In my experience, opening days are usually exciting but at the same time generally forgettable. As far as my all-time first days go, most have seen more icy groomers than pow turns. Well not this year. Not at Solitude.
I wasn't there for true opening day on Friday, December 2, which I was certainly bummed about since Utah just finished up a 40-inch-plus storm cycle earlier in the week. Then a little bird told me (via @skisolitude on Instagram... hint, hint) that PoHo (Powderhorn) and Eagle Express weren't opening until first thing on Saturday, December 3, and things were suddenly looking up.
Here's something you need to understand: I am NOT a morning person. In my ever-advancing age, I only willingly roll out of bed before 8 a.m. on a Saturday for a select few things, among them, good ski days and a tee time at Augusta. Even for ski days, unless there's a couple of inches of fresh snow involved, I might be content with a mid-morning arrival. All this said, 40 inches certainly qualifies for an early alarm.
I got up to Solitude early (for me), picked up my pass and then met up with my buddy, Carter, to set out for the day. We headed to PoHo and snagged tenth chair or so because Solitude is awesomely uncrowded. On the ride up we made mental notes of peppery spots in the main bowl, so when we got off the chair, it was straight to our chosen spot. I tried to temper my admittedly high expectations with no success. It didn't matter. Forty-inches-plus of settled soft snow skied like exactly how it should. Which is to say, it was superb for opening weekend.
A couple runs later, Julianna, who is also writing for Solitude this year, met up with us and we took some hot laps on PoHo. Then a liftie shouted Eagle was about to open and we headed that way. A fun run of meadow skipping though untouched settled goodness later and we were in the first dozen chairs loaded on Eagle Express chairlift.
After a couple hours spent making sure Eagle saw some tracks, our legs were toast. We headed for warm couches and college football. But not before a couple rounds at The Thirsty Squirrel. Thanks, Solitude and Old Man Winter, I think I might remember this one.