There’s always one trip per year that really sinks its teeth in and stands, by itself, as the trip of the season. You measure the rest of your snow season against it. It’s the kind of trip that strips you of all energy yet drives you to run on fumes of elated happiness because the feeling of satisfaction day after day is worth every drip of exhaustion. Our latest strike to Utah served as just that.
We’ve been lucky to strike Utah 3 years in a row. It’s become an annual pilgrimage to tackle work and play. The product development team for our new camping chair, the Voyager, is based in Salt Lake City. The city also sits right smack in the middle of Utah’s Wasatch Range.
We landed on a Friday, handled our business and met up with our friends who would tag along for the weekend adventure. The forecast was strong. 3-4ft of fresh snow was expected to start Friday night and continue into Monday evening. The only question on our minds was whether we’d get through the mountain roads in one piece.
We awoke the next morning to 4 inches of fresh snow in the city. The excitement began to mount as the mountains outside of town typically pick up 3-4 times what the town does. Car loaded, we set off.
As the sun rose we opened our eyes to a blizzard. Whiteout conditions, iced-over roads, spinning tires, and white-knuckle drivers, not the natural environment for a couple of Californians. Our rental 4x4 seemed to be okay. We entered the canyon leading into the Wasatch Range a little uneasy about where our friends we’re leading us, we trusted them nonetheless. We started to climb and soon would fall in line with others who we’re on the same mission as us, to ride the freshly fallen snow, to float down the mountain in waist-deep, untouched and pure pow.
The roads were steep but our little SUV kept charging it's way. To be honest, there’s no way our group of Californians we’re experienced in these types of driving conditions. At multiple moments, it seemed as though the entire car was holding its breath, not just the driver. Finally, a glimpse of the end. A chair lift. We’d made it.
“Gear up!” yelled Jason. He would be the leader of the day as none of us knew the mountain. We arrived in a whiteout during the peak of the storm and none could really make out where we were. We were in the clouds. Ready, the group of us headed towards the lifts for our first runs of the day.
Almost immediately, the stress of the drive felt like a distant memory. Straight off the lift and into 4 ft of freshly fallen snow. Through the snow, we zig-zagged past and through Aspen trees that had overgrown the mountainside. Snow flurries billowed behind each rider while hoots and hollers of excitement echoed through the trees. And that was only the 1st run of the day. What a day we were in for.
The day would continue with face shots and endless turns through freshly uncut powder. Steeper lines would lead to more highs, more excitement and although we couldn’t see it through the facemask and mirrored goggles lenses, we knew everyone felt the same.
We broke for a quick tailgate, to refuel and keep our bodies nourished for more of the same. Hot dogs, chips and Guac, beers and PARKIT camping chairs set the scene as an endless downpour of snowfall mesmerized our visions for the afternoon. The day had already been a huge success… what more could we ask for?
We would ride for 3 more hours. Sifting through trees and finding lines untouched by board and ski. Never in our lives could any of us recall a day at a resort where the slopes stayed fresh from the destruction of other riders. We rode through it all, snuck off the grid, caught busses back to lifts and did it all over again.
That's just the way it is in the Wasatch. Deep, steep and fluffy. There's something special, not only about these mountains but the people who ride them. They know they have some special in their backyard, hell, there's even science to prove it. We're just grateful that a handful of locals decided to welcome us into it. We'll be back for sure.