I've spent the past two days skiing at Park City Mountain Resort, where I've gotten to experience that famous Utah powder. While I haven't seen enough snow in my life to tell if you the Ski Utah slogan "The Great Snow on Earth" is true, I'm happy to report that it is very light, fluffy and gorgeous. I took that photo above this morning at the Town Lift, a chair lift that originates from Park City's Main Street. As you can see, there was plenty of snow. It had begun snowing Tuesday around noon and finished snowing today around 4 PM or so, dumping five inches of fresh powder.
When I tell people that I love skiing in pockets of powder and prefer ungroomed to corduroy-groomed runs, they assume that I am a more experienced skier than I happen to be. Nope, I just love the feeling of sinking into the snow and having my skis (and sometimes even boots!) temporarily disappear. That's what's so amazing about the snow out West — it's so light that you can glide right through it.
I ski at an intermediate level, having grown up going to small resorts in the Berkshires. This is my third ski trip out West — the first two were to Breckenridge, CO. Until yesterday, I hadn't been on skis for two years (the last time I was in Breck). All of this is my roundabout way of getting to the fact that I skied the greens and blues at Park City Mountain Resort, and unfortunately can't tell you anything about the double-black-diamond bowls.
I took my first run on Homerun, a green that is actually the longest trail on the mountain and one that you sometimes you take in between more difficult trails. But when I discovered Claimjumper, I was much happier as it was much less crowded (so more untouched powder pockets) and more challenging. The best green I've ever encountered, it's an excellent warm-up (if you need one) or a great compromise if you're skiing with someone less experienced who's making you ski greens when you're ready for the good stuff. (That would be me making my husband ski greens.)
Blue trails are really what I go for, and I was happy to see that Park City Mountain Resort had plenty of them. Some of the blues, however, turned out to be too challenging for me. That's probably good news for skiers who are more advanced than I, i.e. most of them.
I absolutely loved Pay Day and Treasure Hollow, but I probably had the best experience of all on Jonesy, which was perfectly powdery today. There is a whole intermediate section of the mountain called King Con Mountainzone, which I found to be more challenging than the likes of Pay Day. I thought that King Con Ridge and Shamus were pretty steep, but that Temptation and Hot Spot were fun (and tamer). I didn't get to play around on the King Con zone trails as much as I would have liked because only a few were open.
My last run of the day was Quit 'N' Time, the trail that leads into town. It's a blue, but it has a really steep part that I wasn't expecting. I thought that given the cute name, it would be a tame blue. But there's a tough part of terrain in the middle of the run, so unless you're a skilled skier who feels very comfortable on all the blues, you may be better off taking the Town Lift back (it goes both ways) or even the shuttle.
As I was admiring all of the skiers who were better than I (just about everyone),I thought of another group that I admire even more: great ski photographers. One of my favorite parts of skiing is the scenery, and the vast open views from Park City are incredible. It was frustrating to be surrounded by so much natural beauty and only be able to take a fraction of the amount of photos I wanted to take because it's hard to stop to snap pictures while skiing. Snowy vistas are my favorite, but they're especially tough to capture as they look like muted oil paintings. There's nothing better, though, than skiing in a snow storm that's light enough so you can still see the mountain range, like it was today.
Comped but never compromised: I received complimentary lift tickets from Park City Mountain Resort but I am free to write whatever I like.