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The mission starts so early the next morning that it’s not even morning. We meet in the lobby of our hotel at 4 A.M. Amy the weather girl is wearing full makeup at this hour. She’s ready to work. She asks Andy the cameraman if he wants her to do an intro. Andy, barely awake, shakes his head. Jessica, meanwhile, is somehow cheerful. Read the complete story on this mission here.
The day’s To Do List: Ski all 13 resorts in Utah.
The crew helps load all the gear into the Ski Utah van.
The crew (not in order): Bill, the idea guy; Ravell Call, a photographer for SLC’s Deseret Morning News; Amy Anderson, the weather girl for Park City TV, and her cameraman, Andy Bauman; Montana writer Brian Schott; and, of Ski Utah, Chris Pearson (designated driver), Kendall Card (live-blog guy), Adam Barker (photographer), Jake Bogoch (Skiing mag editor), and Jessica Kunzer (trip leader).
Meet Chris Pearson, the designated driver, who logged 554 miles behind the wheel that day.
Jake Bogoch buying necessary gas-station tools for the mission.
The lifts won’t turn for another five hours, so we drive up a service road and ski from Brian Head’s maintenance area. A full moon is our only source of light as we ski corduroy so clean and firm that my skis audibly hum when they cut it.
For our second run, we drive two hours to the Redford-owned Sundance. Like Brian Head, this is another great mountain to which we’ll do a gross disservice by skiing only one run.
Chris hammers to the Park City parking lot, but we lose valuable time running through the maze that is the village. Finally, we find the snow. We find a lift. We start skiing and behind me I hear someone swing a bat into a leather couch. Jessica and Kendall have collided and brought down others, possibly Bill. I can’t see because I’m pointing it toward the van. I run into a Park City TV crew covering our mission for the local Fox affiliate and am asked for a quote. But it’s Jessica, recovered from the crash and functioning on little sleep, who puts together articulate answers to their questions. She extricates herself (cheerfully!) because she knows we’re losing time.
Now to Alta and Snowbird, two of my favorite mountains in the country. Again, we disrespect each with one run down chalk-dusted aprons in the afternoon sun. No more, no less.
Ski fast, then reboard the van. Repeat 13 times.
The sun is setting and time is running out. At least there are freshies to enjoy en route back to the van.
Here’s what I remember: The sun is dropping, there’s some skiing, and Snowbasin delivers a basket of snacks and energy drinks to the van to jolt us awake.
Two more resorts to go, but it’ll be easier from here. Both Powder Mountain, nearby, and Beaver Mountain, which is 20 minutes from the Idaho state line, are open for night skiing.
The sun squats on the horizon beyond Powder Mountain, painting the sky a syrupy orange Creamsicle.
We’re tired and ornery, but our silhouettes against the frozen-treat horizon make for a pretty picture, so Adam Barker takes photos.
We’ve done it. The heathen among us drink celebratory beers at the top while Mormon team members hoist sodas. We clunk our beer and soda cans together and yell Woo!