The search for powder as a Midwesterner is much akin to a patient fisherman. We scour the depths of meteorology information hoping to grasp the passing of the next storm and race for a mountainous location praying that a giant winter storm will swallow the mountains in a snow filled sky. And then there are the attempts in which we simply get skunked.
The asphalt of I-80 pass under us as we sped for the Wasatch mountains outside of Salt Lake City hedging our bets and awaiting the snow to fall. We arrived by the cover of night and woke by morning and hurriedly rushed to Alta. But mount the lift the mere sound of passing skiers edges alerted us to the unsavory conditions. We found that hardened slush upon the steeper slopes and took to the groomers. Finally in desperation myself and Andre took the furthest and highest traverses and began to find some semblance of soft and steep snow. We made the best of what conditions provided and left feeling content and well exhausted.
Given the conditions on the slopes, it seemed more fitting to nordic ski. In the morning light, we made our way across the upland plateau to the rising mountains and into the quite vale of Sundance. The sun greeted us with it warmth as we took to the trails. Before long we had lost our shirts and soaked in the rays while cruising amongst soaring views of Sundance Mountain. The day came to a close with a trip to the local pub to satisfy our growing hunger.
Warmth at Sundance!
When we awoke the next morning the uninspiring sight of rain was upon us and the weather reports indicated that the it was raining on the slopes. Disheartened we took the liberty of a slow morning and final embarked southward. On the way we stopped at the Homestead Crater.
Swimming in Homestead Crater
The second hand information we had gained indicated that there was a steamy hot spring within a small crater in the earth. As we drove up I saw before me a 70 foot high mound of earth with a small door tunneled into it's side. We paid are nominal fee and enter into a well lit and long rocky tunnel. Before us opened a unique seen. An ethereal light swirled amongst the rising steam cast from a round cavernous hole revealing the dim sky.
Yet bright blue water of the spring where in stark contrast to the dark walls of the crater. We slowly enter the pool and inflated the life vests we were require to wear. In the steamy water below us diving platforms resided as people often honed diving skills here. After a long soaking we, made for the open road again. Seeking better weather we drove south for Moab.
We arrived in the twilight and made for camping. Awaking in the morning the sun shone upon the red sandstone outcropping that accentuate the landscape of the Moab area. We pack and drove our way into Arches National Park for the day.
As the day came to a close the weather reports were looking more and more favorable and we again headed northward to Salt Lake City. On the way we hiked a up a small wooded path for 2 miles up a small creek in search of a secluded hot spring we had caught wind of. Hiking up the stream it became apparent that the snow was lessening along it's banks. Before long the smell of sulfur hung in the air. We beheld a small water fall running into several pots of pooled hot springs. We basked in the heated pool amongst the sloping hillsides and felt like royalty. We sorrily walked away from the springs an continue northward settling into a hotel room.
The snows came and we woke earlier to hit the sloops of Snowbird this time. We an came to find 6 inches of fresh powder and went to quick work searching for the steepest slopes and the best lines. Although it was not the massive amount of powder we had hoped for, the snow was none the less heavenly to a naive Midwesterner. I left the slopes too tired to think, grateful for snow, and skis to carve it.
We awoke the next morning and drove into the eastern sunrise. My other companion were beginning their homeward journey. Meanwhile my adventures were just beginning. In the town of Fruita, CO I waved goodbye to my friends as they drove away. There I sat waiting for my ride.... as I was soon to be climbing in Indian Creek.