Day 20 – Solitude. 1450m vertical (38600 total). 6km classical (48 total)

MUCH better day. The fine weather is still hanging in as is the smog – you can now taste it in the valley. The inversions here would be one reason NOT to live in the bottom of the valley – it gets really bad. Headed back to REI to pick up some light touring skis then headed to Solitude to use up the remaining rides from the ticket I bought on the first day of the trip and try out the new skis.

Hard packed again but far more enjoyable than at Deer Valley. FOund a nice soft bumps run lower down then cought to chairs to get to the top of the mountain. Was planning on just coming down the standard runs but they looked pretty thin, and when I got to the top decided I needed to challenge myself a bit so headed through the control gate into Honeycomb Canyon.

Now there are double black runs dropping into this canyon, but the run down the bottom is rated blue / black. There was a sign at the entry gate warning terrain was for expert skiers only, but decided I wouldn’t let that worry me. Well, I definitely got my challenge!

Started off OK – steepish but open and nice skier packed snow that still had plenty of give in it. Then the valley narrowed and steepened and it got pretty hairy. Needed a few sections of pure sideslipping as I lost my nerve but it was still fun in a perverse kind of way. Ended up being the slowest ski run of my life, and was VERY relieved to finally see the escape chairlift.

Even though still had a couple of runs left it had taken so long to get back that I quit the downhilling for the day and drove up to the nordic trailhead which is just near the base of the Brighton lifts. Headed out on one of the loops until it seemed to be dropping too far back toward the Solitude base, so turned around and headed back. Pretty skiing through the trees but trails were just so-so compared to others I’ve skiied this trip. However skis were great – quite fast and pretty good grip. Very little light left by the time I got back to the car

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