With so many neglected skis gathering dust in closets, there's bound to be treasure out there for the one who searches in the right places. To this minority, I applaud. While the snow snobs keep sighing over lack of snow, your skis, dripping from melted snow in the back of your truck, have just enjoyed a day of secret stashes. This is the story of how I found mine:
I was running on about two hours of sleep after baking all night for a Sugared Magnolia order when I was asked to go skiing at Solitude Mountain Resort. I didn't think I would have the energy needed to keep up with my own skis, let alone those of my friends. But, already missing the cold mountain air I had been in this past weekend, I complied and hoped for the best.
Since I was ice climbing in Colorado during the last snow storm, it completely escaped my mind that a new layer of white had fallen on the Utah mountains and patches of it still hung around off trail- my favorite area anyway. I was expecting more icy conditions upon my return to Solitude, but was surprised by how soft even the base layer was. No, these were not pristine conditions that begged for my powder skis, but my trusty rock skis could maneuver between the occasional exposed hard spot and the soft snow that was plentiful off-piste. And when I was funneled back to the trail from my wanderings in the ungroomed, I found no occasion for keeping a wary eye- the runs were clear of obstacles so I was free to make the wide, arcing turns that are the beauty of groomers.
Now, dear reader, you get a bonus for joining me on my search for snow. I'm about to divulge what another skier should never share. If you want the good stuff, head up the Summit lift and stay left off the top. Enjoy a few hits of powder there (I got about four turns of untracked goodness) and then continue on down to the Headwall Forest. Inside this magical place the trees have dutifully protected the soft snow below. You'll find each turn as good as mid-winter (in a normal year) and lots of powder pockets between the trees. As you exit, take note of the smile on your face. You're welcome.
Don't think I've given away my best secret, though! You gotta do some exploring yourself. There is one other area off the Summit chair that will make you feel as though you've hit gold... just follow a traverse. That's all I'm going to say.
Skiing may be the last thing on people's minds but the diligent seeker shall find, and find well. So dust off the skis, my friends. There's goods to be had.