"Better late than never" is the mantra skiers live by, one to wax your skis on. After weeks of irrepressible and unwanted sunshine, late season snow storms have blown in from the Arctic, blanketing a few lucky ski resorts with the driest, creamiest powder snow you ever fell asleep thinking about.
I felt lucky to be there catching the flakes as they drifted down on the trails and glades at Deer Valley Resort, Park City Mountain and The Canyons, the three ski areas that cluster close in the mountains behind Park City, Utah. For six heavenly days, we -- the Cooke family skiers -- abandoned all thought of tasks at home and gave way to the freedom of soaring down silky-smooth, velvet snow. Leaning left and leaning right through every curve and loop -- like the slalom racer I'm sure I was born to be -- my skis seemed airborne, like twin eagles swooping over the trees. What better time, then, to pull out the video-cam and record the growling ssshhhhh of the wind and tilt of the hill.
On our first day we skied in powder. To tell the truth, they flew, I floundered, an urgent reminder to renew my gym membership. But after the snow groomers did their nighttime magic, skiing those slopes was as easy as frosting a cake, a simple matter of gliding off the top and down the sides. From blue trails to black and back to blue, we went from lift to lift and one slope to the next.
Each day the sun gleamed through amorphous clouds, thin enough to admit daylight but very little heat, keeping the temperature just above freezing. No slush, and no ice; this was not spring skiing. The icy places I remembered from my last visit, three years ago, could have passed for the way the red carpet must to an Oscar winner as he/she heads for the stage. Flurries and floaters fell each evening, topping up the slopes, a tall drink of water after weeks of thirst.
At Deer Valley, we treated ourselves to groomed corduroy. At The Canyons, where 300 acres on Iron Mountain opened up last year, the peak-to-peak route and new total of 4,000 skiable acres invited comparison with skiing in the Alps. At Park City Mountain Resort, where the terrain shifts and shades from steeps and glades to mini-ridges and hilly curves, it was so good I fell in love all over again. If you're in love -- with skiing, that is -- embrace the moment. See you on the lifts.