Location: Big Cottonwood Canyon, Utah
Resorts: 3 out of 50
Our third stop on the 100 Days of Winter roadtrip was Solitude, located a short drive up the scenic Big Cottonwood Canyon. Most of the Snow Junkies had departed that morning, muttering something about jobs, so it was up to me, Coco, and Snooze to soldier on. These mountains aren’t going to ride themselves.
Solitude on a Monday lives right up to its name. We found VIP parking close to the lodge and jumped immediately onto a chair, a trend that would continue right on through the day.
We started the day riding the bowl off of the Powderhorn II lift. Check out Paradise Lost, Rhapsody, and Vertigo for Solitude’s most accessible expert terrain. The bumps were a bit firm in the morning, but that didn’t stop us from taking a few laps.
By the afternoon, temperatures had reached around forty degrees. That’s right. 40 degrees in January in the Wasatch Mountains. I don’t know if it’s typical, but we were more than happy to settle on the picnic benches at The Roundhouse for a quick beer.
Our favorite part of Solitude? Easy. Honeycomb Canyon topped the list. We took our first run down the sun softened Black Forest. The entrance was a little sketchy due to lack of snow – I had to take off my snowboard and hike down about ten feet, but there were turns to be had under the trees.
Our second lap into Honeycomb Canyon was via the Black Bess traverse, located off the Summit Chair. Again, I cursed my snowboard which only let me get to Volitare (or Prince of Wales?). We still had a blast dropping some of the smaller rocks and even finding untouched snow.
Snooze got the heads up from a Solitude employee that the Cottom Bottom Inn served the best garlic burger in Salt Lake City. Located at the bottom of the Cottonwood Canyon right before you get onto I-215, this tiny joint is a Snow Junkies selection for Awesome Apres-Ski. There’s no word to describe the garlic cheesburger other than foodgasm. Wash it down with a pitcher of Wasatch and kick back to watch some UFC fights.
Hero of the Day:
The battery on our chase vehicle is giving out, which we now know since the car died in the Solitude parking lot. Lucky for us, this guy from Canyon Transportation came to our rescue. Check them out next time you need a ride from airport up the resorts. We’ll vouch that their drivers rock.
The Cheat Sheet:
Solitude Mountain Resort
12000 East Big Cottonwood Canyon Road
110 West 9400 South
Sandy, UT 84070-2633
Cottom Bottom Inn
2820 East 6200 South
Salt Lake City, UT