They Don’t Play… a tinge of a Twilight Zone experience


Avalanche Warning

living the lifestyle

See the slide?

They don’t play… Who? The avalanche control folks. Yup, they don’t play. Utah has had a most unusual winter – some bouts of heavy “wet” snow, then a few powder storms, followed by periods of cold interrupted by warm days…and inbetween? High winds. 

The end result? Extremely high avalanche danger! And some slides have happened recently – not just the controlled one in the photo below. (Ski resorts regularly set off bombs to bring loose snow down.) Its the “backcountry” where you really have to be concerned – in fact there was a slide just yesterday that nearly killed a snowmobiler!

Snow Slides

Now I’ve seen portions of ski areas closed off due to avalanche risk before, and certainly I know “out of bounds” skiing often carries the risk of literally losing your life…but today’s experience was surreal. It started at about 8:30am when I purchased my lift ticket at Solitude – a great ski area with about twice the skiable acres as Killington, Vt (commonly regarded as the beast of the east).


An Empty Parking Lot...Why?

lifestyle alan sills

The parking lot at 9am

You see, I was informed at that time that the canyon road (Big Cottonwood Canyon), the only road that connects Solitude (and Brighton) to the Salt Lake Valley was closed by the avalanche patrol. Now, I had driven up that road just an hour earlier! I did notice as I drove that morning lots of “pack ice” on the road (and it had not snowed that much recently)…so I knew the snow had slid onto the road. I also saw a strong presence of police and other emergency vehicles, and all parking areas – areas where day visitors park to go snow shoeing or cross country skiing were blocked off. Regardless, I made my way to Solitude, about 15 miles up the canyon and secured a parking spot right in front of the day lodge. (My truck is partially in view of the 2nd photo above at the far right.) The photo was taken inside.

So, the road was closed … what did this mean to me? Well, first, the avalanche threat was real! And it was kinda weird knowing I was cutoff from society – if only for an hour or two. And Second, I was one of about 100 people at this mega resort and no one else would be able to access the slopes for at least 90 minutes! Wow… remember the Twilight Zone where the guy wishes all he could do is just read once everyone else on the planet is gone… and at the end he breaks his glasses and can’t read? Well, I realized I was about to be the guy who just wanted to ski and was going to be able to do that with virtually no one else on the mountain! (And no, my skis did not break!) So… it turned out to be a phenomenal day of skiing. So, at 9am the lifts opened and the day began – a spectacular day. No wind, comfortable temperatures (about 20) and great conditions!

Solitude Ski Resort

A Twilight Zone Experience?

In fact by mid-day, I started to “grow a pair” and ventured off the groomed trails for the first time since I returned to the slopes this season. I worked my way through some mogul fields and enjoyed the carving I haven’t done in about 6 years. My legs held up for about a 4 hour experience before my body was saying “enough” (especially if you want to experience another in the near future!) This truly turned out to be a demanding but rewarding experience – and in many respects my idea of “my perfect day.”

Now, I want you to stop and reflect on your idea of your perfect day. Is it skiing like me? A day hiking? On the beach? Exploring a new city? My day at Solitude was my 5th in 3 weeks… I enjoy this lifestyle as a result of decisions I’ve made over the last few years. Where are you in your journey? Have you achieved the kind of time and financial freedom you want (and deserve)?

Sometimes all it takes is a helping hand or a mentor. I’d like to make this offer to you: Contact me (561 676 1205) and I will listen – listen to what you have tried in the past and what your struggles are. Then if I feel I have something to contribute to the conversation (I just might!), I will share a few ideas and we can see where things lead from there… make sense? Do not delay – take me up on my offer to do a consultation with you. My goal is to help as many folks as I can achieve time and financial freedom.

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