I am so ashamed! Ashamed that I haven’t stopped in to ski Solitude until now. I love that resort and yet it stands like PlanB whenever I’m packing up the gear for a day out. Shame on me! I know better. Solitude is the place to head when it dumps all night. Little Cottonwood Canyon will either be closed first thing in the morning for avi control or there’s a snakelike slither all the way up to the parking lots for Snowbird and Alta because, well, that’s where everyone seems to gravitate towards.
On the other hand, Solitude is smooth sailing. Rarely does the road close and even less frequently is there traffic. Plus, there’s never a wait in a lift line and plenty of fresh lines to be had long after the other resorts are tracked out.
I hit it early this week after the first series of storms washed through the Wasatch. Wahoo! I had the place to myself. Ski-on rides at all of the lifts and not a soul to cross my path.
Some may complain that most of Solitude’s chairs (especially the ones toward the summit) are ancient and slow but when you’re not standing in a line and letting your legs unflare, high-speed quads can be the death of you. I say you need the rest.
My day at Solitude began straight out the gates at Powderhorn into Honeycomb’s Black Forest. I had my choice of tree shots and face shots. I had a powder ‘stash on my face all the way to the Honeycomb Express lift. The snowy weather turned to heavy at times by the afternoon, yet most of the resort was open for skiing. Only Evergreen was closed. Run after run, I hooted to myself, bemused that others weren’t in on my secret. How could this be?
I finally waited at the bottom of Powderhorn until I had someone to share the lift with (I was getting kind of lonely). A patroller skied up and took me under his wing. He guided me through two outrageously rocking runs under the lift just before the mountain closed for the day. His Igneous rockers blew up cold smoke as I hunkered down and tried to keep up. My spirit soared. This is how a real ski day in Utah feels. As I waved bye and beelined for the parking lot, I thought, I’m coming back tomorrow for sure. I may have been late to rediscover Solitude but I wasn’t done after just one day. As a matter of fact, my boyfriend, who has a pass to Alta, is gunning for Solitude today instead. It’s a holiday weekend and it snowed last night. Duh. Smart skiers go to Big Cottonwood on these days. He’s not about to waste precious turns waiting for the Canyon to open or standing in gigantic liftlines all day long. Solitude is the call.
P.S. A cute new mini mart just opened in BCC. Kickers Backcountry Market is the perfect place to grab a drink or coffee for the ride home. It’s filled with tasty snacks and pastries from Beverly Hill’s Cakes in Salt Lake City and the new owner, John, loves to chat so pop in and say hi. They also carry your mountain basics in case you forget something at home like your goggles, backpack, water, handwarmers, etc. Kickers is on the north side, just before the Silver Fork Lodge as you head down the Canyon.