I didn’t take my camera to Utah because I don’t have one, unfortunately, that fits into a pocket. Except my cell phone. So all of the photos I got on my skiing vacation are courtesy of my Blackberry. Not quite the quality I would have liked, but better than nothing. I will share some of the best with you here…
The first day we skied–Sunday December 13th–a blizzard was a’blowing. In fact, the road through Little Cottonwood Canyon to Alta and Snowbird was under chain/four wheel drive restrictions. Our little rental car (a Kia of some sort) did not fit these requirements so we took the UTA bus, which turned out to be the best and easiest solution for getting to Alta and Snowbird all week.
Albion Base - Alta
Visibility was poor most of the day and the snow was deep–both of which served me well as I was most fearless despite my inability to ski in full control (and, as I learned later, I wasn’t even in the correct skiing posture).
I think this is the view up Sugar Bowl--the only black diamond run I did the whole week.
In fact, I braved Sugar Bowl without even realizing it was a black diamond run (it didn’t look that sloped to me). I braved the powder fearlessly. Some people fear powder; it makes me feel like I can do any run. Janet got stuck wandering too far to the right of the slope and took some time trying to find her ski. Where I was standing–which I assumed had been groomed earlier in the week–was knee high snow. I was able to cut through it until I stopped to wait on Janet.
I got the following shot along the slope somewhere. I think this was probably on Mambo or something which goes along the Wildcat Base.
On Mambo? Not sure!
On the second day, the conditions started out like the first, but eventually resolved into sun toward the end of the day. Here’s some shots from the top of the Sugarloaf lift before I took a fearless run again down Sugar Bowl and some nice blue slopes to finish off my last run.
Top of Sugarloaf lift before descending Sugar Bowl.
View from top of Sugar Bowl.
Towards Sugar Bowl--downward!
On Wednesday, we went to Deer Valley. I spent a lot of time on green runs learning how to turn correctly and break myself of an old bad habit I have of lifting my ski to make turns. I guess I was using my hips instead of my legs to turn. Correcting a bad habit was like learning to ski all over again because I had to completely change the way I made turns which was really, really scary. Janet’s friend, Renee (a level 3 instructor at Deer Valley), had me hold my poles horizontal to prevent me from using my hips to turn and to keep my hands forward (I also have a bad habit of swinging my arms back after making a pole plant). It was a trying day, but I think I started to learn to ski the “right” way finally.
Here’s a shot along Homeward Bound, a green run off of Bald Mountain in Deer Valley.
Homeward Bound at Deer Valley
Deer Valley seemed to have a lot of unobstructed views down the mountains. They tended to be a little intimidating, though beautiful.
I think this was the view from Little Stick on Little Baldy Peak.
Really, there was not a cliff beyond that bit of land you can see… Just a really steep double-blue slope. (We have no double-blues out east, really.)
Little Stick View.
Thursday, we skied at Snowbird, which, as I stated before, is probably the steepest, hardest resort at which I’ve ever skied. The green run–Big Emma–which wasn’t in the Chickadee (beginner’s) area would probably have been a blue run anywhere else. Even anywhere in Utah. It was pretty steep and slightly intimidating to look down. A snowboard stumbling by shouted to who I assumed was her boyfriend, “That’s no green run!!” She proceeded to pass the run in favor of an easy cat walk that led back to the lodge where the Tram ran out of. I could understand her fear. It was a nice run, though.
Here’s a shot from the top of the Gadzoom lift where you take some blue runs that lead eventually to Big Emma. I took the Lunch run as it was the least steep way to Big Emma. (Later I took Bassackwards and actually had to take my skis off when I got stuck on a rock in a really bad, bald spot and couldn’t turn. Talk about amateur hour!)
Scene at the top of Gadzoom lift.
Snowbird is the only place we skied all week that allowed snowboarders. Can’t say I missed the snowboarders. For some reason, that particular crowd of snow enthusiasts seem to be a bit riskier than regular skiers. Often, they cut way too close to skiers and do not obey the basic rules of skiing such as remaining always in control and giving the downhill skier the right of way since they can’t see behind their heads to know the uphill skier/boarder is coming. Anyway, there were lots of signs all over the resort about politely sharing the slopes.
Share the mountain! Dammit!
More scenery shots from somewhere in Snowbird.
More scenes from Snowbird.
I took the tram to the top of Hidden Peak (11K). There was only one blue run down and it was mostly catwalks down with a few open spaces. I took a wrong turn and ended up on a harder blue at the very end than I intended… After a long, hard day, I was just a bit demoralized. I was halfway down when I was passed by the ski patrol on their final sweep. It’s been a long time since that’s happened!
View from top of tram.
Another view from top of tram.
View towards Mineral Basin (connection to Alta).
I headed wearily down, not sure what I would encounter along the way. I was a little intimidated. Some guys on the tram told me it would take me at least 20 minutes to get down the mountain. I think it took longer because I stopped several times to snap a picture and check the trail map to ensure I didn’t end up on some horrifying black diamond run (they looked really scary on the way up).
My path down.
The distance I have come.
I encountered a nice bowl that some people braver than myself descended. I am not sure the scale and slope of this run is quite captured in this flat picture. But it was pretty neat to watch people come down it.
By Friday, when I skied again at Alta, I was more concerned about skiing and practicing technique to take any more pictures. It was another nice day, though, and I think I came back around to getting into the swing of things. Of course. Always on the last day! But perhaps I will have time to ski again this week, back home, before New Year’s.
Anyway, while I was at Snowbird, a professional photographer got a few shots of me coming down the tail end of Big Emma. I’ve included the links below. I also had some pictures taken by another professional photographer on Friday on a green run off the Sunnyside lift. I have yet to get the link for those pictures. I hope they look good. I’ve found that seeing these pictures helps me assess my posture. In a few of them, I could tell I was not in the proper position and I look sloppy. Others, though, show good posture. I think I need a videographer to follow me around so that I can study my technique. It’s a good thing bicycling isn’t so complicated…
This set is provided by PowderShots.com.
Hand back. Bad!
Good, but my left hand is down again.
Too far forward on my skis.
And here’s Janet:
A better skier, obviously!
Damn arm back again.
Mars Girl rocks the skis.
The following pictures were taken the following day (Friday) at Alta (provided by Peak Photo). You can tell I was getting the technique better (well, for all but the last picture in which I can be seen coming out of a wedge.)