Editor’s note: Some adventures climb Everest or float down a river with no name. Matt LaPlante is boarding all of Utah’s resorts in ONE WEEK.
Why? Because they’re there. He’ll blog his adventure on SLmag and we’ll print the entire epic journey in a Salt Lake magazine to come.
Jan. 31 will mark one year since I hit the tree.
After the surgery, the doctor told me it might take up to a year for my leg to heal. I didn’t believe him then, but here we are, just shy of that mark, and I’m still limping a bit.
I’m also skiing and snowboarding, though — just as he promised I would. I might not be back to my old self — and I may never be — but I’m at peace with that. I was lucky, after all. Really lucky. (I was reminded of that once again on Monday when a snowboarder from Millcreek died after striking a tree at Brighton.)
Even before the accident, I’d been dreaming about this project. I’d heard about the Ski Utah Interconnect Tour, which puts backcountry tourers in as many as six different resort areas in a day. I’d also read Ray Grass’ 2009 account of having made 15 runs on 13 resorts in a day — a feat that started at 4:30 a.m. at Brian Head and ended at 8:30 p.m. at Beaver Mountain.
But I didn’t just want to set a plank down at each ski area. I wanted to have a meaningful experience at every resort in Utah. I wanted to hit the best runs, eat the best grub, drink a few beers, meet a few characters, and worship at every alter we’ve built to the Greatest Snow on Earth. At the very least, I figured, that would require a solid half day at every locale.
I also wanted to build a realistic itinerary for others who might like to take a trip like this. Lots of people have now heard about Utah’s “Mighty Five” national parks, and fly into our state to do the lot of them in a week. I wanted to introduce them to our state’s “Fearsome
Fourteen” ski resorts, and offer a guide for hitting them all.
I’ll get underway Sunday morning in Park City, alongside fellow powderhounds Jared “JJ” Jones and Erik “Swede” Price. We’ll finish up at Brian Head the following Saturday. At each stop along the way, we’ll connect with a resort rep, make some turns with a local skier or boarder, and discover the things that make each ski area special.
We’ll be blogging about each stop here at saltlakemagazine.com, and every day we’ll post a couple short videos and update our progress on Twitter.
Pray for snow.
Matthew D. LaPlante is a journalist and author from Salt Lake City. He has written about ritual infanticide in Ethiopia, gang warfare in El Salvador, the legacy of genocide in Cambodia and the deaths of U.S. soldiers in Iraq – all of which is why he relishes opportunities to write about snowboarding in the Mountain West.