My dad provides a useful synopsis at his blog. (How many 73-year-olds have their own blog? Probably about as many 70-year-olds decide it's time to learn to ski.) If you like looking at x-rays, you can't miss this. Give him a shout while you're there, ok?
One thing he fails to mention is that this tower of luggage took the first (but not last) biff of the trip. As Husband (in the rear) took it through the door of baggage claim, the entire thing went over in spectacular slow-mo. Thank goodness no small children were standing nearby. We laughed until we nearly peed.
In a nutshell, we LOVED Alta. What an amazing mountain. Some things we particularly liked:
- Insane snow. After a January in the Sierras that looked more like April (light cover, melting in the day and freezing at night to give a not lovely combination of ice and slush), we were stoked (haven't had reason to use that word in several decades) to find a healthy dump of fresh powder. The real stuff that you can actually ski through. What was really amazing is that it had not snowed in the Wasatch range in over two weeks before we arrived. It snowed the night we came in and the next two days. Both Husband and I had out the fat skis, and Husband got to officially launch his new Mother Ships.
I didn't ski down this (High Rustler), but Sophie and Husband did many times. Husband liked that Alta does not have lifts to all runs: You have to hike to some stuff. Whatever.
- No snowboarders. Alta is one of the nation's last holdouts on this, and God bless them for that (when an atheist makes that statement, it really means something). No cringing in fear when you hear that scrap in your blind spot. No stupid teenagers blocking the lift line while they text on their phones. No boarders who can't carve a turn shoving the snow down the mountain as they slide, leaving a scrubbed icy surface.
- A great lodge. Husband and I have been dreaming of staying at a ski in/ski out lodge for years. It was as wonderful as I always thought it would be. At the end of every day, I paused for a moment to gaze out over the parking lot and thought "How awesome is it that I am not getting in a car?" Very awesome. Goldminer's Daughter is not a fancy place. I knew we had found our place when I found a tripadvisor.com review that read "Many regular customers show up to breakfast and dinner in their pajamas. We found this quite offensive." Yeah! If I was running an on-mountain lodge I would require all guest to attend breakfast in their ski long undies and dinner in their jammies. Things were a little less casual at Goldminer's, but we were happy to be in a lodge where skiing was the focus. We didn't even mind that when our waiter listed "ice cream" as among the desserts he replied to our query of "what kind?" with "I dunno."
- Sandwich makings. We were shocked and amazed by the amount of money we saved by making sammies in our lodge room.
A good medical clinic, it turns out. Thank goodness there was one located in the same building as our lodge. Our third day was a very cold (below zero) sunny day with a perfect layer of fluff on the groomers. My dad was riping one right on my tail when he thinks his binding released on a turn and his leg slammed into the snow. He fractured his tibia, with damage into the knee socket. His orthopedist say regardless of how hideous it looks, it is fixable. He's scheduled for surgery Wednesday if the swelling has gone down enough. We expect him back on the slopes next year. On some new powder skis.
Amazingly enough, we all flew home on Wednesday as planned—although my parents and I from the hospital in Salt Lake and the rest from the mountain, with my parents flying home to southern California and Husband, Sophie, some friends, and I flying back to the bay area. After a quick few loads of laundry and a Trader Joe's shop, it was back up to Tahoe for Sophie's NASTC kids' ski camp.
She had a great three days with her instructor, Kemp Dowdy, an amazing young man with astounding kid knowledge, an irrepressible enthusiasm, and hair that stands up three inches on his head.
Sophie was the only kid in the class of six without a season pass or family ski house and with (as she noted) a homemade lunch, but it was a nice group of kids and she kept right up. They ripped up the entire mountain, forwards and backwards.
She's clearly lost me, and now even Husband is worried. At least they'll both come back to me for lunch.
BTW, several people have told me that bloglines has deleted me and is no longer sending notifications of my earth shattering blog posts. Any idea what to do about this? Is someone trying to tell me something??