Salt Lake City 2.14.2003

What did you do for Valentine's day?
Well, some would do silly things like buying diamond rings for their girlfriends/waifs, some will take their girlfriends out for a nice dinner, some will bring flowers at home, some will try to start new relationship by sending flowers ... What's right or what's wrong? Who am I to judge this?

I think the best thing to do on Valentine's day is to go back to your first love! Before the scuba, before the firmware and hardware, before the women, my first love was snow skiing! That's where I went for Valentine's day! I haven't done this for so long and it felt so good to do it again.


Day 1

I had an early flight so I had to wake up really early and go to the airport. My flight was at about 7 or so, so I had to get up at about 4 am and drive to the airport. I could not ask anybody for a ride so I parked my car in the airport parking lot. I had Richard offering to take me to the airport but I couldn't wake up anybody at 4 to take me to the airport. I just couldn't!

The flight was without any surprises and I had to change in Cincinnati but it was not a big deal since the plane just stopped in Cincinnati but it continued to Slat Lake City (SLC). This was the firs time when I had to change a plane to the ... same plane. I never had to stop with the plane in a city and had to continue with the same plane. Oh well, there is a first for everything.

I got in SLC way early, or at least that's how I consider it when I had to wake up at 4 AM. At 11 AM I was already down in SLC and waiting for Doru and Laura. They were arriving at 12 so I didn't had to wait much for them. I wrote a letter on my computer, I watched the ladies, the normal stuff you do in an airport when you get there.

At 12 ish, Doru and Laura arrived and we went to get the rental car. Doru went in and I think they had to tell him the story of the life of the car because he NEVER came out. After about 30 minutes finally he comes out and tells Laura and me that everything is OK and we get in the car and we drive to the hotel.

SLC is a square town. Everything is in Cartesian coordinates. Imagine that an addres will be given to you not as: "1241 Sparkle Berry street" but as "5535 S Temple street, 3214 W st.". Probably at first you would think it is a bad joke but no, it is real. It even makes sense after a couple of days!

We got in to our nice hotel and we got to our room and as Doru and Laura are, we got in a bout 35s on the road again. It is so nice to be with them. When I am alone I do nothing, I just get in my hotel and go to sleep. We decided to go visit the places where we will ski tomorrow.

We went to Park City and Alta.

Park City is more like a comercial, tourist town with salesmen that want to sell you time sharing condos and main street restaurants. It is small but nice, You can see some pictures on the pictures section but not much. We also checked out the visitor center and we found out about the slopes and the snow conditions all around.

Visitors centers are another Laura invention that I learned to appreciate. You can get there, get maps and all the local news for free and have people dying to talk with you. Pretty cool!

After Park City we went to see Alta, another, less touristy place in the mountains, well, let's just say for lack of word, that it was in another fjord.

I realized I didn't talk at all about SLC.

SLC is a town founded in a volcano. Yes, that's right. The town sits in the hole of an old volcano ant there are mounts all around. This is not a figure of speech! There are mountains all around!
Each of the ski places are in the mountains and they are all almost in different directions.
Sunsets are pretty because you have mountains all around and you see the sun getting down in the mountains.

Back to the story.

Park City was nice but Alta was awesome, with a lot of snow and cool slopes so we decide to go to Alte the next day. Another cool thing we saw at Alta at about 7 PM was an animal that looked like a fox but much bigger walking on the side of the road. Yes, it was a wolf, and even if Doru doesn't believe it, it really was a wolf!

We got back late and had dinner and turned in early since the three of us got up early.


Day 2

We got up pretty early and Laura tossed us out of the room since she wanted to prepare for the communication conference she had to attend. Oh well, what could we do, we went rented skis and head for the mountains.

As I said, we went to Alta to ski.
We got out skis, we got out ski passes and we were ready.

It was a great sunny day and as soon as we got there we got on the ski lift and there we went!

You will hear a lot of people saying "The snow in Utah is the best in the world". I always believed them but common, snow is snow! Well, that's not true! I have to admit, Snow in Utah is phenomenal. It really is dry, powder snow. Imagine the snow in your dreams and boost it up 10 steps. Then you will be about at half how good the snow in SLC is.

We skied all day on sun and fog. Probably as high as we were, the fog was actually clouds.

It was great. We skied pretty good. I haven't touch the white stuff for about 3 years but is was like riding a bicycle al over again! It felt pretty good although at the end of the day out legs where on fire and we couldn't walk anymore.

We got to the hotel; pretty late since the ski lifts close at 4.30 and we crashed in the hotel room ... where Laura give us the cold shoulder since she had to prepare more for her exposé tomorrow. ... So, what do you think two guys will do when the only woman they are with give them the cold shoulder? Of course, go to the bar and drink. Doru didn't had much but I had 3 nice gin and tonic drinks and I was starting to feel good.

Amazingly enough Laura's PHD advisor passed through the bar and since Doru knew her we started doing a little bit of conversation. Probably I forgot to mention but Laura was her at a communication convention. It was not fair trying to talk with those people... I am sure now I am one of the cases of study. Probably from now one you will hear talking in the communication literature about the "Vlad" case.

Anyway, Sandra was great, a very nice, happy and talkative woman that I liked a lot. She even invited us to the dance party tomorrow night (Sunday). She started by saying "of course you guys are not in to dancing but maybe you will like this ...". Doru and I really love to dance so of course we got pretty excited about getting to this party.


Day 3

Today, out plan was Snowbird. Well, of course, what you plan at home it doesn't work when you get there. At snowbird there was high wind and even if we tried to do a couple of runs it was impossible to ski on the slopes. Most ski lifts were closed because of the wind. The wind was really strong so we decided to go to Alta since we were protected from the win by the mountains. ... Well, that's what we thought.

As soon as we got to Alta it started to snow heavily. What do I mean by heavily? I think, 50 mph winds with blobs of snow hitting you on each surface of your body that was not covered.

I didn't had ski goggles ... that didn't last for long ... I had to buy some because it was impossible to see anything even if you were not facing the wind. The day was dark and cloudy. It was really dark!

We started skiing some other slopes like the day before and the snow was fantastic! Each time we got on the ski lift our previous tracks disappears. Yes, it was snowing heavily. At one point it started lightning striking through the clouds. We were at 11000 ft so we were in the clouds! You could not believe how 200 skiers can get on the same slope and head toward the valley! Everybody was skiing shoulder to shoulder on narrow slopes. It was phenomenal. It was like animal released from a barn. Everybody in the same direction, everybody with the same purpose: get to lower grounds!

It didn't lasted for long and we could continue our day of skiing after we had lunch at the lodge.

We stopped skiing at 4.30 as usual since the last ski lift was closing at 4.30.

We got to the hotel after about one hour or so and we went to have a nice dinner at a steak house. Pretty good food although ... like in a steak house ... expensive.

At 9 PM we went to the dance and it was great. They even played two swing melodies and I found a girl that was a great dancer so I danced with her. It was great. I think everybody had great fun! We left at about 11 and we dive in the beds.


Day 4

Last day of skiing. ... All good things ...

Oh well, it was fun but it had to stop! This time we had the chance to go to Snowbird and to see how is to get in the tram (telecabina). The day was gorgeous! Nice sunny and warm. We considered skiing in T-shirts, it was that worm.

Great day of skiing.

We did all bunch of slopes, trying to stay on the blue slopes (medium) and not to hit the advanced ones (black). Of course Doru HAD to try some black slopes! Nothing we couldn't handle but it was not such fun as on the blue slopes.

We stopped skiing late since it was the salt day of skiing and Doru wanted to ski to the max. ... I couldn't even take any action shots of him because he never stopped. Oh, well, I had fun too what can I say!

After we got back to the hotel, we went out an got some nice dinner at a local grill. Great stuff I have to admit even though they didn't served any alcohol.


Day 5

The beginning of the end.

We all left the hotel early since our flights were in the morning. Doru and Laura had a flight 50 minutes before me so after I left them I had to wait just a little bit and got on the plane.

The plane was very small but at least it was not a propeller plane.

I have seen on TV that the hole east coast had snow problems and Including Raleigh there is snow on the ground. In Raleigh when yo have .5 inches of snow everything stops and there is a eggs and bread frenzy at the grocery store. Everybody goes and buys milk, eggs and bread. Those people are crazy.

Fortunately there was no problem with any of my flights so I got home at the right time and I got my car from the parking lot an head home. In Raleigh I heard they had an snow storm end all the roads were blocked for a day. I guess I missed that one to. Last time I missed the ice storm when I went to the Florida Keys. Oh well, you can set your weather radio according to my vacations ...



They are right! Yes, the people who say that the snow in Utah is phenomenal are right. You can't compare it to anything else.

Of course Doru and Laura were at nice as usual and I enjoyed hanging out with them. I thing I am going to DC next time with them. I think is next months ... more pictures to come more adventures to read about...

In the mean time here are the pictures from my trip. Enjoy and ... go ski in Utah!







Updated February 24, 2003 1:09 AM by Vlad Pambucol