Powder Day: Early Season Snowboarding In Utah, USA


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By Matthew Karsten Location/Map: Snowbird, Alta, Utah Mountain: Snowbird Resort Useful Notes: Go early to get the best snow! Don’t forget the Advil for muscle pain later… Winter ski & snowboarding season has officially begun. Striking white gold on opening day at Snowbird Resort in Utah was a pleasant surprise. Global warming weather conditions got you down? Utah’s winter season opened with a bang last week — about 50″ of snow fell in the mountains! Getting ready to leave for Fiji & Southeast Asia next week, I planned to miss out on snowboarding this year. But thanks to an early snowstorm I was able to sneak up to Snowbird Resort and pillage some fresh powder. Joining me was fellow adventure travel blogger & About.com Snowboard Guide Matt Gibson of Matt-Gibson.org. We loaded our packs with GoPro & DSLR cameras to capture the action and set out for the mountain. Opening Day At Snowbird The date was November 15th, 2012. Bluebird conditions, sun shining bright. This would definitely be the earliest I’ve ever been riding too. Back East you normally have to wait until around Christmas to get your fix. Even better: opening day happened to be a powder day! :D Snowbird kicked off its season with 2 of its 11 lifts running. But that was enough to entice adults to call in sick at work & kids to skip school. Everyone and their Grandmother wanted to hit the slopes for early bragging rights! A mix of fast groomed trails and powder covered tree runs kept us all happy. It was pretty deep in some places too, with over a foot of white gold on top of a decent base. Exposed rocks were an occasional nuisance, but that’s to be expected so early in the year. Niche Snowboards Unfortunately I don’t have room in my long-term travel backpack for a snowboard. So Salt Lake City based Niche Snowboards hooked me up with a fantastic all-mountain freestyle board called the Story. Long & wide enough to tackle some deep snow, but ultra-light & snappy thanks to cutting-edge materials like basalt magma fiber, hemp hop stringers, and a bamboo topsheet. The Story even won the 2012 ISPO Eco Award for it’s environmentally friendly construction. It performed beautifully — floating through the powder, popping off kickers, and hauling ass when I told it too. Winter Mountain Fun Matt and I spent over 6 hours on the mountain playing in the snow. Taking a quick break only for lunch and a beer before heading out again. The areas of the world I plan to visit this winter are lacking in snow. Oceania & Southeast Asia are not known for their snowstorms, snowman building, or heliskiing opportunities… so I took full advantage of these perfect early-season conditions. But the next day my body wasn’t very happy with my earlier enthusiasm. Your first session can be a bit rough on muscles & joints, even more so when battling deep snow. Bragging rights like these are totally worth it though. ★

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