I’m going to be bold and call it a powder day at Solitude Saturday. It wasn’t epic in the way Utah prides itself but we take what we can get right now. Plus, were it not for International Women’s Ski Day I might have stayed in bed bemoaning the weather and missed it. Instead I rallied to join a large group of women celebrating our sport in unison with about 50 other ski areas across the country and Canada.
K2’s Women’s Team ‘invented’ IWSD to give women an excuse to ski together and SheJumps– a non-profit created to get girls (and women) out recreating- helped bring the 2nd annual event to Solitude and raise awareness for their programs. And while offering half-price lift tickets, free beer and hotdogs, and a raffle is no small gesture, the fresh snow landing all around would have been incentive enough.
There were women of all ages, wearing plastic leis and ‘bombing’ off Eagle Express. The concept of women’s ski groups isn’t new. Alta has had a Ski with the Girls day every Tuesday for years. This is not some dainty intermediate rendezvous. Ripping chicks meet at Watson Shelter at 9:30 a.m. and they crush it. Unfortunately, I’m always too late to join in so I considered the possibility now of finding my next ski buddy as I drove up Big Cottonwood Canyon for the 11 a.m. start.-a much more doable time. Oh, the irony when I wound up skiing with a group of boys. They were first-year instructors at Deer Valley. I thought it was strange to see so many over here but then I remembered Deer Valley bought Solitude. Apparently employees can ski here one day a week. There have been hints that once keys officially change hands in May the number of days will go up for 2015/16. Talk about your sick employee benefits.
The Cottonwoods are a foreign land to most DV skiers and it was pretty funny hearing them all whine about their sore calves and thighs and how they don’t know how to ski “this stuff.” This ‘stuff’ was ungroomed territory. The light storm hampered visibility but softened the places that froze overnight so it was fairly fluffy everywhere. There was a surprising amount of terrain open including runs off Summit and Powderhorn (no Honeycomb yet). Warning signs everywhere cautioned the thin cover but by looking ahead and turning gingerly in the funnels I was able to avoid a trip to the tuners. The boys, on the other hand, charged hard and grinded through rocks and stumps, tumbling often. They’re young and, as one of them put it, “I haven’t been injured yet so I guess I’m not afraid.”
We finished out the day roasting dogs and toasting Epic Brewing’s beer by the bonfire. SheJumps hosted an annual event that can’t help but grow followers. Can’t wait to see more ladies (and Deer Valley instructors) on the hill this season.