It’s 15 minutes to Payday, and we’re bouncing around like kids on Christmas morning.
This is ski day 44 for me this season. Doesn’t matter. Every time I strap on my board, I’m giddy. JJ and Swede clearly feel the same way. There are plenty of good reasons to live in Utah, but this is Reason 1.
We’re not off the lift for 30 seconds when I learn that Heather Fielding-Owen, who will be touring us around Park City today, is just like us.
Heather has been skiing this mountain for nearly 20 years. She knows every inch, every turn, every amazing powder stash — and there are plenty of those on this 7,300-skiable-acre resort — but that doesn’t stop her from peeling off this groomer the first chance she gets for a little side action.
And she whoops. Two seconds of powder and she’s whooping.
I love this lady already.
Make no mistake: Heather isn’t content with dipping her toes in the powder. We’re en route one of her favorite steep and deep runs into McConkey’s Bowl, and as the tips of her skis hover over the cornice, her face lights up. “Ready to for this?” she asks.
It’s less of a question than a statement. Before I can answer, she’s on her way. Whooping again. And I can’t help but whoop along.
The snow in this bowl is deep and forgiving. I swear I could loop this run all day — just this run again and again and again. But there’s more to see. So much more. Park City was a good-sized resort before it added Canyons a few years ago. Now, it’s almost inconceivably big. In a half-day here we cover 21 miles — through more powder runs and storybook glades and groomers that take you right into heart of the city — and we’ve barely scratched the surface.
It’s a Sunday morning. It’s a powder day. And it feels like we’ve got this place to ourselves. That’s not at all the case, of course. We know from the all the cars in the lot and all the skiers on the lifts that there are plenty of other people here. But with this much space? “It’s like your personal playground,” Heather says.
I’ll whoop to that.
Next stop: Deer Valley
Matthew D. LaPlante is skiing and boarding all of Utah’s 14 skis resorts — in seven days— with fellow powderhounds Jared “JJ” Jones and Erik “Swede” Price. Follow their trip on Twitter: @SkiAllOfUtah.