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A Workation at Alta

During the winter season of 2009-2010, I lived and worked at Watson Shelter, Alta, Utah. It was an experience I am very thankful I had. I skied nearly everyday, often on great powder; worked alongside and came to know remarkable people. I miss the lifestyle, despite its’ challenges. To get home I put skins on my telemark skis and climbed halfway up the mountain. It would take me about a half an hour. My bathroom served as my darkroom;  In return, I awoke to spectacular views and often had first tracks on powder days.

Anyway, I have just returned from a visit to Alta and am acutely reminded of how much I love the people and the place. I was immediately put back to work during most afternoons, in exchange for lift tickets and food. I was surrounded by a radiant group of people, active and living what they are passionate about.

I stayed with my dear friend, Julie, aka Willis. Here she is hiking to Wildcat Chairlift.
I had the great fortune to stay with dearest Julie, aka Willis. Here she is hiking to Wildcat Chairlift, truly in her backyard.
A photograph of 'sparklies,'  a technical term coined by Kerri. One of many spectacular visual phenomena that Alta presents.
A photograph of ‘sparklies,’ one of many spectacular visual phenomena at Alta.
A look toward Mt. Superior. I have yet to ski this mountain. It was a line that got away and one that I hope to get to one day in the not so distant future.
A look toward Mt. Superior. I have yet to climb and ski this mountain adjacent Alta. It is a line that got away from me when I lived at Alta, one that I hope to do in the not so distant future.
Kerri, a dear friend and reformed Texan, making a latte at Baldy Brews inside Watson Shelter.
Kerri, a dear friend and reformed Texan, making a latte at Baldy Brews inside Watson Shelter.
Talia, behind the counter at Baldy Brews. Talia part times on the mountain. She is also a great and driven  musician, the engine behind the band, Marinade. If you can see them live, do so. They put on a really funky, bluesy, soulful show-http://www.marinademusic.com
Talia, behind the counter at Baldy Brews. Talia part times on the mountain. She is also a great and driven musician, the engine behind the band, Marinade. If you can see them live, do so. They put on a funky, bluesy, soulful show-http://www.marinademusic.com
Jude
Jude, the head and heart of Watson Shelter.
Keith, young aspiring actor and floor manager.
Keith, young aspiring actor and floor manager.
Chip R. and Katie behind the line at Watson's.
Chip R. and Katie behind the line at Watson’s.
I had the good fortune of chasing after Chip R. on skis. He has been skiing this mountain for more years than I have been alive and will always find the tucked away stashes. At one time during our tour, he stopped by a tree, dug into the snow and pulled out a beer. I am left wondering where else on the mountain he is keeping his beer cold.
I had the good fortune of chasing after Chip R. on skis. He has been skiing this mountain for more years than I have been alive and will always find the tucked away stashes of powder. At one time during our tour, he stopped by a tree, dug into the snow and pulled out a beer. I am left wondering where else on the mountain he is keeping his beer cold.
I was also very lucky to ski with Kerri's husband, Dave. He is a brilliant man. Such a nice guy as well. He loves Texas, where he is from and where he lives half the year. He also loves Alta as much as anyone. Both he and Kerri have such big hearts.
I was also very lucky to ski with Kerri’s husband, Dave. He is a brilliant man. Such a nice guy as well. He loves Texas, where he is from and where he lives half the year. He also loves Alta as much as anyone.
Wildcat
This is from Wildcat Chair on my last day at Alta. Snow was accumulating at about an inch an hour. These were conditions that Alta is famous for.
After Willis and I hiked the shoulder off Wildcat, we skied into good snow. Visibility was about five feet, however.
After Willis and I hiked the shoulder off Wildcat, we skied into very good snow and into very poor visibility.
The view uphill from Watson's. Such a playground. Just a fraction of Alta as well.
The view uphill from Watson’s. Such a playground! Just a fraction of the terrain at Alta.
One of my last photographs at Alta before heading down to the airport. The road was going to close for avalanche control at 3 and I would have missed my flight if I waited until after it reopened. Leaving behind such incredible conditions was not easy.
One of my last photographs at Alta, made just before heading down the valley, just before the road closed for avalanche control. I would have missed my flight if I waited until after it reopened. Leaving behind such incredible conditions was not an easy decision.
Banking in toward Santa Barbara on my return home. Such a good trip. Such remarkably good fortune to have these great people and Wasatch mountains in my life. So grateful!!! Thank you, everyone at Alta (and not just those whom I photographed) for making me feel so at home and for being so inspiring.
Banking in toward Santa Barbara on my return home. Such a remarkable trip. Such good fortune to have these great people and stunning mountains in my life. So grateful!!! Thank you, everyone at Alta (and not just those whom I photographed) for making me feel so at home. And for being so inspirational.

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