Going deep on New Year’s Day
We’re all Aspen fans around here, but over the New Year’s weekend, Utah’s Wasatch Range was the place to ski.On Friday night, New Year’s Eve, it dumped practically from dusk to dawn, leaving the entire range bathed in lustrous white. For those who resisted the temptation to drink themselves blind on 3.2 Utah beerwater, the next morning was one helluva powder day.For all its charms, Aspen had just 3 inches of new snow over the weekend, while Park City reported 19 inches in 24 hours as of Saturday morning (for some reason, the storm decided to veer away from Aspen altogether).Utah resorts are reporting 50 inches over the last week, and Alta has more than 100 inches at midmountain. But back to New Year’s morning.When the lifts cranked up in Park City at 8:30 a.m., there were just a few dozen cars in the lot. And despite Park City Mountain Resort’s arsenal of high-speed six-packs, skiers were slow to spread across the mountain. The uncut Utah fluff was anywhere from boot-deep to thigh-deep, depending on altitude, aspect and all the rest.Howls were heard from seemingly every chair and every hidden glade. Skiers cheered each other from the lift, and crowed “Hap-py New Yearrr!” when someone cut a particularly nice series of turns. It was the perfect way to begin the new year, and everybody on the hill was euphoric.I rode the chair with some guy from Tuscaloosa, Ala., who couldn’t roust his buddies out of bed but drove to the hill by himself. “Hell, this is what I came for. I can sleep later.”We skied nonstop from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m., but by that time most of the snow had been cut, and the lines were getting long. We’d decided to head home to family when we noticed that, after a morning of constant bombing, Jupiter Bowl was open. We tucked all the way down the access road, and joined the smiling mob at the base of Park City’s best double-diamond terrain.We only had time for one more run. We agonized over which run, which line, the best snow, but we needn’t have worried. It was 1,000 vertical feet of pure, new-fallen delight, and we got mouthfuls of snow on nearly every turn.Should be a good 2005.
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In 1895, the fad sweeping Aspen for women was to dye their hair red.