of the coolest dinners I’ve ever had! The night got better when after dinner we skied down into a posh lodge in Deer Valley and listened to a free concert with Young the Giant. Epic night in Park City!

The next two days were uneventful for me, as I worked, while Mike skied Deer Valley – although we did have a great dinner with Patterson’s little girl. We said our goodbyes and thank yous for letting us crash and headed into Salt Lake to finish out the weekend with the second crew! We rented a house in Salt Lake, about 40 minutes from the slopes, and it was super cute with a hot tub. And the girls who drove out had brought Winnie!!

Next few days were bluebird, full of great fun (no fresh snow) and lots of laughs. I even got to see my cousin and his kids for dinner one last time.

Looking back, now in May 2020, with the ski season cut short, this trip has new meaning to me and I appreciate the time I spent in the beautiful mountains, with the best ski crew ever. Cheers to skiing in 2021!

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