Alta Ski Area, Alta, Utah 2 March 2001

My father and I made the decision in late 2000 that we would begin an annual
tradition - "Father and son ski bonding time".  For this year we chose Alta for
many reasons - we both had not yet been to Utah plus the many recommendations of
friends.  The trip was nearly ruined by the "Rattle in Seattle" but, alas, I was
able to make it to Utah (albeit 6 hours late).

Having spent the prior evening checking out the area (our hotel is a mere 14
miles from Alta), we awoke this morning anxious and excited.  The weather was
glorious - bluebird skies, 50 degree valley temps, light winds, 15-20 degree
area temps.  Because Alta does not open until 9:15 we waited to leave until 8:00
and were able to score a great parking space.

We decided to take it easy on our first morning due to the altitude and spent
the morning on the Sunnyside lift.  Lines were relatively short and the ride
quick.  Our first two runs were made on groomers and we then decided to try the
snowfield on Blue Bell.  This proved to be unwise as the chunks made the run
arduous.  We smartened up, however, and did what Vermonters do best - head for
dem trees!  Off the Sunnyside lift we saw some unnamed woods (now called the Bly
Woods) and ventured forthwith.  The snow in the woods consisted of spots of very
nice, untracked powder (about 3-6 inches) and tracked up spots.  At the steeper
spots, we incorporated good ol' Vermont jump turns to blast through some of the
crud.  On the lower portions we were rewarded with sweet, dry powder.  Although
the run was short we had a blast ripping through the dry stuff.  Needless to
say, we tired easily at the 9,000 foot level and were quick to make fun of our

We decided to grab lunch at noon on the Albion Grill Deck.  It was such a warm,
sunny day how could we not?  For lunch, my father put on a show ski food fixin'
that put all of us CVUers to shame.  I stepped up for the hot pastrami and Dad
went for the chicken breast sandwich.  While I waited for our fries, Dad went
over to the fixings bar and prepared a masterpiece.  I cannot say for certain
what all was put on that bad boy but it tasted good.  I thought he had some
barbeque sauce of some sort but it turns out he did something with salad
dressing.  Too bad we didn't have a video.  The highlight of our lunch was
helping a woman track down her husband by yelling his name real loud once she
saw him.  "You can take the boys out of Vermont, but you can't take Vermont out
of the boys..."

After lunch we headed to the summit (10,550 feet) and the base of Mt. Baldy
(11,068 feet).  We had a bit of fun in the Glory Hole but didn't have so much
luck trying to get to Devil's Castle.  It looks like we will have to do some
hiking to get to that.  So we headed over to Supreme chair for some runs.  To
round out our day we headed into the Bly Woods (it seemed that no one but us hit
'em all day!) and then headed home.

A great first day at Alta.  We were both blown away by the vastness of the area
and the beauty of the mountains.  We have also been very impressed by how nice
everyone in Utah has been.  We're looking forward to tomorrow!