The Rocky Mountain Skyway

The Rocky Mountain Skyway

Our road trip, dubbed “The Rocky Mountain Skyway,” will connect Alta, Snowbird and Snowbasin, in Utah, with Sun Valley, Idaho and Jackson Hole, Wyoming. The Skyway has 600 miles to it, eleven total hours of road time—not including the 300 miles and five hours back to SLC from Jackson but who the hell wants to talk about the end before the beginning even starts?—and as many days of shredding as our legs can muster and our couch surfing creativity can produce. We’ve got a full tank of gas, a Mountain Collective pass, a half a pack of jerky, it’s dark out and we have goggle tans. It’s time to hit it. We’re on a mission from Ullr.

Here’s the plan: We’ll start this pow-hunting road trip in Salt Lake and buzz 35 or so minutes up the hill to Snowbird and Alta before heading northbound to Snowbasin. All three resorts serve up pounds of that tasty, dry Utah fluff. Sure, each platter is a little different than the other but like an all you can eat dessert buffet, it’s impossible to make a bad choice here. And more is always the best option.

First, we’ll go full-send all across Snowbird’s 2,500 acres of steep and deep. Let’s plan to get a little grub at the Tram Club after we slay all 3,000 leg-busting vertical of North Baldy. There’s nothing better than consistent pitch and north facing powagawea. Then, we’ll pull the super sneak move by dropping into Wilbere Bowl after the Tram and Little Cloud close. Let us not forget the tasty turns off of the Peruvian and Gad 2 chairs. They’ve got more mouth-watering diamonds than Kay Jewelers. And be aware, there are more pros at Snowbird than Marcus Caston can shake his ponytail at, so let’s make sure to let them know how much more radder we are than them. That’s 500 G.N.A.R. points, right?

Once we get our fill at Snowbird we’ll head just a stone’s throw up the road to Alta. The frosty maiden celebrates her 80th birthday this year and like a cheek-pinching Grandma hopped up on eggnog at Christmas-time she’ll happily give us more grins than we can handle. We will have 2,200 acres and 2,020 feet of vert to conquer but let’s make sure to throw double-daffy-twister-spreadies on Westward Ho while all the Johnny Go Jibbin’ kiddos toss whirly birds and double-mega-ultra-corks. We can max out our jump turns on the puckering, 45-degree steeps of West Rustler, as well as the chutes that cascade down Baldy. The Main is a must. That crunchy dude Dillon from college told us to hit the Peruvian Lodge Bar and watch a band from Moab called Stonefed. Apparently, that’s when things get especially weird.

Unless insane snowfall cuts off the canyon, forces us to stay and we’re lucky enough to ski a private pow resort while no one else can get up the road, let’s cap off our time buzzin’ around the Beehive State by exploring every inch of Snowbasin’s 3,000 acres. Don’t let the swanky lodges lead you to believe the skiing isn’t all time. The Basin is so massive—six peaks, nine lifts, 3,000 vertical feet—that the thigh burn will be intense enough to smell. We can let the throttle loose like Olympians on the steeps off of Mt. Ogden. If they were good enough for the 2002 Winter Games, they’ll be just fine for us. And DeMoisy Peak has some full-on, straight up and down chutes. Then it’s Middle Bowl Cirque for some seriously steep lines and big ol’ cliffs, and serious hot-lapping.

The next leg to Sun Valley will be a haul but it’ll be worth it, thanks to old Hollywood charm, ski history and world-renowned skiing. Sun Valley had the world’s first chairlift… yeah, the first in the entire flippin’ world. Let’s munch at Round House and Apples Bar & Grill for après after carving up Sun Valley’s superbly sustained pitches or grabbing a guided tour of that new terrain in Cold Springs Canyon, perhaps? Plus, we’ll be hidden in the heart of Idaho, which means killer views, no lift lines and endless goods in them woods. And don’t those local gals skin up after close for sunset picnics? Rad skier-lady side-ponies and fancy cheeses are a ski road trip must. Follow the ones with cocoa-filled thermoses. Plus, Dollar Mountain, the all-park mini-mountain, is there in case we decide, well… backflips.

And we’ll close with Jackson Hole. Duh. The Big Red Tram, S and S, Corbet’s, waffles at the Cabin, the Air Force… oh, first person to touch Benny Wilson gets to sleep the entire way home. You know, last year the entire town lost power from too much snow. Yeah, we may just burst into flames from the stoke.

Car’s packed, tunes are blaring and we are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to ski, mad to après, mad to dance in ski boots, mad to be rad, desirous of every run on the mountain, ready for our thighs to burn, burn, burn like hot sauce on fully loaded nachos and in the middle you see a jalapeño popper and everybody goes “Siiiiiick!”

So, y’all ready or what? Where the hell are the keys?

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