Thursday, December 18, 2008

Why is Life so Delicious?

Sticking snow in Saint George? I didn't think so either. But we had a couple inches last night, and it was fun to watch the neighborhood kids playing in it, potentially for the first time. It sounds like it hasn't snowed like this in a decade.

We already had plans to go skiing today, but the forecast for snow and a huge storm passing through made the prospect all the more exciting. We left Saint George early in the morning and headed Northeast to Brian Head Resort. Saint George's elevation is a little under 3000 feet, and the base of the mountain is over 9000 feet, so we went up the entire way there. It was still snowing vigorously this morning and the interstate and back highways were blanketed in snow and ice. Days like today are what our Subaru was made for. I'm glad my parents kept it.

We got there this morning to find that there was still a massive blizzard going on and winds were too strong to go all the way to the top of the hill, so we messed around in bitter wind chill and blinding snow on the lower slopes for a while. It's rather difficult to ski/snowboard well when the lighting and visibility is such that you can't see the terrain you're going down.

I skied, Ian snowboarded. He's holding poles because I needed hands to take the picture.

Then they opened one lift to the top when the sky suddenly turned blue, and up we went. I realize that this picture doesn't look particularly blue-skyish, but just go with it.

The view from nearly 11000 feet is stunning, especially with all the surrounding terrain being several thousand feet lower.

The afternoon was all about finding powder. Growing up skiing in Alaska, the best we usually got was hard-pack, icy slopes. This was the complete opposite end of the spectrum, with over a foot of fresh powder in the last 24 hours. Some runs that hadn't been groomed yet this year were covered with 2-3 feet of nothing but powder. We had to learn a slightly different style of getting down the hill with all the fresh snow. Steep slopes became our friends, flatter slopes our enemies that liked to pull us under and bring us to a stop.

And of course with that learning curve comes a crash or two. It's the softest landing ever, but the downside is you have to dig yourself out of the hole you create just to get going again. I cracked up for a good 5 minutes as I watched Ian get unstuck from this one, only to start out goofy and miss the narrow packed trail before falling into powder again at slow speed.

I had two good crashes on the day. The first was when I somehow sunk in a ski tip going across several other people's tracks in deep powder. I face planted pretty nicely and was confused to find myself on my back. At least one somersault must have taken place. This was still during the stormy part of the morning, and I initially couldn't tell which way was up the hill and which way was down. Nor could I figure out where one of my skis went. I spent several minutes digging for it before finding it. Next time I'm selecting skier level III instead of II so they don't pop off so easily.

The other fabulous crash also involved losing a ski, but this one in a slightly more original manner. I was skiing in deep powder near the edge of a run and was noticing little 3-4 foot tall Pine trees sticking out of the snow. I was dodging them easily until one snuck up on me when it was too late to avoid. I figured I could glide right over it since only 3-4 inches were sticking above snow, but I wasn't thinking about the fact that my skis were actually below the surface a bit. The tree ripped my right ski off and I spent a few moments ragdolling down the slope in a most comfortable fashion.

All that skiing and crashing and getting unstuck was a nice way to burn off some energy.

Now off to some sort of exciting evening adventure, such as playing cards or watching a movie or working on a ridiculously hard puzzle where all of the pieces look the same (and there are 2000 of them). Seriously, someone must have felt particularly evil the day they decided the entire bottom third of the puzzle should be a bunch of fall-colored leaves.

Oh, and the post title? That was my brother talking about cereal this morning.

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