We didn’t have “snow days” in California. That, of course, would have required something resembling snow. As a kid growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, though, I had heard tales of days in which school would miraculously be cancelled and the entire world would turn into a snow-covered playground.
When I moved to Utah in my 20s, and my wife took a job teaching at an elementary school in the south Salt Lake Valley, I suspected I might finally see a real snow day, and always figured that I’d call in sick to work that day so my spouse and I could live out childhood dreams of snowball fights, sled races and something called “hooky bobbing,” which seemed both dangerous and delightful.
Alas, it turns out that in Utah, they don’t have snow days either. Not much, anyway. Utahns, after all, have snow plowing down to a science. And while big storms can slow down a morning commute, they rarely play havoc with school schedules. Sorry kids.
Logan has stood as something of an exception this season. Its plow crews are top-notch, but their town has been simply dumped on over the past month and a half, and there’s only so much you can do to push the snow around before there’s simply no place left to push it. The northern Utah town has seen multiple snow days. And when another was called on Monday, not only there but across the rest of Cache County as well, Cherry Peak was ready.
And it was just like I’d imagined it would be. There were snowball fights. There were sled races — well, snowtube races (which I won, although JJ will tell you otherwise.) Alas, there was no hooky bobbing, but there was plenty of skiing and boarding, on a mountain with a diverse topography including plenty of wide-open runs, tree-lined gullies and charmingly traversable scrub oak patches.
I’m used to seeing some kids at every ski resort I visit, but this was like a whole other world. There were kids everywhere. Like Lord of the Flies, but will less “will to power” and more “will to powder.” (And there was plenty of that — it had been snowing all day and didn’t stop the entire time we were there.)
The combination of the Cache County snow day, nearly a foot of new snow on the mountain, some recent ticket promotions, and the closure of Logan Canyon, cutting off access to Beaver Mountain, meant Cherry Peak had its bestMonday ever.
And it didn’t feel crowded. We slid onto every lift. There were plenty of seats in the lodge, even by the beautiful fireplaces. There didn’t seem to be much of a wait for food or gears rentals.
And the way Dustin Hansen sees it, those are all good signs for a resort that is only in its second season of operation.
“One indicator of success is how you deal with unexpected events,” Cherry Peak’s do-everything marketing manager said. “We didn’t expect all of this, today, but we’ve been able to adjust, no problem.”
No doubt about it. It was a snow day to remember.
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.