Powder Mountain Resort – Utah – Skiing Awesome!

powder_TrailmapSometimes before I travel to a new ski area I will check out the mountain stats and review the trail map.  I didn’t do that prior to skiing Powder Mountain (www.powdermountain.com). In fact I knew little about the mountain the day we arrived as a group to ski it.  That made it that much more fun…

More of a locals’ gem, this mountain gets a significant amount of snowfall generally, averaging 500 inches a year of “pristine powder”.  While this March trip did not produce the snowfall of powder we would have liked the skiing was great nonetheless.  Once the sun’s rays softened the morning crunch it opened up tree trails and cat skiing to us.  Unfortunately their back country skiing accessible by lift and return shuttle to the mountain was closed.  One can only imagine that with pristine powder on it!

powder_countryIt touts 7,000 skiable acres however much of that would be only accessible via cat or back country shuttle as 2,800 of the acreage is lift accessible.  What is key is its vertical at 2,500 feet!  Don’t expect any fancy base lodge, dining or ski-in/ski-out lodging. This is a diehard skiers’ mountain!

The base lodge is functional with lockers, a cafeteria, fireplace and sofa seating around the fireplace. Picnic table seating in the cafeteria works for eating and for gearing up.  On the main floor of the lodge you will find the restrooms and the pub, Powder Keg, where a sit down lunch and beer fits in well after such exhilarating skiing.  It’s light on après-ski activity albeit it does have some limited night skiing…for the true diehards!

The mountain hosts/ambassadors are very friendly and prove excellent tour guides.  I highly recommend hooking up with one to maximize your skiing experience there so you don’t miss out if the “pristine powder” has fallen.

This ski area also deserves a return trip to experience the pristine powder and back country…next year?  Anyone want to join me?

Canyons Resort – Park City Utah….Amazing!

canyonsThe Canyons were a side trip for me while on a group ski vacation in Cottonwood Canyons Wasatch Forest and Ogden area Cache Forest. I had previously skied Deer Valley (www.deervalley.com) and Park City Ski resort (www.parkcitymountain.com) before starting this goal of skiing sixty new ski areas by my sixtieth birthday. I wanted to get back to the area to the ski The Canyons (www.canyonsresort.com). How surprised was I to see the growth of that area over the last seven years!

As many of you know I have had surgery to both knees over the years…and with age a little arthritis has set in. So I am not keen on resort parking lots that require bus transport between the parking lot and the base. Canyons has solved that problem with an open bucket lift system known as the Canyons Cabriolet that moves you from the parking lot/base camp to the main lifts. Even better they offer a fair priced Valet Parking at the Grand Summit Hotel…I took advantage of this service. You don’t need to be a hotel guest to valet park. Sweet!

After taking advantage of valet parking I was welcomed to boot up in the hotel and leave my boot bag with the rental office. Such service I have yet to see. Once geared up I was greeted by a mountain affiliate employee who provided me and my ski mate tickets to enjoy the mountain. Given an overview of the mountain by the host we realized the Canyons had many acres to cover, in fact, 4,000 acres to cover. It is the largest ski and snowboard resort in Utah and one of the five largest in the US.

Being on the recovery side of fever the day before (or so I thought) we chose skiing trails that would not exacerbate what made me weak the day before. We realized skiing the whole mountain was unlikely but we would give it our best. We loaded the Orange Bubble Express for an express lift experience not to be missed. An orange bubble to protect you from the elements can be pulled down as you sit on a heated chairlift seat. Wow! The eastern ski areas could certainly attract skiers with one of these! From there we worked our way across the acres going skier’s left at the top of the lift. We had hoped to hit the Ninety-nine 90 Express to hit the summit with wild tree and steep terrain. Unfortunately when we got there a notice of thin cover and no easy access out combined with my weakened state made it an easy decision not to go to the summit. I love the name of the lift though advertising the summit is 9,990 feet above sea level. The base being at 6,800 feet gives the mountain a vertical of 3,100 feet. We made it to the Peak 5 Quad and I ran out of steam. Hoping lunch would generate enough energy to tackle the Dream Peak we headed in for lunch at the Red Pine Lodge. Unfortunately the fever returned and my day was done.

canyons_bubbleMy ski mate returned with me to the Grand Summit Hotel and continued skiing to check out terrain on the skier’s right at the top of the Orange Bubble Express. We vowed to return to this mountain and spend more than one day doing the acreage justice and absorbing more of the views, the dining choices, hotel accommodations and the village shopping.

If you get a chance to ski Canyons please share your experience with me so that I can maximize my return trip! Oh Canyons…I will be back!

Alta Ski Area – 75th year anniversary!

alter4Go online and you won’t see Alta (www.alta.com) tagging itself as a resort! Nope – a ski area and that it is!  Alta started out as a mining area in the 1800s.  Collins struck rich ore in the mountain area later selling his interests on the east side of the Peruvian Hill in 1900.  A lodge stands on that historical prospecting site now…since then it has developed into a real ski destination!

Over the years many more prospectors sold off their investments in mines to grow Alta to a skiable 2,200 acres with a summit elevation of 10,550 feet and a 2,020 foot vertical drop.  Visitors to the top will find the air thin even at its base of 8,530 feet above sea level.  With a noted 116+ runs it is the + driven by the bowls and couloirs that increase the run options.


alta75Since 1939 and the installation of the fifth chairlift in the US, Collins chairlift began loading skiers up the gulch for some great terrain experiences.  Seventy-five years later there are a myriad of lifts connecting and bringing skiers some of the most challenging terrain to ski.  Steeps and bowls abound for the intermediate and expert skiers to enjoy.  This is not a ski area for the faint of heart.

Take in the view of the Devil’s Castle from the Sugarloaf Lift and then ski the bowl for some challenging and fun skiing.  Of course some hiking will be involved so, be prepared to get a little winded just to get there but very proud of your achievement when done!

On skier’s right at the top of the Sugarloaf lift you will see the top of the connector left between Alta/Snowbird.  Having skied Snowbird prior to taking on this goal I purchased the Alta only ticket but for a small additional fee you have access to both mountains.  Snowbird (www.snowbird.com) is also not for the faint at heart with helicopter skiing available and the Cliff Hotel with its roof top pool not to be missed (www.snowbird.com/lodging/theclifflodge/).  

 If you are a skier you are welcomed at both resorts.  However, snowboarders are only welcomed at Snowbird and restricted at Alta.

alta2Depending on your skiing level you need the full day to give Alta a fair ski.  There is so much to ski some planning before you load your first lift is a good idea. As for grabbing lunch I recommend the Collins Grill mid-mountain in line with the Collins Lift.  You can’t get off the Collins Lift mid-mountain at the lift elbow turn so ride to the summit and ski down. You won’t be disappointed. Located on the third floor of the Watson Shelter, I recommend during busy holiday periods you make a reservation by calling them at 801-799-2297.  You walk in and find a seating area to remove your boots and put your feet in some comfy slippers as you enjoy a wonderful dining experience equal to dining on the slopes in Europe.  The restaurant looks over the Collins Gulch runs and bowls and encourages some wonderful discussions about the next runs you will make after lunch.  Such dining experiences on the slopes are unusual in the US in my experience and they are welcomed.  We often eat a tasteless burger in an aluminum packet and welcome the sustenance without enjoying our food.  Skiing such an area is such a great experience, why not make it extra special by enjoying the food we eat as well when a wonderful dining experience like the Collins Grill is there for the enjoyment.


alta3My day started and ended at the Wildcat Base.  There is plenty of après-ski activity at the base for anyone wanting to play after an exhilarating day of skiing.  As a skier enjoy Alta and Snowbird but I bet you can’t enjoy both fully in one day!





Brighton Ski Resort – Utah – “The tradition continues since 1936”

brighton2While staying at Solitude you are a short hop and skip from Brighton…or vice versa.  With 1,050 acres of skiable terrain, Brighton does little advertising because it really doesn’t need to.  It is “found out” through word of mouth.  Trust me there is plenty to ski for all levels.  And no lift lines!

Brighton is a nicely laid out mountain with chairs and trails connecting you well for those grid skiers that want to ensure they ski the whole mountain.  Start on the main mountain at the Crest Express and work your way skier’s left to attack the full mountain acreage except for the Millicent peak area on skier’s right.  Save that for the end of the day as it is close to the parking lot and if you are booting up at your car this provides end of day convenience. Or, you can get back to the Crest Express and main base area from the Millicent peak by skiing the Majestic Access Canyon trail…careful toward the end of the season this may not be open.

brightonMy ski day there was filled with sunshine and warm weather in March.  Trails while well groomed were fast and crunchy at first giving way quickly to the warm fingers of the sun’s rays to soften the snow.  Unfortunately some of the tree trails and steeps were gnarly from the loss of snow and closed for safety reasons.  Poaching wasn’t an option.  I’m betting some “freshies” on this mountain would make the closed acreage we experienced a ton of fun!

Ibrighton3f you don’t like to boot up at your car (I find this to be a very Western skier practice) there are great changing facilities and lockers in the main lodge.  After a great day of skiing we partook in some food and drink at Molly Green’s… a tasty personal pizza and beers in a cozy original chalet style bar with good music playing in the background. We longed for a deck on which to eat and drink there and take in the last of the sun for the day.  For that a walk to the Alpine Rose Cafeteria would be required.

The vertical drop is 1,875 feet making it a great mountain for all levels.  They also have night skiing for those who can’t get enough of day skiing or looking for a few turns after working in Salt Lake City.

Enjoy pictures in the gallery that are taken from the top of the Snake Creek Express chair at 10, 315 feet above sea level. Don’t miss Brighton (www.brightonresort.com) if making a trip to Solitude for sure or vise versa.

The Utah Skiing Experience – Solitude Ski Resort, Utah

If you are looking for a quick trip to the snow capped mountains in the Wasatch-Cache National Forest, fly in to Salt Lake City Utah and you can be at the Inn at Solitude in less than 1 hour (www.skisolitude.com).

solitude2Solitude Ski Resort offers a variety of terrain for all skier levels – tree skiing, bowls, bumps and groomers.  The steeps were a challenge and the groomers were great for speed – couple that with the bowls and bumps and you’ll find fun for all!

We made this trip in March last year and just missed a large snowfall the week before we got there.  There was plenty of snow and sunshine and warmth for us to play in – but no pristine powder!  The group I was skiing with made the best of the spring conditions.  We started the morning on hard packed groomers that quickly softened (57 degrees) under the sun and warmth of the day.  By 11:30am we were nicely settled into Adirondack chairs at the Roundhouse Lodge mid-mountain soaking up the sun and working on the “skier’s tan” – with a 30 SPF sunscreen, of course!

SolitudeThe views from the Summit are spectacular!  I think the Summit Chair is slow on purpose – to allow everyone to experience the beautiful views of the Wasatch Mountains and Brighton Ski Resort 3 miles away up Big Cottonwood Canyon.  The Wasatch Mountain rock is breathtaking and creates great couloirs for those who will hike and ski them.

Staying at the Inn at Solitude provides for a great ski-in ski-out experience. There are activities for the children and an on-site restaurant called “The Bernard”.  Open for dinner it offers a variety of meat and fish dishes.  The food is good, not great. There is the “local’s bar” across the walkway from the Inn called the “The Thirsty Squirrel”, a pizza restaurant and a Grill Restaurant across the way to feed those staying at the Inn and condos.  If you are looking to get off the Solitude campus for dinner and you don’t have a car, call the Silver Fork Restaurant, they will pick you up and return you to Solitude after dinner (www.SilverForkLodge.com). They have an Inn there as well if you choose to stay off site.

solitude3The Solitude campus is a small area with few amenities.  It is designed for the skier who is not looking for Après-ski activities.  Getting out of Solitude to other ski areas (Brighton, Snowbird, Alta) are all accessible via the UTA bus system.  If you don’t want to be tied to a bus schedule, renting a car at the airport is recommended to get around.

I hope you have a chance to visit – it is definitely worth the trip!



Homewood Mountain Resort – Tahoe’s Most Beautiful Resort

Well, life has gotten in the way of my blog!  I started skiing this season in November but I want to keep my posts in chronological order so  it is time to recap my adventures from LAST season before I start in on THIS season!   Happy Winter!!

Here’s a bit about my adventure at Homewood –

Homewood Mountain Resort – Tahoe’s Most Beautiful Resort.  What a gem!  It has the most beautiful views of Lake Tahoe from so many different angles as you are skiing – you have to be careful not to catch an edge!

If you follow this blog on a regular basis, you know that skiing every area in Lake Tahoe has been my goal and my dream.  Skiing at Homewood completed that for me and I loved every bit of it!  One of the great things about this skisixtyforsixty goal of mine is that I have made many new friends and ski buddies over the years.  On this trip, my friend Marni introduced me to Krista – who is the Food and Beverage Manager at Homewood and the two of them are good friends.  Thank you Krista for the ticket to your beautiful resort!

Homewood is known mainly as a “local’s mountain” and is one of the best kept secrets in the area.  While the views of Lake Tahoe from Heavenly are great, the views from Homewood are SPECTACULAR!  Imagine a day with a bluebird-sky and you will fall in love with Lake Tahoe and Homewood!  Rumor has it that Homewood will be experiencing some sort of resort-type expansion, but for someone like me who grew up where a ski lodge meant a fireplace and cup of hot cocoa, you will love the warmth in the lodge at Homewood. The bar has a rustic, backwoods feel…especially when you have a “Homewood Apple Pie” to drink (definitely an upgrade from hot cocoa!!) The ingredients are various amounts of cider whiskey and red hot – warms the soul!

Oh, right  – I’m writing about SKIING!  There is terrain for all levels and I loved skiing in the trees!  We started from the North Lodge, made our way up the Ellis chair to the summit which is 7,880 feet above sea level.  At the summit you have access to all levels of trails – take your first (or last) break of the day with breathtaking views of Lake Tahoe at the mid-mountain bar – Big Blue View Bar.  Aptly named!  Watch those Homewood Apple Pies – you still have half of the mountain to ski at the end of the day – consume with caution!

A wonderful part of all of my Tahoe skiing experiences is the sun is perpetually shining and the conditions are grand!  The groomers here are excellent and the steepness and width of the trails provide new challenges for the intermediate skier without being daunting.  At the end of the day, avoid “Lombard Street” which has a lot of skier traffic in favor of “The Face”.  While labeled a black diamond, the Face, while steep provides enough width for traversing on a trail with less traffic.

Visit Homewood, say hi to Krista for me – and enjoy those views!

After a hard day skiing!
After a hard day skiing!

PICO Mountain – a GREAT experience!

Pico Lodge 2
Fun after skiing!
Cozy Fireplace!
Cozy Fireplace!
Slopes at Pico
Skiing at Pico
Last Run Lounge at Pico
The Last Run Lounge at Pico    









PICO Mountain, Vermont – What a great experience!

Skiing in Vermont – particularly all of my new experiences lately – is always a surprise!  We become creatures of habit at our home mountains so it is great when you ski an area like PICO and are pleasantly surprised by the variety of terrain just 40 minutes from home!  PICO has been affiliated with Killington for several years now.  It is managed by Killington, but remains its own unique ski area and the beauty for some is you can purchase a combined ticket or just a ticket for PICO.

The steeps were great and there was some open tree skiing available to intermediates and experts alike.  I was pleased with the available terrain for all skiing levels.  PICO celebrated 75 years in business last year (2012) and started with a tow rope!  They have become a full service mountain with all amenities – lodging, rental, retail ski shop and they are proud of their summit at 3,967 feet above sea level.  With a vertical drop of 1,967 feet, they are taller than 80% of Vermont’s Mountain Resorts.

The base lodge is cozy and an après-ski stop at the Last Run Lounge is a must.  The stone fireplaces add to its coziness and quaintness. In the Last Run Lounge you will get to enjoy live music on weekends and plenty of social activities.

The mountain is very well known but caters to locals and their families.  The steeps and tree runs are truly awesome….oops!  I hope I don’t let TOO many people know about this gem!  The lack of lift lines on a weekend is a very welcome feature for those of us who live here!

I hope you enjoy the pictures and make a PICO day trip this coming season – I think you will be pleasantly surprised!

Next – another Western US Adventure!


Sugarbush – A Gem in Vermont

It’s hard to believe I found another mountain about an hour away from Ludlow that I have never skied – Sugarbush!  Cross it off the list – I’ve been there in 2013!!

We took a nice ride directly up Route 100 and decided to spend the night and enjoy the evening before heading out to ski the next day.  We booked a room at the Waitsfield Inn in Waitsfield VT about 5 miles from Sugarbush.  http://www.waitsfieldinn.com  The Inn is a cute New England Inn between Mad River Glen and Sugarbush.  It’s small – 12 rooms with private baths and as often is the case with a New England Inn – no TV or Internet – part of the charm!  Breakfast was very earthy-crunchy-healthy and very tasty and good for us!  The managing innkeepers are from California and love their new home in Vermont.

Our plan for dinner was a restaurant on the access road to Sugarbush called Terra Rosa.  http://www.terrarossaristorante.com.   We had reservations, which I recommend but this Saturday night proved exceptionally busy so we positioned ourselves at the bar for dinner.  Our Bartender “T” was a happy soul who didn’t let the pressure of the busy night keep her from enjoying the clientele.  The restaurant has a warm ambiance with a pizza oven in the center of the room.  Our food was awesome, there were fabulous, eclectic choices and we enjoyed our experience.  My friend and the owner of Terra Rosa, Mike Kelly had worked together in the past.  He provided us with some entertaining stories that I certainly hadn’t heard before!

The next morning we arose eager to ski Sugarbush.  With a bluebird sky and New England chill in the air we valet parked and went into nice open locker facilities to gear up.  If you follow my blog, you know that this princess is very fond of a ski in/ski out arrangement when travelling overnight.  On my miss-list:  parking in a lot and being bussed to the base, being loaded onto a cattle bus (non-enclosed), carrying my equipment more than 50 feet – I don’t think I need to go on!  I’m happy to report that $20 got me valet parking in a garage – with a warm car at the end of the ski day.  Definitely a nice touch!

First stop was to hit the Lincoln Peak via the gondola.  I rushed to disembark and grab my skis and get out of the way for others to do the same – trying not to panic that I wouldn’t get them in time for the downhill ride!  Have you ever felt that panic??  Ha!  Really appreciated the Gondola Service Staff at Loon!  What a prima-donna I could be if every ski area let me!

My favorite thought on any peak is that I am on top of the world.  That initial experience on every mountain makes me feel that way when the views are spectacular.  We began taking intermediate and expert runs enjoying the pitch of the mountain.  It was early so crowds were not a problem.  Lincoln’s Peak is at 3,975 above sea level with a 2,400 foot vertical.  Castlerock Peak has a few more expert trails but on this day not all were open due to snow conditions.  A reason to return!

We missed Mt. Ellen because the lift wasn’t running but I found a run on the North Lynx Peek that I absolutely fell in love with – under the Gate House Express Quad!  It starts out as a nice cruiser and it is a surprise when quickly there are signs for experts only.  Its pitch is great and the terrain is fabulous allowing you to gain speed and enjoy cruising, perfect equal turns and the love of the ski!

It was an awesome day of skiing!  The crowds began to arrive at 11 so we capped off our trip with lunch at the Timbers Restaurant.  Definitely worth a trip back!

Until next time – Cammy

Ski Loon Mountain – New Hampshire

The drive to Loon Mountain from South Central Vermont winds through the beautiful White Mountains of New Hampshire.  On my trip there, with darkness upon us and snow falling – it was a peaceful journey.  I welcomed our return journey to see the sights we were likely missing!

Ah, the Twin States of Vermont and New Hampshire!  How different from one another and yet somewhat similar.  I have skied in New Hampshire before – at Mount Sunapee and Attitash, but on this trip I was looking for an area about 2 hours away.  I wanted to experience the ambiance of the mountain and the surrounding area so we made this trip a little more than a day outing.

Driving into town it was evident that Loon was built as a resort town catering to the snow sports consumer.  The restaurant options, ski/ride shops, clothing and food stores all cater to the seasonal guest and were abundant.  There are many condo communities off and on the mountain catering to the second home owner.  The mountain also offers conference facilities – well needed as a supplement to the seasonal economic environment.

Our accommodation was a ski-in/ski-out location called the Mountain Club.  This resort included covered parking and secure locker access for our equipment.  Have you read my blogs in the past?  HA!  Check out Chamonix for my true feelings about secure access!  But we settled our equipment into our secure home with no issues at all!


Here I am at Loon!
Here I am at Loon!


The next morning we geared up and explored Loon Mountain!  With its peak at 3,050 feet above sea level and a vertical drop of 2,100 feet – the mountain caters to the intermediate skier/rider.  The base sits at 950 feet above sea level and we were extremely impressed with the Gondola!  The service at the peak when unloading is unprecedented.  The staff is warm, welcome, helpful and friendly – and removes your equipment from the Gondola to help guests move quickly from the unloading area.  They are eager to guide you around their mountain!  Most importantly, the Lodge is warm and inviting and designed well for skiers to relax after their day on the mountain.

When booking your accommodation here, there are mountain and river options.  While initially I wanted a mountain view – and we received a river view – ultimately it worked out for us.  Have you ever heard an army of groomers during the night?  That noise can DEFINITELY interfere with a good night’s sleep.  We were VERY happy with the River View!

As for other amenities – well, the views were lovely and would have been more glorious had it not been for the inversion layer that day.  Hard to blame Mother Nature’s challenges on Loon!  At the Mountain Club, we visited the bar area which seemed to cater to family dining – and not as warm and inviting as a resort hotel bar could be.  There was a fireplace – but somewhat small for the grand room where the bar resided.  The dining room also seemed to have a cool ambiance, more suited to a conference center than ski resort, but the food we ordered was quite enjoyable.

No matter the weather, the views of the White Mountains all the way to Mount Washington were spectacular.  Our trip back home was amazing – with photo opportunities at every turn!  Loon Mountain is a great day or weekend mountain resort!  Enjoy your visit!

Until next time – Cammy

Bromley Mountain, Vermont


Fun at the Sun Mountain
Starting an awesome New Year at Bromley!


It’s hard to believe, but there are STILL Ski Area’s in my home state of Vermont that I have yet to ski!

With my BFF and her husband at my side, we set out on New Year’s Day for a spectacular first ski of 2013!  Bromley is only 20 minutes from Ludlow and I was feeling energized with my knee repair – finally a non-event.  I’m not going to lie – a little weather related arthritis is the bane of my existence!   Regardless – it’s time to catch up on my SkiSixtyForSixty program!!

I learned on this trip that Bromley has a great history to its beginnings.  The Bromley Mountain resort was founded by Fred Pabst Jr., the son of the famous Captain Frederick Pabst (Frederick was the founder of Pabst Blue Ribbon beer).  It is home to 46 trails, including 4 glades, beginner to expert, served by nine lifts. Bromley was once rated number one in family programs in all of North America by SKI Magazine.  Further fame – the Bromley Sun Lodge was featured on Hotel Makeover!

The mountain peak is over 3,200 feet above sea level.  It has some good vertical to keep you challenged.  The conditions were great and it was a beautiful, cold, windy day!  I learned it is a great family mountain with an active ski school.  Thanks to Curt Cowles we enjoyed discounted tickets!  Curt is a great asset at Bromley and is well known and respected in the local ski industry.  We had such a great experience that I hope I can help get more people interested in visiting Bromley Mountain!

The lodge has a great fireplace and upstairs the bar provides awesome southern views of the Green Mountains including views of Stratton and Magic.  Of course we had to have a PBR and while at the bar we learned that you can buy a reusable numbered mug!  Many hung above the bar indicating a good local following for the Mountain!

Bromley Bar


It is a southern facing mountain and has gotten tagged as Vermont’s Sun Mountain.  Both the Long Trail and Appalachian Trail go over the mountain and it has many activities for summer fun as well. Visit Bromley’s Mountain Slide and Zip Line and other summer activities. Bromley was one of the first Mountains to embrace a summer activity program and it is every bit as successful as their winter season!

I really enjoyed the mountain and highly recommend it especially to families looking to get their children into a good ski school on a mountain with some challenge as their expertise on skis improves.

I bet you can get the best tan ever when spring skiing at Bromley……….

Enjoy – and until next time!