The Thrill of the Chase: From Aspen to Snowbird on a prediction
Storm chasing requires flexibility. And more time than money. I had just returned from 10 days on the road when two hours later a one-way ride to Utah materialized in my driveway in Colorado. My bags were filled with dirty clothes. I was tired of sleeping on couches. I was behind on work. My significant other was neglected. But the forecast for the Wasatch was 12-24” over the weekend. I threw the unpacked bags in the car and sometime after midnight fell asleep on a futon in Park City.
Photo: Jacqui Edgerly
It wasn’t the 3-5” predicted Friday and 3-7” predicted overnight, the real storm was predicted to arrive Saturday afternoon. I imagined late afternoon storm skiing—the best. The flakes eventually started falling, but too few and too light. It was still a great day at Snowbird—my best resort day of 2013. A mid-winter Saturday and never more than a one-tram wait. Baldy is thin, but it was boot-deep . The Cirque was chalky. Even until the end there were fresh pockets on every run. The Sitzmark delivered the perfect après and by 8pm in Salt Lake it was full-on dumping.
Sunday morning snowfall totals reached six inches at Snowbird and a little more at Alta. Everyone thought it would be double that. That’s how much fell in town. I joined friends who splurged on a half-day private at Snowbird for the morning, which meant backdoor trams. (If you know it’s going to be epic and you have five friends who can throw down $100 each, this is the way). I didn’t think it’d be worth it, but we skied more laps in a single morning than a normal weekend of skiing. And even if it’s not blower, scoring fresh tracks is always satisfying. Especially when it’s at Snowbird.
Skier: Jacqui Edgerly | Photo: McKenna Peterson
And there were still four hours left to ski Alta. Following Leo Ahrens, Hayden Price, Chuck Mumford, Claudia Bouvier, Lexi Dupont and Jacqui Edgerly is pretty much video game skiing (Lexi and Jacqui drove from Sun Valley for the storm). It was one of those posse ski days where you’re hanging it out there every run, barely avoiding disaster around every corner. The traverses are bony, but we just went faster. Sure there were some bumps, but the snow was good. Really good, actually. Alta’s hidden nooks and crannies are endless. With the right crew, bell-to-bell, Snowbird and Alta is about as good of a resort day as you can have.
Skier: Lexi Dupont | Photo: McKenna Peterson
I didn’t spend a minute pining over the storm that didn’t materialize. It was a great exercise in letting go. Sometimes forecasts deliver. Sometimes they disappoint. But skiing never really disappoints.
I even found a ride home in a nice Audi with an Aspen mom who skied as the stunt double for Bryce in Aspen Extreme.
About the author:
Tess Weaver is an Oregonian in Aspen. When she's not writing for Freeskier, Tess is skiing, biking or cooking.