World Cup Finals - Deer Valley
The highlight of our time here at Deer Valley was seeing the World Cup aerial and dual moguls finals. For both events, the qualifying jumps and runs took place during the day, so it was really cool to see the world's greatest skiers in action as we were skiing / on the lifts.
The aerials event on Friday, February 7th, was mind-blowing. To see, in person, the scale of the jump is downright scary. The amount of cajones it takes to go straight down a steep hill, launch off a super gnarly ramp, execute an uber dangerous move, land and stop on a pretty short "run way," is incomprehensible and literally death defying.
These men / women / kids are freak'n nuts. And kids they are, as some of them are only 15-years-old. On a side note, during the day, we were on the lift with one of the coaches of the US ski team, and we were talking about the aerial competitors. He forbade his kid from being an aerial skier as he said (for the aerial team) there were concussions on a weekly basis. Yikes...
That Friday night, after another great day of skiing, I went back on the mountain to watch the aerial finals. 1der was too tired and didn't want to go.
From the main lodge, I took the Magic Carpet, then transfer to a chair lift. It was really weird getting on and off a lift without skis. The exit was particularly strange as I had to stand up like I would normally get off a lift, but then run off the ramp. It was actually pretty dicey with my knee.
I parked myself right under the tall, stilted camera platform for NBC sports. They were broadcasting the event live, and because I had the same POV (just lower) as the camera operator, I was in the perfect place to watch. The platform also protected me from the crowd of about 4,500 people.
Admittedly, you get a much better view watching it on TV, but there's nothing like being there live. Here's an official video of the winner:
Unfortunately, the skiing on Saturday the 8th pretty much sucked. There were SOOOOO many people. As in long lift lines. We never ski on the weekends because of this, but since we lost two days this week, we decided to give it a shot.
Isn't it supposed to never be crowded at Deer Valley because they limit ticket sales? People were saying this is the thee most crowded they've ever seen it in the 25 years they've been skiing there. So what gives?
The storm that dumped the last couple days also hammered Alta and Snowbird. There were some avalanches on Little Cottonwood Canyon Road which forced closure of the only road up to those areas. This meant everyone with pent-up "I've got to ski" energy swarmed to the surrounding areas and packed them out. Guess the ticket sales limit at Deer Valley is set at "super crowded."
For those who couldn't get out of the canyon, anyone who was stuck at Alta / Snowbird was sheltering-in-place in a historic Interlodge period of 52 hours. That's a long time to be Interlodged, which is a situation where the avalanche danger is so extreme, being outside of a designated building or in a vehicle is literally illegal. Sometimes people are stuck in cramped basements during Interlodge periods. Now that would be horrible.
In spite of the crowds, we were able to see the mogul competitors running their qualifying rounds. These men / women / kids are nuts as well. At one point, I stopped perpendicular to the course to watch. As the racers came down, I could hear (extremely loud) thump, thump thump. This was the sound of the racers slamming their bodies / knees against the moguls. I cringed thinking about how, in less than five years, they probably won't have any cartilage remaining in their knees from all that slamming.
That evening, we headed up early to the spectator's area. Even though it was going to be cold standing, at night, in the snow with 15°F temperatures, there was no way I would let 1der miss this event. I knew there would be a huge crowd, so we left Beastie at 6:00pm for the 7:30 pm starting time. Because I watched the qualifiers earlier in the day, I knew where we needed to stand in order to get the best viewing spot: perpendicular to the course at the bottom, right where the racers stopped. For anyone who wants to attend one of these events live, do not stand right at the bottom facing the course. You will get sprayed with snow every time the racers come in.
Huge throngs of people piled in. The announcer said the crowd was over 5,000 and growing. We were settled in the perfect place, and the competition began. We had a great view of the bottom part of the course, and the racers came barreling in and stopping right in front of us.
There were giant monitors that displayed the live NBC Sports broadcast. It was great having monitors since no one could see any details when the racers were navigating the top of the course. We had no idea just how strategic was our viewing spot. It turns out we were at the edge of the camera frame where they interviewed the racers, which meant we were on TV for every race.
It was hilarious! 1der was hamming it up for the camera and constantly making these funny, over-the-top cheering gestures and noises. I'm laughing just thinking about this as I'm writing.
As the evening progressed, the people around us were edging towards us, horning into our spots. They wanted in on the TV action after seeing 1der and his antics. We were edged over by about six feet by the time the event ended.
We left as soon as the final run finished. I knew from the night before that walking down the mountain was very slippery and super dicey, and it was even more scary when thousands of people were coming down at the same time. Luckily, I had crampon spikes on my boots and had no problems getting down.
We got back to Beastie quickly and took off before the traffic got bad. Since we moved to the other RV park (River's Edge) the night before, we were "home" in less than 20 minutes.
What great timing. Had we not delayed our departure from San Francisco, we would have missed all of this, our first World Cup. We need to plan next year's trip around this event. Definitely a must see!
A note about the River's Edge RV Park: We had a nice, relaxing stay here. While the "plush factor" pales in comparison to the Mountain Valley RV park, the bathrooms (stalls of showers and toilets) were very clean, and the management was nice.
One very important factoid that's important to point out, especially for anyone thinking of staying here: it is located directly at the base of the giant Jordanelle Dam. And I mean directly, to the point where we discussed, without any stress or worry (seriously), how we'd be done in less than five seconds if the dam broke. The great news, beside the fact that dam didn't fail 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼, is we were 10 minutes closer to the Mayflower entrance / Jordanelle Gondola than from the Mountain View RV park, so it was totally worth the risk. 🤣
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