I spent last weekend at a hut up in Summit County called Polar Star Inn. I had been pretty frustrated with my boarding out there; my turns didn't quite feel strong enough or aesthetic enough or SOMETHING. A worm crawled into my head: had I been spending too much time on rocks and not enough skiing this winter, subsequently losing my amazing, sensual, wondrous boarding skills?
Jenn and I went to Seven Utes down in Cameron Pass today. Seven Utes is my backcountry home. That record-setting winter two years ago saw me down there nearly every weekend for two months, sometimes twice a week. It has a gorgeous long approach, beautifully spaced trees, varied terrain, fluffy pillows, and, when conditions are right, terrifically long and open runs besides. We got in three different runs on three different aspects out there today and quelled any worries I may have had about my boarding.
The following is a breathless excerpt from a 21st century love letter.
So after our weekend in summit county, I was really scared I lost my snowboarding groove and just wasn't good anymore. I can now definitively say that is not the case -- still awesome! Threw down three great lines today, first one was through the stellar utes trees, the second was a long one from the top that started in the highest trees on the mountain, had a highpoint of me going over a cliff in the middle (soooo fun. just imagine all my hoopin' and hollerin' :D), which gave me so much speed that my next turn was a total white-out face shot... and then fun times through a steep open area, steering clear of the terrain trap along the way and playing over pillows. Third run was the gully that's usually got too much snow to be safe, but instead was a terrific little natural steep half pipe, perfectly set up for some really great, long, classy turns. I just realized, I left out: the snow was deeeeep (hence cliff band hopping-- have I mentioned how great I am at this snowboarding stuff?)
I'm still not sure what got me down last weekend. Was it the ten-thousand calorie approach? The hip-deep powder on twenty degree slopes? Dunno. But, the steep, deep, technical runs at Utes welcomed me back home with clear skies, warm weather and cherished memories.
It was nice to see you too, mountain.