UTAH FREESKI CAMP 2012 SUCCESS – VIDEO REVIEW + 2013 DATES CONFIRMED

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WARREN SMITH SKI ACADEMY JAPAN POWDER CAMP ITINERARY

For almost a decade now, the Academy has been interested in going to Snowbird in Utah, USA. After hearing about the deep and light powder, steep gradients and endless tree lines, the Academy finally decided to organise a trip for 2012.

Snowbird is based in the heart of the Wasatch-Cache National Forest in the Little Cottonwood Canyon, one mile down the Canyon from Alta. There is no town as such in Snowbird, but a small and cosy gathering of shops, bars and restaurants in the ‘Snowbird Centre’ based at the bottom of the Aeriel Tram which takes you directly up to an elevation of 3353m on Hidden Peak. From here the view is spectacular. The panorama boasts Mineral Basin, the Gad Valley and Salt Lake City in the distance.

 

The ski area is well known for its super light powder, steeps and backcountry access. On the first day of the Academy camps, the clients were already hooked. After a quick warm up and few runs to loosen up the legs, they were already rewarded with skiing through some of the off piste gates. They went there with the idea that the Americans were very strict with their backcountry skiing and that they would be slightly restricted by the rules and regulations. However the reality was far from this. Unlike many other resorts, the patrol in Snowbird put great effort into making the backcountry not just safe but also accessible. The red jackets of the patrol could be seen skiing around securing areas and making sure everything was skiable on and off the piste every day.

 

The gates that had been controlled would be open and in areas where the patrol was concerned of any risk, the gate would be closed. Warren and Rob were surprised when they hiked up to an area through one of the gates where they were going to drop in off a ridge with one of the groups into a couloir. At the top of the couloir it was a little bare and rocks were showing through. The patrol had even put down some dry slope matting to cover over the rocks!

 

On the first day of the course, the groups kicked started with a ski off and were then split into three groups, skiing with Academy ski coaches Rob, Phil or Tom. Warren was floating in between groups as well as scoping new areas for next year whilst shooting photos with Melody. There was a good level of advanced intermediate to expert skiers in the group. They worked on variable terrain, steeps and powder skiing techniques mixed with some free skiing at the end of the day. Then usually everyone met at the Tram Bar for a beer or the Aerie Restaurant on the 10th floor of the Cliff Lodge with an attached lounge and Sushi Bar or the El Chanate Mexican restaurant featuring the state’s largest tequila selection and great Margheritas!

 

A few days into the trip Warren and Melody caught the bus that connects Snowbird to the very picturesque Solitude resort. About a 45 minute bus ride from Snowbird, Solitude lives up to its name. There is a real sense of calm in the silence of Solitude. With few skiers around, perfectly groomed pistes and stunning backcountry skiing, after a few hours there, it was already decided it would be a stop off on next year’s trip.

 

 

A few days into the trip Warren and Melody caught the bus that connects Snowbird to the very picturesque Solitude resort. About a 45 minute bus ride from Snowbird, Solitude lives up to its name. There is a real sense of calm in the silence of Solitude. With few skiers around, perfectly groomed pistes and stunning backcountry skiing, after a few hours there, it was already decided it would be a stop off on next year’s trip.

 

The Honeycomb area in Solitude had already been recommended to them by a friend and so they took the advice and headed up to shoot some photos and bask in the beauty. Warren and Melody were also pleased to discover that they could pass through one of the off piste gates at the top of Solitude and actually ski all the way back to Alta, off piste. Warren likened it to a similar experience as skiing off the Back Side of Mt. Fort in Verbier. Once out there they were amazed at the jaw dropping vastness of the ski area. A whole day could easily have been spent out skiing powder filled tree lines, doing back country jibbing, or just enjoying the beauty whilst taking easier lines. The scope was endless.

 

Back in Snowbird the Academy skiers were buzzing. 80% of them had already skied with the Academy before and about 50% had been on the previous Academy Japan Powder Camps and they were still blown away by what Snowbird had to offer. Snowbird is a skiers resort. The Academy found the nightlife to be better than what was expected. With bar and restaurants easy to find and having the Academy group there, a party atmosphere was always on hand!

 

We have already decided that Snowbird is on the Academy coaching calendar for 2013. The dates now confirmed as 3-13 Feb 2013. It looks like most of the Academy skiers who were there this year will be back next year. To provisionally reserve a place on the course please write to the Academy through the contact page of the website with ‘SNOWBIRD 2013′ in the subject heading.

 

We look forwadr to seeing you on next years trip! To view video blogs from the 2012 trip, click here

 

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