We woke to the subfreezing temps on New Years Day and debated. Should we stay inside and under the warm covers or bust it to Snowbird to get Sage to her Kinderbird's class? Would they really take the kids out to ski with temps hovering at -13 degrees? Was it worth driving all the way from Park City to Snowbird just to have her sit inside drinking hot cocoa? We finally got a hold of someone in ski school; yes, there was class and yes, they will ski.
We made it to the resort in 32 minutes!! I got my first New Year's wish: everyone partied so hard and late that no one was on the road at 8:30 a.m. Sage dressed in thick polyfleece sweatpants, kids ThorLo ski socks, Spyder bibs, Marker zip fleece top, a wool LLBean sweater, GAP down jacket, BULA neck gaiter, Giro helmet, and Grandoe Extendermitt with handwarmers tucked in the little zip pockets of the mittens. I'm telling you all of this so you parents can take notes. We worried about her toes getting cold but not once did we hear her whine.
We dropped her off and beelined for the Forklift Restaurant on the Plaza. The omelets are just the right size, the coffee delish and the prices not too nuts for resort food. We got away with breakfast for two for $30. Plus, we stayed inside just a little longer; hoping the temps would rise at least 5 degrees before we had to ski. I layered up for the -10 air.
I wore a Duofold baselayer and a Kuhl Stovepipe fleece pullover over my fleece sports bra (yes, they make them but mine is about 4 years old from a company that is no longer but I hear Hot Chillys makes one. A fleece sport bra rocks. It's the softest warmest thing against my chest - sorry, Ryan!). On my bottoms I had Polartec fleece tights from Polarmax and a pair of heated Mighty Pants from Burton with the battery charged. My Therm-ic boot heater batteries were also ready. I had my Burton AK Ovenmitts (and hand warmers for safety), a Turtle Fur neck gaiter, Helly Hansen Enigma Flow down jacket and my helmet and goggles. I was warm and comfy all day. For once, I hadn't over or under dressed.
The snow itself was cold and crunchy. We knew what to expect because I checked GuruDave's Blog. The dude is fast becoming a cult icon in the Little Cottonwood Canyon scene. He blogs for Snowbird and gives an accurate, sometimes brutally honest depiction of the snow conditions. With walk-on trams most of the day we were able to waste ourselves in no time. The best snow was off the Cirque and down into Lone Pine. It was still soft in many places but if you didn't have the right wax on your bases you were moving slooow no matter where you went. That was actually quite fun for me because it gave me time to play with my turns, big/small, up/down, steer the inside ski, uncurl the toes.
The lower half of the mountain was skier compacted and though there were moguls, they were soft and navigable.
My one regret on New Years Day was not getting over to Thunderbowl in time. By 3 p.m. it was completely tracked out, my boot heaters were done and the sun had dropped behind the ridge. We were frozen solid when we headed back to Chickadee to pick up Sage. Would you believe she wanted to keep skiing! Little kids don't know 'cold'. It must be something you learn later. I took two more laps with her on Chickadee before calling it a day. We'll probably sit out and wait for the next big storm to hit. I'm not a huge groomer fan and right now that's about the best you can do.
FYI- not all groomers are created equal. A friend of mine was at Deer Valley over the weekend and she was shocked at how icy everything is by the afternoon. Methinks someone's not mixing the right snowmaking cocktail? PCMR is holding up well and over at Alta and Solitude the groomers are cold, hard, fast and grippy. Enjoy!