The phrase skiing in the
Wasatch conjures up dramatically different images. To many
people it signifies the swankest resort skiing outside of Val
Gardena. To others it implies the best back-country powder bowls
in the U.S.. My memories of skiing in the Wasatch all begin in
the pitch dark for some reason. Over the course of the several
winters I lived in Salt Lake City, a loose group of twisted individuals
coalesced into what became informally known as the dawn
patrol. This spontaneous group would convene at my house
around three oclock in the morning 2 or 3 times during
the week. Wed usually decide upon a ski objective over
coffee and muffins then head up one of the canyons and find ourselves
on top of some peak, chute or avalanche gully at sunrise. The
descents were sublime, but the most excruciatingly satisfying
part of these outings was thundering in the front door at Black
Diamond where Andrew and I both worked just as the clock struck
eight. Never mind that we were still wearing ski boots, sweat
drenched ski clothes and would be unable to remain awake past
one in the afternoon. Wed made it to work on time having
witnessed another sunrise, skied another chute, lived a little
more life than the rest of humanity on those exalted mornings.
One such dark morning, engaged in muffled conversation around
the kitchen table with my back to the living room door I saw
Andrew look past me and grow deathly pale. Slowly turning around,
knowing instantly the source of Andrews horror, there stood
my wife Jennifer in her night gown wearing a look of withering
fury that pierced the heart. As we scrambled for the door, grabbing
up hats, gloves and goggles, Jennifer demanded with a wrathful
acerbity Is this normal!!?
That remains a reasonable question to ask. The author of this
guide describes X-rated activities with an honest, irreverent
glee. This may bother some. Thats OK. Various people will
pick this guide up and immediately identify with the spirit in
which it was written, the unapologetic honestly with which it
promotes activities that stem from a visceral adventure lust.
Others will revile its very content, labeling it as misguided
call to self destruction. No problem. The kind of skiing described
appeals to the heart and defies rational justification. It cant
be explained, analyzed, taught or peddled to the hesitant or
timid. Skiing 50degree chutes above big cliffs simply makes
no sense and all the rationalizing in the world wont make
it appear any more reasonable to those who simply dont
get the attraction.
This book does not describe cheap thrills. It describes thrills
that are available to those who humbly love the hills and have
made the substantial effort to explore their steep, scary, secret
places with skill and respect for the seriousness this entails.
Point em down!