Over the years I have skied the Park City side of the Park City/Canyons ski area. Last year I took the Mining Mountain tour on the PC side. It is one of the most interesting tours ever. From that tour I learned that the King Con Express chair isn’t named after the giant gorilla, but for a large silver mining company. Really.
But my time has been limited on the Canyons side. Last year I tried to make the Canyons mountain tour by skiing from PC via Red Pine Gondola that connects the two sides of the resort and missed the tour by 15 minutes. This year I had free parking at the Wyndham resort at the base of the Frostwood Gondola. It only cost me the one hour for the condo update and pitch. I had an action-packed day. Tour at 10, Wyndham update at 12:30, skiing with Ernest and his wife Patricia at 1:30, Happy Hour with Lael, an ACT! Software friend at 4 pm. Most of my days aren’t that scheduled, but it was nice to have so much going on.
The Frostwood Gondola is literally outside the door of the new Wyndham resort and a short ride to the Canyons Village base. Unlike many resorts, there is no parking close in, so to get to the base area you either have to shuttle, be staying in one of the hotels at the base or take the Frostwood or Cabriolet gondolas from hotels & condos and parking to the village base area on the mountain. Once at the ski base area there are two main lifts to go up the mountain—Red Pine Gondola or the Orange Bubble Express. I took the Orange Bubble—so named because the heated seats are orange, and the plexi covers that pull down are a shade of orange. There’s a similar Orange Bubble Express at Banff Sunshine.
None of the areas had new snow, and the mogul runs were getting icy and packed. I stayed on the groomers to be safe. I took a warm up run from the top of the Orange Bubble to the Red Pine Lodge area where the tours met. I added my name, had time for a couple runs from the Saddle Back Express chair, went in for a bio-break, and met up with our tour group. This was a large group again—12 including the guide. The guide took us back up Saddleback, down Kokopelli where we cut to Echo and Eclipse runs that took us to the north side of the mountain. We skied pass the bottom of the Sun Peak Express and got on the Super Condor Express. At the top, we all gazed up at the hiking foot path to the top of Murdock Bowl—I for one wondered who it their right mind would hike up to that peak. Our group did no hiking but happily skied down Upper Boa, Lower Boa to the rope tow called Rip Cord which took us up a short incline to get us back to the Canyon Village. As a group we road the Orange Bubble past the midway point which is all blues and blacks, on to the top of the bubble. We took Mainline down to the Red Pine area—skiing across the Red Pine base to Saddleback Express.
Again, I was nervous with this group—we weren’t divided by ability, but the tour was for intermediates and above. The ability level was more diverse, so I chose to become the sweeper of the group so that it was always clear when everyone arrived at the meeting points.
At the top of Saddleback chair we took Snow Dancer down to Chicane. This led us to the southern side of the resort where we were headed for an area called Iron Mountain. Iron Mountain has a nice distribution of blues and blacks. It lends access to the lifts Dreamcatcher, Dreamscape and Daybreak, all looking like they had a nice bunch of blue runs but areas we didn’t get to. Our tour instead took us across Timberline, a lift that crosses a creek to get to Iron Mountain and once across we took the Iron Mountain Express chair to ski Copperhead, a groomer that runs from top to the bottom. My time was closing in for my 12:30 meeting back at the Wyndham resort, so I had to bail from the group and had a nice, long, fast, run down Copperhead. The issue with Iron Mountain is that it is the way to get to the Park City Mountain side of the resort via the gondola that connects the two sides of Park City. The Canyons and PC Mountain used to be two resorts, so now there is a whole branding and naming process going on.
A new chair added is the Over and Out that was a fabulous add to get skiers from the Iron Mountain and Tombstone Express and some of the upper chairs out of one valley and back to the Canyon Village.
I made it to the Wyndham update, spent my hour with them, and then met up with Ernest and Patricia. We met at the bottom of Tombstone, took a few runs there, then headed back to the Village side. Ernest and I decided to take a few more runs, and skied from the Mid-Orange Bubble a groomed black run, Super Fury. That dumped us at the base of Sun Peak Express where we took Eclipse straight down, beyond the base of Super Condor Express, down to the Rip Cord.
Just before the Rip Cord to the left I kept looking for the moose. There had been moose sightings, and everyone was talking about it.
Lucky me, I caught sight of the big, black moose. She was about 75 yards up the mountain eating the shrubbery! This mother was huge! I had a tough decision—should I stop and take a picture, or should I make it to the rope tow so I wouldn’t have to walk/skate uphill. I chose not to take a picture (darn) but I did see that mother moose!
Ernest and I skied down to the Waldorf where Patricia was waiting at the car and I had my car parked at the Wyndham even closer. It was a fine day at Canyon, and I didn’t figure our paths would cross again. We gave each other good-bye hugs, and promised to stay in touch. Their son lives in Minneapolis, so the odds of seeing each other again are great. Bye bye for now!
I had to leave the mountain myself to meet with Lael at Squatters Roadhouse Grill. While I waited for Lael I got an email alert—flights to Tokyo were going for $450 RT! I called my son Tom and told him and asked him if I should book. It was tempting, but also a bit scary. The fares were dropping because of the Coronavirus, I’m sure. Lael arrived and I ordered my supper at the bar. I hadn’t eaten since 8 in the morning save for a handful of trail mix for lunch. I had their meatloaf and it was fabulous. Lael is in marketing and promotional items. She is also a gifted water color artist. We had a lovely, long conversation, and it made me realize how wonderful Facebook is to have kept us connected. My regret? I forgot to take a picture of us together!
It was a long day! It was a great day! So much had happened that I had to write down the sequence.
I wasn’t scheduled to leave Midway/Park City until Sunday. My choices at this point ranged from driving to Brighton or Solitude to ski, skiing one more day at either Deer Valley or Park City, taking Saturday off, or nothing. The only thing I knew for sure is that I needed to write, I needed to make some progress on the Solo Ski Sojourn Blog.