Colorado Hotels & Lodging Mountain Living Skiing & Snowboarding Telluride Utah: Alta closing days Easter KOTO street dance Mountain Collective Smith ChromaPops Snowbird spring skiing Sunrise Service Telluride
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Let me see here. Hmmm. I feel like I’ve forgotten how to write.
Although I’ve had mountains of stories crafted in my head these past months, I have not been able to sit down and write them. I’ve either been too tired or just too busy skiing–both for work and pleasure. (The former being a product of the latter of course.) And as much as I miraculously remained fairly healthy throughout much of the season, I was slammed with a horrific cold at the end of March, which turned into a sinus problem that’s been hard to shake. Ugh.
But here I am now, slowly but surely transitioning into my writer’s life. I hate to make promises, although now that I’ve put my skis away, you should be hearing much more from me in the coming months.
It was a super season here in Telluride topped off with a fun-filled closing weekend made even more merry by the visit of a dear friend, Margie, from Scottsdale. The snow gods blessed Telluride with a spectacular snowfall the last week of the season, so we closed with a base of mid-winter proportions. Sigh. I suppose all good things have to come to an end. Thank goodness Telluride Ski Resort and KOTO Radio know how to throw great parties to mark the end of the ski season. No matter how you look at it, we went out with a bang!
After having logged a lot of much needed couch time–yes, there’s always a big accumulation of fatigue by the end of the ski season–I was thrilled to go on one last hurrah in Utah with my boyfriend, Steve. We always enjoy skiing at other resorts once Telluride closes and this time we decided to travel far–beyond our usual Aspen and Vail visits–to meet up with my brother Frank and some of his old friends in Snowbird. It’s a six-hour drive from Telluride but boy, is it worth it.
Plus, Snowbird and Alta were a part of The Mountain Collective Pass this year, which allowed us to ski at a 50% discount. (Find out more about this pass and Telluride’s participation in it by clicking here. It appears to be a huge success because I met many snow sports enthusiasts this season that were taking advantage of it and they loved it! You may want to plan on signing up for it next year.)
I had been to Snowbird in April once before and wrote about it at Spring Skiing at Snowbird. I loved it then, however, I felt even more impressed by this terrific ski destination this time, perhaps because we skied over to neighboring Alta one day as well. Cruising from one big resort to the other added to the overall European feel of the ski experience here. Snowbird’s vast, above treeline terrain and awe-inspiring views particularly reminded me of the Alps. My guy and I both loved the spring skiing in south-facing Mineral Basin at Snowbird (once the day warmed up of course). And then I swooned over the more forested and protected trails in Alta.
Either way, make sure you come equipped with superior quality goggles–you’ll need every bit of sun protection, especially for spring skiing. I was sporting brand new Smith ChromaPops and still it felt bright, bright, bright. Next time I’ll bring a darker lens! Keep in mind that Snowbird skis well up through Memorial Day, so you definitely need to be properly outfitted for sunshine-y weather in your clothing and accessories. With well over five hundred inches of snow so far this year, they will likely stay open until Fourth of July this year, at least on the weekends.
Alta, one of the oldest ski areas in America, closed for the season on Sunday. It opened its first lift in 1939 and thankfully remains steeped in tradition and local color–no big business approach here. (It’s also one of the few ski destinations in the U.S. that still doesn’t allow snowboarding!) Local flavor on closing day felt as hot and spicy as an Italian sausage fresh off the grill. Like most ski resorts, crazy costumes, bright hues and lots of partying dictated the day, however, at Alta, the last chapter of the closing fiesta consisted of a well dialed in tailgate party by die-hard skiers instead of a big hoopla put on by the resort. Folks rocked on to a band perched on a trailer but other than that, it was a come one/come all free for all that endeared our group even more to this beloved ski area. (Note that Alta is more of a ski area than a ski resort, which is largely why it has retained so much of its authenticity.) And yes, there were plenty of sizzling hot Italian sausages thrown onto people’s grills. With the ease of flying into Salt Lake City from around the U.S., true skiers might want to make this weekend an annual event or even just something to experience at least once in your life.
Since Easter came late this year, we were doubly blessed. We were also able to partake in the Sunrise Easter service at Snowbird, a happening that brought me to tears. You’ll likely have to wake up at 5am to be at the tram in time, but it’s worth it. Then afterward you can relish tea, coffee and treats at The Summit, Snowbird’s newly constructed main lodge on top of the mountain, a winner on all counts. (The conviviality of this early-morning outing rivaled communing with a bunch of skiers on a cold winter’s day. Folks were there for the spiritual experience, the moving moments they enjoyed both from nature, the reverend’s words, the music and the love felt among all.)
Ahhh, the mountains. It’s so hard to say goodbye to them at the end of the ski season. Thank goodness there’s summer and the mountain activities at Telluride, Snowbird, Alta and most other resorts offer many possibilities for enchantment as well.
Click through to their sites to begin planning your summer travels now. There’s nothing like fun times in the Rocky Mountains, winter, spring, summer and fall.
For more about my impressions of Snowbird, read Spring Skiing at Snowbird. There, too, you’ll find a wonderful dining recommendation. This time we weren’t so lucky with our meals. We had high hopes for the Oyster Bar but felt that the price/quality relationship was poor. You might want to give it a try, perhaps just for a drink and some apps, and maybe you’ll have better luck. It does, however, have a good reputation and we enjoyed the ambiance.
We had a super positive experience at the Hyatt Place Salt Lake City/Cottonwood, about a twenty-minute drive from the slopes. Built about five years ago, we found it to be fresh, totally up-to-date and even a bit hipster. Service-wise, it rocked. It’s hard to believe these types of hotels are considered to be reduced service establishments; the staff went out of its way to please us–one of the breakfast attendants even darted out one day to buy some gluten free bread for me for breakfast. Definitely book a stay here!