She had a shock of gray hair peeking out from her helmet, and I pegged her as someone who might have been skiing at Snowbird for a long time.
“Excuse me m’am,” I said as I approached her at the base of the Gadzoom lift. “My buddies and I are looking for someone to interview about Snowbird. Do you think we could ask you some questions and maybe take a run or two with you?”
Andrea looked me up and down.
“Sure,” she said with a smirk, “if you can keep up.”
Aw, I thought to myself, what a funny old lady.
The next hour of my life is bit of a blur. Keep up? I could hardly keep this woman in my line of sight.
Andrea and her husband Jeff, along with their friend, Dave, took us on a tour of steep-and-deep stashes they know like a policeman knows his precinct. Every pocket. Every turn. Every tree.
“You’re going to come down, then up, right here, and you need to keep your speed and aim for the second tree you see,” Jeff explained as we ducked into a clearing in the Black Forest. “Make sure you turn in front of that tree.”
The exactness of his instructions made sense once I came up over the tree and into a funnel of untouched powder. “See,” he said, “it was just waiting here for us.”
A little background helps explain this trio’s every-snow-covered-inch knowledge of this 2,500-acre resort. Andrea tells me she and her husband first came here three decades ago, “and we got five feet of snow in four days, and we have never looked back,” she says. They’ve been skiing here ever since — 80 to 100 days a year.
Eighty to one hundreds days a year.
Yeah, I’m done making assumptions about what that shock of gray hair indicates. Clearly it means nothing at all. Still, I had to ask: “Don’t you get tired?”
“My legs are exhausted every day,” Andrea told me. “But that’s OK. You get up and go again the next day.”
Along the way, she said, “you get to meet all sorts of interesting people.”
“Yeah,” I said, “and then leave them in your dust.”
“Well,” she laughs, “I did warn you.”
That she did.
Matthew D. LaPlante skied or snowboarded at all of Utah’s 14 ski resorts—in seven days—with fellow powderhounds Jared “JJ” Jones and Erik “Swede” Price. Follow their trip on Twitter: @SkiAllOfUtah.