In honor of the 2013-2014 snowboarding/skiing season end, here is a recap of my last rip to Snowbird in Utah.
Late April is usually a time for dusting off the old lawn mower, making sure she still starts, and if you have a dog, venturing out into a land mine filled backyard. The air is fresh, plants are beginning to sprout, and most people can’t wait to bust out the grill. This April, however, I still had winter on my mind. You’d think with the season we’ve have had that I’d be more than satisfied at this point, but if anything I think it’s only made it worse. That being said, I just had to seek out some riding for the last week of April. Realizing that most resorts closed up around April 20th this year, Snowbird in Utah who generally runs lifts until Memorial Day Weekend, became my destination. I pictured warm days wearing few layers filled with laps on corn and slush. I was dead wrong.
As my fiancé and I sat in the airport waiting for our connecting flight, my eyes were glued to the weather on my phone. I had been checking all week and my excitement for the 1-3 inches I thought we were getting was soon replaced by my amazement at the 5-9 inches they were now calling for. Would we get one of those epic powder days that Snowbird is known for? It sure looked that way, and driving up the snowy pass to the mountain confirmed that winter had at least a few more tricks up her sleeve.
The next three days were filled with amazing conditions with over 2.5 feet of fresh snow in total. What started as decent snow with low visibility ended with one of the best powder days I’ve had this season, if not ever. Visibility was still tough, as it never stopped snowing the entire time, but the feeling of slashing turns in April and ending up with a face full of snow was more than enough to make up for it. And the crowds? Other than the morning that they were understaffed for avalanche control (who would think on April 28th?) the crowds were practically nonexistent. Limited terrain? Sure a few areas of the mountain were closed being this late in the season, but anyone who’s ridden Snowbird knows that there’s still about a hundred ways down from every area making it tough to take the same run twice. It wasn’t the ideal family place, with a lot of the green and blue runs shut down, but for the advanced to expert rider it was paradise. New snow gave you access to places you would have never thought of on a groomer day, and if you were creative enough you could still find plenty of fresh tracks even at the end of the day. It was the perfect way to end the season, and although the last run of the year always makes me a bit sad, as I unstrapped for the last time, still covered with snow and a permanent smile on my face I couldn’t be disappointed.
The point of my story wasn’t just to brag about my last epic adventure, but more to encourage others to keep seeking it out. While a late April powder day is a lot less likely than finding true spring conditions, it still can be a great way to cap off the season. Rates on lift tickets, lodging and even flights are down and the weather is often very mild. Resorts have bands and other events going on and it tends to be more of a “party” atmosphere. If you love riding, why not extend your season as long as possible. If you don’t live near an area still open, is it worth heading all the way out for just a few more turns? For me, it absolutely was. It was the perfect way to finish 6 great months riding, and now I know I only have another 6 months to go before it starts all over again.