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Just got back from a week long escape to America's skiing heart land. Touched down in Salt Lake City and made the drive from there out past Snowbird/Alta, Deer Valley, The Canyons, Park City, to the city nearest Sundance. All within 25 minutes of SLC. I had no Idea it was that close. Didn't have time to go check out Snow Basin -Every skier I would consider 'in the know' has done nothing but rave about this area. A long time Jackson Hole resident claims Snow Basin to be his favorite ski area in Utah. Sad to have missed it. We spent one day skiing at the Canyons because it was close to our home base and we needed to head for Summit County that night by car. What a cool little play ground that place was. We had a blast in thick mashed potatos snow. I can't imagine how fun it would have been on any one of this season's dumps. Why couldn't we have chased the mormons to a more useless state like Oklahoma or Alabama?
6 hour drive to Colorado/Vail -East Vail to be exact- to meet up with the rest of our crew. Thanks to an ipod filled with over 3000 songs it didn't take that long. I'm now a fan and I want one. We spent 2 days at Vail, 2 days at Beaver Creek, and a day at A-Basin. I have to say Vail is quite possibly the most underwhelming ski area I have ever been to. It did not live up to the reputation I was expecting. Money? Yes, plenty of it. But, the mountain has very little to offer in the way of pucker factor skiing. It does a great job of catering to really wealthy middle aged intermediate skiers. We skid all the way out to Mongolia, all of the back bowls and the majority of the front side. I did like the moguls on Highline.
The Beaver was a fun mountain. Skid the Birds of Prey. Sick! To see where the WC Downhillers first two turns are was pretty impressive. Its a steep long ways down before getting to that second turn. We also found a lot of good tree shots, moguls everywhere, and had our one good day of fluff of the week. BC seemed to be a lot more convenient in layout than Vail.
After a few days in Posh-land we took a drive up the road past Frisco to A-Basin. A little Mom and Pop operation at around 11,000 feet. What a steep cool little area. The elevation had me feeling like I was breathing through a straw at times. Saw some really cool back country through a rock garden that takes you back down to the highway. Unfortunately there was not enough snow. Must be a rowdy mountain on a good snow day.
The best part of the trip (other than a reunion with 15 of the most unique characters I've ever know and all of the sillyness that involved) was to be around skiers again. Skiing for the most part has died here in the PNW. People are golfing, and playing Bocce Ball. Nobody is talking about skiing. We burried it -ski season- and rose the black flag a while ago. It was good to feel a pulse again.