I hadn't been to Solitude in a few years. This past weekend, we made a point of making it here. I was under the assumption that Soli isn't that great of place if there hasn't been fresh snow. I was proven wrong. Also, now that I've advanced a bit as a skier, I'm finding out just how fun & challenging the terrain at Solitude can be.
Since the last bit of snow for the Wasatch was a week ago, I was skeptical about the conditions at Solitude: usually the front-side is icy and wind-blown. But we remained optimistic and got tickets to ride anyway (free tip: military members get $45 lift tickets for either full-day or half-day riding. What a sweet deal!). We usually make our way back to Honeycomb Canyon, but both the Sunrise and Summit chair--the main gateway to Honeycomb--was out of comimssion due to a power outage. We talked to a friendly lifty who told us to get on the Powderhorn II chair and get into Honeycomb through a gate there. We obliged him, but holy crap...what a slow piece of junk that Powerhorn lift is! Might as well bring a magazine if you ride it...it's slow.
We took the gate into Honeycomb and traversed out to skier's left into some milder terrain in Honeycomb. We were treated to some great, steep glades with plenty of snow and coverage. We got in plenty of soft turns, then were dumped onto the exit trail. After a few seconds of riding the exit trail out of Honeycomb, we ran across another gate that took us back into even more terrain, with some chutes filled in with plenty of snow. We lapped this the entire day, getting our fill of awesome, soft, snowy turns until the gates finally went up.
To warm down for the day, we decided to take a few groomer runs. One thing I've learned from Soli: their groomers are steep! Of course, the challenge is welcomed to a Midwest skier, but holy wow...probably the steepest groomer I've been on. We took some high-speed groomers the rest of the day, until we had to pick our way back to the parking lot.
Solitude would be an amazing resort on a powder day. It's pretty dang good for non-powder days, too--mostly because of Honeycomb--but I would imagine the steep terrain on the frontside as well would be amazing covered up with some fresh snow. Soli solidified itself as #4 in my list of favorite Utah resorts that day, and I'll surely be returning.