Category Archives: Outdoor News

Fast Food Comes To Deer Valley

It’s self-serve; it’s cheap(er), it’s right on your way to the slopes. McDonald’s it’s not but Quincy’s Frozen Yogurt should make a splash at the Snow Park Lodge this winter and beyond. When asked last year if DV had any ski-thru food kiosks, I got a resounding “no!” Exclamation point included. Guess they changed their mind.


You can’t technically ski thru to grab a cup but if you want a filling snack for $3.50- $6, that’s more substantial than a chocolate chocolate chip cookie or slice of carrot cake it’s worth a peak into NextGen DV (formerly Kindersport) on the lower level of Snow Park. The kids clothing store isolated the front section for two self-serve Yocream machines and up to nine topping dispensers.

The yogurt itself is more like soft-serve ice cream instead of that tangy sorbetish stuff you find at Juicy Berry. Kids will love it. The toppings range from the usual Reese’s Pieces and Gummie Bears but opt for the housemade crushed cookies on your treat.




Wonder how they’re going to keep all those fancy, expensive ski outfits from Patagonia, Marker, Volkl, Bogner, and Spyder clear of sticky fingers? The carpets are “yogurt-free zones.”

Quincy’s- named after one of DV’s mascots- is open until 5 pm throughout the season.

Still No Snow

Well, I guess if you feel like you’re not yet ready to go full bore for skiing, you couldn’t ask for a better start to the winter. The base has remained unchanged for two weeks and snowmaking reigns supreme in Utah.


The Bird’s Tram is running for Regulator-only skiers and you’ll have to tolerate an annoying misting as you skid past the gun. Where would we be right now without the manmade? Canyons, Park City, Alta, Brighton, Solitude are all open and skiing on manufactured snow.

Manmade is NOT artificial. It’s atomized water shot through pressure “guns” into the cold air. The drops freeze into particles and hit the ground. The basic difference between this ‘fake’ snow and the natural stuff is that it falls in pellets instead of large feather-like flakes. Ever try to ski one of the snowmaking mounds? Not fun. It’s basically a giant hill of compacted ice crystals. You have to wait until a snowcat swings by to punish the mound until it’s skiable.

Today, yesterday, the day before, it was all skiable on trail, where the cats have cruised and pushed the manmade around. Get those skis tuned now; even if they’re your rock skis. Manmade snow is H-A-R-D and F-A-S-T. Not necessarily ideal for those with wobbly legs…and for those ‘training’ on high traffic runs (the only ones open right now). Like Marc Guido said in his forum: Below the top of Gadzoom, though, there was much more traffic. Big Emma itself was a killing field, loaded with quite a few folks who really had no business being there. At least we have sun! Alta is better off right now and allowing adventurers to traverse across to Ballroom and get a few fresh tracks so I’d say they’re holding better than their neighbor.

These are the days that beginners, kids, and families will appreciate. Local rippers will either a) whine or b) tell you how fantastic it is because, well, it’s like the Secret. Keep wishing for something and it will happen. Plus, when life hands you lemons….

In conclusion, get up and out first thing in the morning to practice your groomer arcs, stay onpiste, and pray for snow.


Wherefore Art Thou Utah Ski Season?

To ski or not to ski? That is the question. It’s snowing hard tonight. Will it be enough? Enough to feel the tingly rush of those ripping turns. That hair-standing-on-your-arm goosebumps of a slasher winter day? Enough to lure me back onto the slopes? I hit Solitude the day after opening day this year. Not even opening day. The motivation just isn’t there…yet. Unlike the past two years, this season is off to a slow, manmade start.

Even opening day at Snowbird today- a week later- was weak. I heard off trail was thin and the on-piste firm. The Tram is still down. Alta was probably better but I wouldn’t know. I was home writing.

Snowbird Tweets Pic of Gadzoom Opening Day Crowd (or lack of)

Brighton and Solitude opened last week and that was enough for me. It was fun to take Sage for a few runs on the easy groomers at Solitude. We had the Link Lift to ourselves. Perfect conditions for a safe time knocking the cobwebs off a five-year-old’s skis. It snowed the following day and a person died in a relatively small avalanche that pushed him off a cliff. I decided I was in no rush to ski again. Really? Me? I put in nearly 100 days last season. I can wait.

The Facebook posts today were noticeably silent- only a smattering of nods to the resorts. Nothing like you see when it’s a mondo pow day. Park City Mountain Resort opens tomorrow (Saturday) and because they haven’t been skied yet, the tweets should fly. Plus, with the Canyons waiting until Nov. 25 and Deer Valley the first weekend of December to open, PCMR is the only game in town. They’re also gifting T-shirts to the first in line at each of their three lifts running.

Perhaps the new snow will generate more energy but don’t feel bad if you’re not turning until next week. If you think about it, the norm used to be ‘wait until the day after Thanksgiving’ to ski. That’s when the skiing was skiing. We’re spoiled from the past two seasons. Now, it looks like we’re back to the norm. We’ll get maybe 14 inches this weekend, then nothing until Friday when another storm moves in. Yep. Day after Thanksgiving.

So, to ski or not? Totally an individual choice. If you go now, you have an excuse to keep things low-key, get outside, warm up and ease into the winter. If you wait, you save $40-60 bucks, your bases and your time. I’ll let you know what I decide.


RIP Freeskiing’s Jamie Pierre

Facebook and Twitter are lit up tonight. News of Jamie Pierre’s death today at Snowbird Resort spread hard and fast. Even his Wikipedia page has been updated with his demise. Condolences went out to his wife, two kids and the rest of his family. Utah ski locals are still in shock. The specifics are here in the Utah Avalanche Center report.

Pierre triggered a slide in Snowbird’s Gad Valley after traversing over from Alta Resort with his snowboard and a buddy. Both areas are closed but riders regularly hike and ski their slopes before the lifts fire up. The slide swept him over a cliff. He wasn’t buried so avi gear wouldn’t have helped. The snowpack is extremely unstable with about a foot of new snow sitting on top of a crappy October layer. Anyone bothering to check with the UAC would know to stay out of the backcountry. Danger was ‘considerable to high’ today.

In addition to the avalanche at the Bird, there were three other human-triggered slides at Alta. One guy shattered his pelvis on Gunsight. Little Chute slid and spit out a couple of skiers uninjured. Baldy Shoulder also saw action.

According to one local, there were hundreds of riders hiking around Alta without avalanche gear. Please bring at least your peeps and shovel if you’re going OB and check with the UAC. They aren’t reporting for the hell of it. It’s for us. Use them.

Alta is now closed to hikers and the Bird was never open to them so please stay off their slopes. You’ll have to wait until Alta officially opens November 18.


Pierre is best known for his record-breaking, 255-foot stomp on the backside of Fred’s Mountain at Grand Targhee, Wyo. The Salt Lake skier had recently moved to Big Sky, Mont.

Avalanches Starting Early In The Wasatch


Leave it to anxious early season skiers to set off an avalanche on slopes with only 20″ of snow. It’s an annual rite of ski passage to hike the face of Alta Ski Resort before the lifts spin. Well, today four slides have set the wheels of safety in motion. Alta is out for uphill traffic. They had planned to close tonight to prep for the November 18 opening but what’s a few extra hours early if it means lives saved.

There’s a weak October snow layer beneath this weekend’s heavy new snow. Guess what that means?

The unstable snowpack made for treacherous skiing Sunday afternoon. One person is already in the ER with a busted leg. People, it’s too early to redshirt yourselves. The Utah Avalanche Center has reported at least four rips; three definitely human-triggered, and the fourth one is probably one as well. All four were at the as-yet closed Alta Ski Resort. Therefore, you could say the avis were in the backcountry.

It’s snowing in PC (3pm, Sunday) but the forecast for the rest of the week looks like partly cloudy skies and warm temps. Weatherbug says that we’ve got about 70 percent chance for more snow by the weekend. Please be safe out there. The snowpack is funky, the coverage thin and honestly consider whether it’s worth the risk for those few early season turns. You can’t just think that because you’re skiing at a (closed) resort that the skiing is safe. Check in with the UAC at or call 888-999-4019.


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