My New Favorite Color is White: The Story of a Snow Convert in Utah

Hi, I’m Andrea. I was born a Texan, and well, I was a Texan for 21 years of my life. Then a Bostonian for four years, a New Yorker for eight months, and a Miamian for three years. Now, I’m a Utahn and have been so for the past five years of my life. I can officially say I call Utah home. However, the transition to Utah from the sunny beaches of Miami, the big city of New York and Boston and the flat lands of Texas have been a bit of an adjustment.

Before I moved to Utah, I had only seen “real” snow twice in my life. Once in Minnesota and once in Colorado. (Kind of expected). And yes, I mean “real” snow in quotes. Not the ”ish” flurries that fall when it is a tad chilly out and the clouds are crying because it is winter. I mean, the inches that blanket landscapes in sparkling crystals of white.

Except for maybe a 3 day vacation, I’d never seen nor experienced the magical winter wonderlands that all the Christmas songs serenade us with during the holidays. But in January 2013, I became a resident of the state of Utah and experienced my first winter the moment I stepped off the plane. I haven’t looked back since.

I’d heard about the snow in Utah. It’s reported to have some of the best skiing in the world and some of the best powder in the U.S. There really is an abundance of skiable snow just minutes from the airport. From my own house, I can drive to six different ski resorts in just around 30 minutes. 

Here’s the catch, I had only been on snow in that winter-sporty way we are speaking of twice before moving to Utah. I had tumbled down a hill in Minnesota and well, tumbled down some larger hills in Colorado. Mountain 103. Andrea 0. I began my snowy journey on a snowboard, but I was for sure no Shawn White or Chloe Kim. I, on the other hand, took the “goofy” stance to heart and more-or-less merely survived my way down the hills.

However, when I arrived in Utah everyone I knew…was a skier. So not only was I years behind every other powder hound on the mountain, I was now starting from scratch again because not only were they all skiers, they loved playing at Alta. Alta, along with Deer Valley, do not allow snowboarders. (My condolences to all you monoplankers, it seems you only get to take advantage of 12 of the 14 resorts in the state.)

I’m an adventurer at heart. This was not going to stop me. Here’s the thing. I love the snow. I love the cold. And I love the outdoors. Even though Texas is where I spent most of my youth, I believe my soul was born somewhere among higher elevations and chilly temps. I very quickly strapped on a pair of skis, took ski lessons through Alta’s Ski Local special and actually found that my body likes skiing better. (I don’t mind being a two planker.) The mountain and I shook hands and made a truce. This would be a healthier relationship from here on out.

I learned quickly—as does anyone who moves to Utah—everyone plays outdoors regardless of season. You learn to fall in love with every inch of landscape the state has to offer. Within one season I went from the bunny hill to a few blues here and there and by year two I had a season pass, my own gear and actually went down a Black Diamond. I remember the moment exactly. I got off the chairlift at the top of Sugarloaf at Alta and a friend asked, “Where shall we go.” To which I quickly replied, “Down.” And down I went. It may have looked more like one of Lindsay Vonn’s bad days, but I went down it. In two years I was skiing blacks and inching my way through double black diamonds and even moguls and a few trees.

5 years later, I have now skied almost every ski resort in Utah. My favorites are Snowbasin for its wide open long runs, Brighton for its fun Mario Kart like trees, Snowbird for its winding crevices around Peruvian, and of course Alta because it has so such amazing history. But don’t take my word for it, we all have our own favorite ski resorts in Utah.

I know I have a few more resorts to hit up here in Utah, but once you’ve been bitten by the powder bug, you crave new exciting terrain. I’ve played a few more times, with much more success, on the mountains of our neighboring Colorado. But I’ve also got some crazy wanderlust. The obvious would be to hop on a jet and make my way over to Europe and wind my way down the quintessential Switzerland Alps, but after watching the Olympics in South Korea, I’ve been inspired to hit up Asia. I never knew this, but Japan has over 500 ski resorts. Say what?! How am I ever going to pick?

But, first things first. This ski bum is going to go grab a frosty for après-ski and wait out the red dragon that is carving it’s way down Little Cottonwood Canyon.

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