Ode to Dawn Patrol
Megan Michelson has been making visits to the Wasatch to work on her segment in our upcoming flick. You’ve got to get up early to get the goods these days. Here is Megan’s “Ode to Dawn Patrol” and some photo’s of Megan from that day.
It’s 6:00 a.m. when we pull up to the trailhead in Little Cottonwood Canyon, the nearly-full moon still lingering in the sky. I throw on my down jacket and gloves and slowly peel myself out of the truck. Why didn’t we stop for coffee, I wonder? Nobody says anything; they just go about their movements—cramming cold feet into telemark boots, slapping skins onto skis, clicking on headlamps, shedding layers. Within minutes, I’m sliding along the skin track, set by some crazy fool up even earlier than us. For the next hour, I’m alone with my breath. Kick turn, glide, kick turn. The darkness no longer feels foreboding. By 7 a.m., we’re at the top of the peak, overloooking Utah’s Wasatch range. The lights of nearby Alta Ski Resort are just starting to come to life. Somewhere, down in the valley of Salt Lake City, somebody is making a pot of coffee. But not us. I add a layer of clothes, rip off my skins, and buckle my boots. The sun is just peaking out over the ridge, like an egg-over-easy spilling yolk onto toast. The first run—with creamy snow, virgin light, and shadows that dance across the valley like ballerinas—tastes even better than coffee. These photos from that day were taken by the one and only Jay Beyer, a photographer who’s sometimes the crazy fool setting the skin track even earlier than you. —Megan Michelson
Megan can be found blogging at thewinterlife.com when she’s not stealing salt and pepper, hearts and your line down the mountain.