I have barely been in UTAH for two days and my entire body is in pain. But its that good pain where you realise you had some of the most epic days of all time. Saturday I headed out to 8,000 feet above sea level where Leo was giving me lessons on snowkiting. For the uninformed, you hold a kite and the wind pulls you and your board along. Utah is a bit of a kiting meccha. World champions come to Utah to practice. So you harness the power of this kite with a harness, can be a pretty intense workout on your abs and legs. I got the kite up and was controlling it for a good 20 minutes or so then this massive gust of wind took me unawares and next thing you know I’m flying forward face planting the beautiful fluffy snow and being dragged by this kite across the mountainside. I frantically reach forward to get the brake line which suddenly seems so far out of reach it appears I might very well be dragged to Colorado, when success the tip of my fingers reach it and I yank the kite back into submission.
Our kiting day went for a good 7+ hours and at least 40% of that was spent untangling my kite. I also managed one more faceplant. I came to the conclusion Kiteboarding is the most frustrating sport ever. For the brief moments of flying the kite I spent hours trying to untangle it. Sure once you get good you tangle less but for learning its just vicious. Still I was pretty determined until the 7pm came round and I was exhausted and freezing cold from all the snow that decided underneath my jacket was the place be. Leo packed it in and drove us home where I tucked into the beers and stayed up till midnight for some reason. Drinking at high altitude means quicker intoxication
Sleep was AWESOME. I still haven’t seen the jetlag. I slept in till 10am and woke up to a traditional asian breakfast before Leo gave me a ride to Sundance ski resort. It was Sunday now and everything where I am staying is closed, even the grocery stores. Because its Mormon country and they were all at four hours of church. So that meant the ski hill which had just got a foot of overnight snow was virtually empty. Seriously, why would god want you to spend four hours of your life on a beautiful Sunday praying? Surely he gave us life so we could enjoy it? Well I wasn’t going to complain showing up for a midday session. Since I haven’t boarded in a year I wanted to take it easy for the first few days. I won’t lie I was nervous, really nervous. I wondered if I’d forgotten how to board since the day before I had tried and couldn’t even turn on edge. But in my defense it was really powdery, icy... yea thats my excuse.
So I meant to start on a green run however missed the dropoff and ended up higher up the mountain where I took a blue down. I shouldn’t have worried, it all came back and I sped down the mountain hitting a huge beautiful pocket of fresh powder that made me remember why I loved spring boarding so much. Also I still found it hard to believe that it was Sunday after lunch on an epic day and I was skiing fresh lines still. Anyway a couple more blue runs and I was already exhausted I hit the chair lift once more and decided next run was the one before beer o’clock. So I was riding with a really nice local guy who was actually from France and he informed me the top of the mountain had a nice little restaurant which sells beer. Although beer in Utah is sold at 3.2% thanks to the mormons!!! But the altitude offsets it. So I parked in at the bar after taking in the awesome view and downed three beers quite quickly. As I was leaving the restaurant this woman waves at me “HI Amanda” I was dumbstruck. The whole four people I know in Utah would have been on the hill riding with me, who the hell was this random lady.
“Its Nicky’s friend!!”
“I have no idea who you or nicky are”
“Your name is Amanda right and your on the racing team?”
“My name is Amanda but im most definitely not on the team”
So we laughed about the random coincidence and said our farewells.
It was after my three beers and short rest I felt confident enough to take on the black bowl, it was still packed high with powder. Not sure if that was the best idea, my legs screamed at me to stop after a few minutes but I was determined. I got to the bottom, a really long way away and realised I was on the back side of the mountain and needed to get back up the lift. Doh... I wasn’t sure if I had another run in me, but living in permanent summer these kind of opportunities don’t come around often.
It was my last run after that, I went back to the bar down the bottom and drank a few beers waiting for Leo to pick me up. I fell asleep not long after for about 45 minutes and then woke up and we went out for some awesome Vietnamese food.