It’s 6:45 at the Goldminer’s Daughter. Carston Oliver, Tony Pavlantos, Lee Cohen and myself are waiting for first chair at Alta for the third day of the Ski Salt Lake Shootout. We bailed on Cardiff this morning due to a late start and tired bodies. Two full days of hiking, skiing, and shooting has left us pretty rocked. Even Carston, the animal, looks a little bleary eyed this morning.
The Ski Salt Lake Shootout is a four day photography competition featuring the Little Cottonwood and Big Cottonwood Canyon resorts. Seven teams, featuring three athletes and one photographer rotate through Alta, Brighton, Snowbird and Solitude; skiing at a different resort everyday. On Saturday morning, each photographer will submit their two best shots from each resorts to the judges. First prize is $3,000, second $2,000 and third is $1000.
The Shootout has been awesome so far. We lucked out this year with better snow than the shootout has seen since its inaugural year, leaving all the teams with a plethora of options. We spent the first day at Snowbird. It was hands down the most successful day I’ve ever had at the ‘Bird. The 7:30 tram was chilly, peaceful, and allowed us to take advantage of the 16″ of fresh that had fallen from the night before.
Day 2 was at Solitude. Unfortunately, Fantasy Ridge hasn’t been open since the rain fell a couple weeks ago. If you’re not familiar with Solitude, Fantasy Ridge is the most gnarly terrain you can ski inbounds in North America. After an exposed boot pack over a knife ridge, your skis can schralp next to 300 ft. cliffs, hit any air that takes your fancy, or rip the wide open bowls.
Since Fantasy Ridge wasn’t an option, we made our way along the Highway to Heaven and discovered a perfectly built booter, with only four tracks and no one in sight. We sessioned it for the first few hours. With Wolverine in the back ground and Big Cottonwood Canyon at our feet, we were easily inspired, especially with Carston’s steezy corked sevens! We gradually moved our way up the ridge line, until hunger and fog drove us home. Lonestar hasn’t never tasted so good!
Today, we’re not really sure what we’ll find, but I have a feeling that my first encounter will be with a big cup of coffee from Alta Java! Or….. the cat we’re loading in 10 minutes!