I fell in love this week… with the not-so-small state of Utah. I know, people can talk a lot of shit on Utah… flush with Mormons, drinking laws are prohibitive, yadda yadda yadda.
The thing is, even though that all might be true, this place gets pounded with snow. And maybe I’m just lucky, but I have never had a poor ski day in this state. The in-bounds terrain is gnarly, the snow is light and deep and the access to the 8+ world-class resorts is so easy.
I was asked independently a few weeks back by Salomon and Atomic to come and spend some time in the companies home state, check out the new ‘08-’09 lines and get some on-hill time with those in the know. My calendar cleared, the stars aligned and the bosses were more than happy to get me out of the office. So I booked my flights, reserved a rental car and made the solo journey to the salt lake state for eight days.
Upon arrival at the Salt Lake Airport last Thursday evening, I was shuttled to the city of Ogden — home to Amer Sports, parent company of Atomic, Salomon and Suunto watches. I grabbed a quick nights sleep and made my way to the new shared office of the three companies first thing Friday morning. Amer Sports moved everyone to Ogden about eight months ago. An old, historic building downtown was renovated and turned into a beautiful office. The mayor of Ogden, Matthew Godfrey; the president of Amer Sports, Roger Talermo; and the Governor of Utah, Jon Huntsman Jr. were on hand Friday morning to speak to the crew and give us the low down on their combined goal of making Utah a center for action sports.
From there, we all jumped on a bus and headed up to Snowbasin for some of the deepest snow of the season combined with new product to demo all day long. Cody Townsend and Elyse Saugstad were on hand and showed us around. Hiking No-Name all day with knee-deep powder was not a bad way to spend time with some ripping skiers.
The crew from Salomon and Atomic were also on snow to fill us in on all the ‘08-’09 product that will soon be seen littering the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas. The Atomic Thug is back unchanged except for some new killer graphics. They also added a women’s powder ski to their line called the Heaven and Hell. Jordan Judd and Courtney Vermaas from Atomic spent the morning shredding with the crew. Jordan, being a native of Snowbasin, was a man on a mission getting us to some cool zones and keeping the pace fast.
Salomon is launching a few new big-mountain skis including the Czar designed with the help of Mike Douglas and Mark Abma. With an 111mm waist and a rockered flex, this ski is an amazing ride in deep snow and tracked up powder. The great thing about this ski is it comes in sizes starting at 166 moving to 174, 182 and beyond allowing more skiers to experience a rockered ski than were able before. They also have a new ski called the Lord which is also slightly rockered but with a narrower waist more designed for a six-inch snow fall. The Lady is also new and is the female counterpart to the Lord.
Ogden and the state of Utah in general is seeing an influx of action sports brands. So even with its idiosyncrasies like Mormon temples and buffalo roaming the islands of the Great Salt Lake, it’s not a bad place to spend some time in the winter.