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Battle a group of hammer-wielding six-year-olds fueled by Jolt Cola for the last donut hole. Swim with great white sharks while wearing a bacon Speedo. Use my mustache to sweep up the elephant enclosure at the Brookfield Zoo. Listen to Marjorie Taylor Greene explain science. Attend a Phish concert. While sitting in ski traffic, I’ve imagined all types of terrible, awful, excruciating things I’d rather do than sit in ski traffic. And nowhere on earth has worse ski traffic than Colorado’s I-70 corridor. Except for Salt Lake City’s Little Cottonwood Canyon Road. Maybe. Which is crappier? The answer is, yes.
These two roadways pose more of a devastating blow to skier morale and overall positive mental health than lack of snow, core shots, and overpriced lodge burgers combined. They are both winding roads that access kick-butt, beautiful mountains with world-class skiing. But neither was designed for the number of people using them today, hence the comparable suckage of driving them.
But the secret is out, pals. Folks now know that skiing is the mostestest, bestest, funnerestest thing to do in the history of fun. Traffic jams are caused by a lot of factors like weather, poorly designed roads, accidents, construction, and every other driver being a far worse driver than me. (How dare you drive while I am driving, sir!)
Unfortunately, there’s no secret pass around the I-70 and LCC Mordor traffic jams. Sometimes skiing midweek instead of Saturday will work, but many other skiers have had that same thought more than likely. Even an alpine start won’t make your commute to the mountains traffic-free. Once, I left Denver at 4:30 a.m. and tried to make it through the Eisenhower Tunnel before the rest of the city was hitting snooze on their alarms. But by 9:30, I’d only made it to Loveland’s parking lot; a meager 55 miles away from my coffee pot that I forgot to turn off.
During the wee hours of the morn in Utah this past winter, I nearly whizzed my long johns in the truck while waiting at the mouth of the LCC for several millennia. Thank god for distracting Saturday Night Live videos on YouTube and everyone looking the other way as I checked my pH levels on the side of the road.
But don’t worry, pals. I’ve thought long and hard on this subject and I have the fix.
To solve the I-70 issue, we need the greatest engineering feat of all time. Perhaps you’re thinking of a public rail system from Denver International Airport, downtown, and Boulder to ski resorts along the corridor and up and over Loveland Pass. Nope! Think way bigger, you silly goose.
Red Rocks Amphitheater needs to be transformed into a giant slingshot with enough power to fling would-be skiers and equipment—kitted out in Velcro onesies of course—in a molar-clattering, speedy arc to sticky landing pads at the resort of their choosing. For an extra $50, we’ll stuff you in a cannon and blast you toward the powder day of your dreams. Or for a measly extra $100, you and your family can be zipped to endless corduroy in the talons of a decommissioned predator drone. Hell, slip us a tip and we’ll even let you shoot an RPG at an elk or two. Gold Members can ride in comfort inside Jeff Bezos’ schlong-shaped rocket-fueled wiener mobile space dong straight to the goods. Why deal with earthly problems when you can float above them inside an interstellar penis?
Phallic projectiles, however, are not the answer to the Little Cottonwood Canyon debacle. A train could do the job or a gondola (like they are planning), but I believe a far less motorized workaround is our best option. The answer here, friends, is Strava. Salt Lake City loves to Strava. The Strava heat map of SLC looks like the embers of a city-wide campfire that’s running a 100-mile ultra-marathon in July with roman candles stuck in its shorts.
Suffice it to say, SLC has a lot of humans who love exercising and love fighting for the blue-ribbon first-place prize of exercising-est human of all the Utah-ian exercisers. So, here’s the plan: If you’ve ever posted to Strava in the Salt Lake region, you are required to hike to ski resorts henceforth. First chair will be awarded to the skiers who put in the Canyon Road bootpack and set what will surely be a feverish pace.
After the turn off of Wasatch Boulevard, it’s about 8.1 miles to Snowbird and roughly 9.2 to Alta. That’s only 17, 102, or 19,430 steps, depending on who sets the bootpack. Hell, Kevin Bacon did more two-stepping in Footloose. You’ll be fine. My guess is you Utah über-exercisers will make far better canyon time than those glacially moving Subarus and Tacomas.
Good riddance, traffic jams. You’re a thing of the past now. Be sure to follow me on Strava, nerds!