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Holiday Vacation 05-06

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
I just got back from just over 2 weeks in Utah skiing with my 2 college age kids and thought I might give some of the people with younger families a picture of future possibilites:

My kids arrived from Boulder about 5 days before I did and hooked up with some of our Utah friends for a couple of back country tours (including dogs!) in the Wasatch in addition to skiing together at Solitude. They had some warm beautiful weather and some great pictures for me when I arrived. Except for a day when my son was working with the Solitude ski patrol (in possible anticipation of working with them next year after he graduates), he (a Big Mountain competition participant) and my daughter (a very good skier but not as fast or bold as her brother) skied together and had a great time. In addition to the pictures I was greeted with, I was also told of many hits taking by my son up to a 50 footer by the “C” rock/cliff in Honeycomb.

When I arrived we all skied together for a day in Solitude and then did a BC tour with friends. Then the snow really started to fall. As we switched days between inbounds and BC our group grew larger as friends of friends joined us for alternating days of inbounds skiing and back country tours. One of the new friends was also a big mountain competitor so he and my son would go in search of sizeable cliffs on the slopes where us mere mortals were just trying to ski a nice (absent of said cliffs) line though some fun steeps (with an occasional boulder jump by me into the soft snow - encouraged by watching my son and friend taking much bigger hits). Through this I got to watch (with appreciation and a little trepidation) my son regularly taking hits from 20 to 50 feet.

During our stay my daughter met another local guy whom she hit it off with and was off with him a few days doing mostly (extensive) BC tours with some inbound skiing. We all skied together a couple of days inbounds with some nice hiking and traversing to less accessible terrain at Solitude. I got one day on my own (kind of like a day off!) with my daughter off touring and my son working with ski patrol

For New Years my son and I were at friends with some of their out of town guests we had been skiing together with while my daughter was out with her new friend. While a power outage and multiple car travel escapades/fiascos (stemming from 1 to 2 feet of fresh snow and travel on a “bobsled run” road up Silver Fork Canyon) put something of a damper on New Years we still had a nice time with food, drink, and fodder for some fine stories in the future when talking about digging out four cars that go stuck, moving a tree that fell across the road, locking keys in a car stuck in the snow, etc are somewhat distanced from the not so fun realities.

After New Years my son spent a third day with ski patrol doing early morning control work with explosives (something he really enjoyed) while we skied in bounds. While the new snow put somewhat of a damper on BC travel, we had nothing to complain about with the new snow inbounds and the multiple fresh lines available in Solitude’s diverse terrain. This week included a day all together (including a friend) at Snowbird and a day at Alta minus my daughter who was touring on her own with her friend.

On Friday before last weekend it really warmed up and so being fatigued (to say the least from 2 weeks of skiing in a row for me and almost 3 weeks for my kids) we did a very small tour staying in low angle safe terrain to avoid the possibility of wet slap avalanches. On the final weekend we traveled Friday night, Saturday, and Sunday over to the Canyons to take an Avy 1 course together. It was a great experience with lots of new information, review, and some really experienced and diverse instructors.

As you might guess I feel very lucky indeed to be able to share the mountains, adventure, education, and good times with my kids on a vacation like this one. In addition I was constantly pushed in my skiing by my kids and others who really rip. While this represents our way of doing things I hope that perhaps it demonstrates in some small way the great potential that skiing offers to a family. I should add that this already long trip report doesn’t even begin to touch on the multiple opportunities we had to recant tales, socialize, share, and party with ourselves and our friends.
post #2 of 15
Thanks for sharing, Si - that is what it is all about!
I'm sure the Bears would love to see some photos.....
post #3 of 15
Thanks, I needed that.
post #4 of 15
It sounds like you had a fabulous time and made a lot of memories. Thanks for reminding me of how much fun I always had with my family as I was growing up. I was fortunate that many of our family trips included extended family.

I got some great news from my younger brother this weekend. He used to race, but has not skied since about 1996 for a variety of reasons. He and his wife just had a baby and they are planning to get back into skiing as soon as she (the baby) can stand up! He says he wants her to have the kind of memories we have from growing up in a skiing family.

post #5 of 15
Originally Posted by Si
....After New Years my son spent a third day with ski patrol doing early morning control work with explosives (something he really enjoyed) while we skied in bounds...
Does anyone else find this curious? I have two observations here:

1) I find it highly doubtful that any resort would risk the liablity of having a guest tag along on a bombing run. No offense, but it takes years of experience to travel safely along sensitive avy routes, let alone be around when bombs are going off. Even if one is experienced in this sort of thing elsewhere, the lack of experience at that particular resort would prohibit this kind of activity.

2) If #1 is indeed true, then I would like to avoid touring anywhere near that resort, as I have some serious issues with their judgment in regards to the avy work performed.:

Maybe I'm just super conservative, but damit, I've seen too many SARs that ended with unhappy results.

post #6 of 15
Thread Starter 

My son is basically in training for a ski patrol postion there next year. He will probably be going up for further training this year. No one considered him a guest. In fact I had asked about him shadowing ski patrol in a previous year and been denied for the very issues you raise. This was not his first day out with them. He obviously only got to observe the explosive work and was given very explicit directions about where to stay for cover, etc. The particular route he hiked to and traveled along was along a very stable ridge line (controlled through a gate) that is quite safe. The entire area of the ridgeline being controlled was closed (in fact the lift serving that area and the entire area there was still closed) when the work was being done. The person handling the explosives was an experienced patroller. Additionally my son has a reasonable amount of back country experience and has an academic background in snow science including a field internship studying snow pack.

I'm not sure where you think the additional risk to anyone was, as all standard procedures were followed without exception. It seems to me the only thing to be questioned is the ski patrol's and resort's willingness to accept the risk in training a new patroller who is not formally employed. Obviously, after having my son work with them for a couple of days they didn't feel this posed any real liability for them. That's their choice anyway. No guest was in any way exposed to any level of risk on the basis of these actions.
post #7 of 15
Well, that does seem to explain the situation a little more. As I said before, I am VERY conservative when it comes to avalanche safety, and I don't want anyone to underestimate the gravity [literally] of the nature of the work done out there.

post #8 of 15
Well. in any case, great post. And you got some terrific snow if you don't count the rain at the lower elevations. Wierdly, for those who weren't here, except for one or two mucky days, everything above 8000' or so was light and dry even if it had rained below- causing the ugliest ice I've ever seen in Utah and making it tough on beginners and small kids. yikes!
post #9 of 15
Thread Starter 

Some Pictures: A small hit

Here's the first of a few uploaded pics in low res.
post #10 of 15
Thread Starter 

Picture 2

Fresh Tracks in the backcountry
post #11 of 15
Thread Starter 

Picure 3

Winter Sun
post #12 of 15
Thread Starter 

Picture 4

My Kids in the backcountry
post #13 of 15
Did I tell you...I hate you!!! welll really it's just repressed envy, but I still hate you...
post #14 of 15
Thread Starter 

Photo credits to my daughter

BTW, photo credits go to my daughter not me. She really had some exceptional shots but the low resolution of the attachements doesn't do them justice.
post #15 of 15
Originally Posted by Ryel
Did I tell you...I hate you!!! welll really it's just repressed envy, but I still hate you...
BTW, thank you for the beautiful pictures!
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