Observations, and Freddie’s.

Posted by on Feb 16, 2009 in Ski, Wasatch | No Comments

Possibly my favorite way off the mountain and back to the chairlift at Sundance is Hill’s Headwall –> Freddie’s –> Last Chance. Today the skiing was soft (ish) and pillowy. Well, as much as it can be on runs that are cut up by a multitude of turns. But that is one of the reasons I like this particular chain of runs – they get skied less. They are tucked away at the far end of the boundary. Snowboarders have a hard time getting there because of the short cat track traverse. And anyway, it does not make for a good spot to sit down in a massive group and talk about shredding the mountain.

Which reminds me, I watched a boarder from the lift “ski” at least 400 yards down the hill…sideways. He never made a turn. Just skidded down the hill scraping the snow down the mountain as he went. He then settled gingerly into the pack of seals awaiting him at the bottom, where he sat down and no doubt, described shredding the mountain.

But I digress.

In fact, I skied the entire day with Keith who is a snowboarder. And he is good. He actually…turns. And he does it well. Nice, even, swoopy turns. He doesn’t hog crawl along cat tracks, and you rarely see him scoot around like a wounded elk. And although he may have felt an innate urge, he resisted ever joining the many sit-ins we witnessed. All that these pow wows were missing were drums and a group bong.


But, alas, I digress once again.

One of the first things I noticed when I skied this year, after nearly a decade away, was how many snowboarders there are now. At least 1 of every 3 people are boarders. And probably more than that, maybe like 1 of every 1.3, of the kids ages 13-19. When I last made turns, boarders were still an anomaly. Most resorts still hated them. Keith says he wants to buy Alta, and turn it into a “board only” resort. If he counts skis as boards, then I think that would be a great idea.

I’ve noticed a lot of other things. Helmets are cool on the slopes now. And so is plaid and faux denim. Skis have huge tips, get skinny in the middle, and then have huge tails. Oh, and the twin tip is all the rage. You know, so you can spin 360s on the groomers.

I must sound like an old man talking about how great the days of wood bindings and safety straps were.

But I actually like the new style of skis. And indeed, when I finally own a pair of my own, they are going to be gigantic. 108mm at the waist huge.

But back to Freddies. What a great little shot. Its short, but well worth the turns. On a big powder day you can launch into it, landing someplace far below the drop in, splash through the fluff, make a turn or two and end up laughing a snow covered laugh as you glide the cat to Last Chance. It really is one of my favorite spots on the mountain.

Much has changed. But Hill’s and Freddie’s are as good as I remember.

Here I am today, cutting the semi-soft powder on Freddie’s:

To finish off the day we booted up to the top of Marmot Gulch, which was once lift served. The run itself is an old Sundance classic. Steep, narrow, and more often than not an icy trap. At least as I remember it. But today it had untracked powder, which made our hike to get there all the better. It was an exhausting, fitting end to the day.


  1. StupidBike
    February 17, 2009

    Digressing, Snowboard, Hater

    I made pretty turns on my board all afternoon at the ‘Tude

  2. Keith
    February 17, 2009

    Having been a skier for year and many years ago was ‘converted’ to the truth, I know the real reason skiers don’t like boarders, they can’t do it. They lack the patience and fortitude to learn a new skill and so instead they mock and insult the single plankers like any other clique of teenage girls would. That being said, I too dislike hordes of boarders sitting on the run just as much as any skier does, almost as much as I detest the absurdly useless moguls created by the elitist skiers! Guess we all have are crosses to bear eh? I’m just happy to be out riding.

  3. Aaron
    February 17, 2009

    Looks like you still got it. Why didn’t you pack those up the other evening instead of the borrowed board?

  4. Grizzly Adam
    February 17, 2009

    Hey, if skiing were easy, they’d call it snowboarding!

    Aaron, those skis/boots are also borrowed.

    I believe you called boarding the ‘enlightenment’ today Keith. A restoration of the true gospel, an awakening. Sounds like a cult to me.

    To be honest, I think boarding looks sweet when the rider knows his stuff. (Bob, we ought to hook up before the snow melts) The one time I really rode, I liked it. Except for all the falling.

    And you are right. It is nice to be out on the hill. Or, as that random chick on the lift would say:

    “True dat”.

  5. Dave
    February 18, 2009

    ‘boarding makes sense when you see them riding steep funky snow.

    Lets not get started on waiting for the splitboarder to transition.

  6. Jill
    February 22, 2009

    The whole skier/snowboarder dynamic is why I got out of it altogether. I’m just now perfecting the art of downhill snowbiking.

    On a side note, I was a shredder (i.e. knuckle dragger, whatever) back in high school … Alta High School. I had a bumper sticker that said “Alta Sucks.” It was true on so many levels. 🙂

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