It’s mid February and I have the feeling that Snowboard season is slipping past me before I’ve felt progression or accomplishment. Nikki talked me into buying a cheap plane ticket to Utah for Valentine’s day weekend. We both have the travel and snowboarding bug right now, which are hard to satisfy when cooped up in offices during the week.
The Northwest had been so dry that we rolled the dice on a weekend of visiting friends and Nikki’s brother in Salt Lake. Every time you play games, the results are interesting, which is why we continue to play, right? Our weather window turned out to be decent, receiving a little fresh snow and clear skis for a hike but missing the best storm of the season at mt.Hood. The travel rewards of seeing friends, snowboarding on new terrain and getting out of town outweighed storm riding at Meadows and left us feeling please with out roll of the dice.
I hadn’t visited Utah since I was a sophomore in college, running away from Montana to stay with east coast buddies living in Park City. It was very cool to return and see more of Salt Lake this time. Our timing was great for visiting purposes. Reid was very kind and put us up at his lovely little house. Sam had just returned from a rather grueling extended work trip in NYC. Justin was around and Danny was met for the first time. This was also my first time meeting Nikki’s brother, Chris. Chris was very nice to accommodate to our traveling needs. A little sight seeing, big meals, a concert and then leaving him each day to go snowboarding. The special treatment was really appreciated, thanks Chris and Reid.
Riding new terrain is very exciting. Despite missing a big storm cycle rolling into Mt.Hood, we were happy to be ripping around Brighton with some awesome people who ride very well. The “follow me off this” tour guiding is my favorite. I was pretty jazzed up and rather sour after a day of ripping around with Sam, Danny, Justin and Nikki. The snow in the woods was still soft enough to roll off rocks and rollers that were bigger than anticipated. Lots of air time at Brighton, without ever hitting the park.
Brighton was soft but not deep. We were one week too late. On our second day, Reid, Nikki and I made our way to the mountain casually, totally avoiding the rush to the mountain by waiting for a storm to come in. The short drive from SLC up to Brighton put us at the Resort right as an intense storm front dumped five creamy inches of snow within three hours. The mountain got really fun. The woods were packed full of berm turns that I was calling better than Dirksen’s hand crafted courses.
The trip out of Portland was special for many reasons, leaving town with Nikki is always something I enjoy. Riding Brighton is a special event for any snowboarder and a Monday morning “dawn patrol” splitboard lap with Reid was definitely a little soul refreshment—icing on the cake for me. I had yet to dust of my touring gear and February is half over. A beautiful morning touring in Little Cottonwood Canyon put me right back in it. I feel ready to explore the backcountry, getting back to the reason I’m out here (west coast). The mountains are too vast and too pretty to be stuck lapping a crowded ski resort with crowded parking lots and high potential for negative vibes.
Salt Lakes is rad and did indeed deserve a visit. It’s back to winter in the Northwest and time to take advantage of what we’ve waited so long to ride. Party on Wynne and party on Garth.