Monday, December 7, 2009

Ah, Sweet, Sweet Powder

We had a just a skiff of snow last night. It was just enough to coat the driveway and leave tracks when I drove the car over it on my way to work this morning.

This afternoon I went to shovel it and there wasn't enough to shovel, so I brushed it. I got my shop brush out and was able to move it off the driveway. Why, you ask, is this significant.

Well for those who are not privileged enough to live and ski along the Wasatch front, this my friends is the "Greatest Snow on Earth". That isn't me boasting, it is actually emblazoned on our license plates.

This snow I moved was so light and so cold that it hadn't melted all day and I was able to brush it away without a bit of effort. Even if I had a few broom fulls of show piled up, it came off the drive without leaving any trace.

24 inches of that white gold makes all thoughts of doing anything but calling my ski buddy up at 7:30 in the morning and telling him I'll meet him at the mouth of the canyon, disappear. This assures us we are standing in our skis less than 5 deep when the chair lift opens. That is the way to start a powder day.

Over the summer we forget how wonderful skiing here in Utah is. We forget the days when we can glide through the deep powder down a 60 degree slope as if we are floating through the air. It seems almost effortless. You have to stop at the bottom just to admire your tracks, but not too long, there is always another run to make before it gets tracked out.

It has been said "there are no friends on a powder day". That means you just ski, until you can't move, you don't wait for anyone. It is even better if it is still snowing. That means only the diehards are there, and it seems there are more and more of them every year.

I always tell people from out of town I ski only when the conditions are optimum; it snowed last night at least a foot, the sun is likely to peak out between the clouds and it is a weekday. Any other time is just warming up.

When we do get those days, and there are a number of them here each year (Alta gets over 700 inches of snow each year), your mind is on nothing else. Your heart races as you hurriedly assemble your gear and you can't get breakfast down quick enough. If it is really dumping you put the gear in the car the night before and you take a bagel and a cup of coffee with you.

So as we brace ourselves for another storm tonight I can only hope that it will be one of those epic ski days tomorrow. And if anyone at work wonders where I am I tell them I have something wrong with my eyes - I can't see myself going to work today.

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