Utah Ski Trip

After a wonderful Christmas Alex and I decided to hightail it off to Utah to take a ski trip just the two of us. It’s not too often that we take a trip other than to visit family or friends, with family or friends or to attend a wedding, so it was a real treat to spend this time together.

{Utah here we come!}
{Utah here we come!}

We flew out to Salt Lake City the morning of New Year’s Eve and after a few minor flight delays arrived at lunch time. The first day of our trip and a few days leading up to it were a bit odd. Logistics and details became more difficult than they should have. Long story short, we thought we reserved a hotel room at a hotel via booking.com but it turned out to be a vacation rental through either a private owner or a property management company – honestly we still aren’t even sure! It was such a mess and the owner/property managers were not experienced in dealing with renters which makes me shocked that we were able to get into the room at all.

{such a nice day for flying!}
{such a nice day for flying!}

On top of the lodging confusion, the specific car we reserved to rent was unavailable and we had to seriously upgrade {which ended up being okay because we got to drive a brand new SUV}; the restaurant we wanted to eat lunch at was closed for a health inspection; the lines at the state controlled liquor store were out the door; the truck with all of the produce going to Whole Foods broke down in Wyoming, so there was a complete shortage of food; and then the unit we reserved did not have heat or hot water the first night. There’s a lot of details I left out but what matters is that eventually we got heat and hot water and the place we stayed was beautiful, it just was a really weird, weird experience topped off with unmet expectations.

{exploring Park City}
{exploring Park City}

Our New Years Eve celebration was wonderful. We had a really fun, unique dinner at Fireside Dining, which is a fondue restaurant at Deer Valley. Our evening started with a horse drawn sleigh ride around the area. Mind you it was about 5 degrees below zero…


We quickly warmed up inside, as the restaurant boasts four open, wood-burning fireplaces, which is how the fondue is prepared and served. There are four stations – one raclette station where there is a block of cheese propped up next to the fire that literally drips down onto a plate that you take and fill with little dippers, like bread, pearl onions and potatoes.


Another station hosted soup where huge kettles of thick, hearty stews rested on the hearth of the fireplace to keep warm. These were so tasty! I had the wild mushroom stew and Alex had the hunter’s stew that was full of wild meats. The third fireplace had lamb legs cooking over it. I don’t usually care for lamb, but this was delicious!


Finally, the fourth fireplace was home to dessert! There were three different pots – chocolate, white chocolate and caramel – then you got to choose from a sampling of desserts, like pound cake and strawberries, to dip into the yummy sauce.


We shared a bottle of prosecco, lots of memories from the year that was coming to an end, and great conversation about what our hopes for the year approaching might be. We both agreed that the years just keep getting better and better and that 2015 is going to be full of new memories.


New Years Day meant that it was time to strap our skis to our feet and hit the slopes! Our first of three ski days was at Snowbird, which we had been to previously. Snowbird is amazing and we were so excited to be back. Utah is known for its blue skies and champagne powder. We only experienced the blue skies during our trip, but it sure beats skiing in the gloom Washington has to offer. We missed the big powder fest by a few days, though we did find a few secret powder stashes in the trees.


We rocked around the mountain all day, mainly sticking on the Peruvian Express, since the north facing slope seemed to boast the best snow. I was wishing we could have spent more time back in Mineral Basin where it is completely wide open, full of bowls and beauty, but the snow was really firm and crusty there.


All in all, it was a great first ski day of the new year!

{Our stats from all but the first two runs at Snowbird - we forgot to download the tracking app!}
{Our stats from all but the first two runs at Snowbird – we forgot to download the tracking app!}

Our second ski day was spent at Alta, which is right next door to Snowbird – you can ski between the two mountains. Together, they have 4,700 skiable acres, but on their own, they are both smaller than our home mountain, Crystal Mountain Resort. We had not been to Alta before but had the preconceived expectations of it being an old-school resort without any glam. That definitely was true, but it had some nice updated technology features, like RFID passes, and a new lodge.


The runs were longer than we expected and we had a really fun time exploring some bowls and the trees. I spent most of the time “in the lead” which is unusual for me – usually I am the caboose because I am slow and can wrangle any stragglers – but Alex said I am more adventurous in new terrain, which was also news to me. I had a lot of fun hopping all over the mountain, ducking into the trees and trying to keep us out of the deep mogul ruts.


Unfortunately our day at Alta was cut a little short, though. I had been having some issues with my helmet for quite a while, but the last straw finally broke and my head couldn’t take being in my helmet for another second, so we called it a day when my head was screaming, and headed home early. The silver lining that day; however, came when I got a call from my boss informing me that I got a raise!

{After the final straw I finally got a new helmet and all my cares are to the wind. Here is my new helmet!}
{After the final straw I finally got a new helmet and all my cares are to the wind. Here is my new helmet!}

Since we got back to our “hotel room” a little earlier than we had expected we decided to do some Apres skiing and celebrate my exciting news. There’s really no better place to celebrate such a thing when you’re in Park City than at the one and only St. Regis in Deer Valley. When in Rome…


We set out for the St. Regis Bar and had such a lovely night. We parked in the Deer Valley parking lot and had to take a funicular, think slow motion roller coaster, up to the hotel. We timed it perfectly because we had to put our name on the list for a table which allowed us a little while to wander the beautiful hotel. Boy were we glad we had some extra time when we stumbled upon the most impressive hot cocoa bar you could imagine!


Each of these beautiful hammered copper urns contained homemade hot chocolate, really probably the best I’ve ever had, and then there was another table with copper bowls filled with toppings, like marshmallows, fresh whipped cream and chocolate shavings. You better believe we indulged!


We had just enough time to enjoy our hot cocoa outside by the fire before we got called to sit down in the bar. Our experience at the St. Regis Bar was wonderful. Our beverages were fantastic! While we appreciate a good drink, neither one of us is much of a cocktail snob, but these drinks were incredible. Alex ordered a Moscow Mule and I ordered a Winter’s Dream, which was hot chocolate, Irish cream and amaretto {the key ingredient!} and they were out of this world. To go along with our drinks we decided to order fondue since it had been two whole days since we’d eaten it…


The evening was topped off by a champagne sabering ceremony. Yes you read that right. One of the staff at the restaurant literally sabered off the top of a champagne bottle {yes, with a sword} under the almost full moon and treated all of the diners to a complimentary glass of bubbly. It was a great celebration!

Our final ski day was at Snowbasin, another resort we had not been to previously. We started the day rather early, as we drove into Ogden to buy me a new ski helmet. We timed it just right and as we pulled into the parking lot of the resort, the snow started to fall. We were eager with anticipation, as some of our friends had been to Snowbasin before and alerted us to the expansive resort that it is, plus, the icing on the cake that comes in the form of incredible lodges.


We were blown away by how stunning the lodges at Snowbasin are. They all have a log facade, multiple chandeliers, and wood-burning fireplaces. We really lucked out, too, because it seems like everyone who goes to Snowbasin sticks to the beginner trails, so we felt like we had the mountain all to ourselves. As if that wasn’t enough, the food was exceptional. I had chili for lunch and it was absolutely fantastic.


It was so fun to be able to ski at three completely different resorts. Snowbasin was so huge and open, with all kinds of wild, unkempt terrain, and extremely long runs. Alta was really old-school and had a lot of challenging terrain and odd fall-lines, but was really hard to navigate. Snowbird was wide-open and full of fast groomers and powder pockets, and we felt like it was laid out exceptionally well. We really hope to get the opportunity to come back to the Park City/Cottonwood Canyon area again soon!

{Our most impressive stats! 18,500 vertical feet in 8 runs... no wonder why we're still tired!}
{Our most impressive stats! 18,500 vertical feet in 8 runs… no wonder why we’re still tired!}

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