There wasn’t a trace of natural snow on the hills surrounding Bryce for our visit, but it was obvious that Santa’s band of snowmaking elves had been very busy of late. If Colorado can brag of champagne powder, perhaps Bryce should tout its snow as machine made moonshine? I don’t think the marketing department would buy that goofy suggestion, but the label would match the humorous theme of the area’s trail names, such as Revenuer’s Run and Redeye.
Six out of Bryce’s eight trails were open with good cover for our visit. And as always at Bryce, the crowds were very minimal. Even by the time I finally hit the slopes around 10:30 a.m. on a Holiday Monday there was still powdery corduroy to slice up on the edge of the Bootlegger trail. The Locher Bowl also held some particularly excellent man-made conditions all day. In fact, only White Lightning, a nice fall line run, remained as the last unopened significant trail, but not for long. Bryce was blowing snow on it all day Monday in preparation for an opening the next day. The longest lift line we saw consisted of about 20 people at 2 p.m.
Around mid-day I took a lift ride with Jack H., a Bryce regular and homeowner in the area. He takes advantage of a one-price membership package that covers unlimited skiing and golfing privileges throughout the year. Jack told me that the youth ski team at Bryce has seen a surge of interest in recent years and has about 50 new members just this year. There was a nice sized group from the team running gates on the Bootlegger trail at times on Monday.
There was also a nice sized group of regular fun seekers testing Bryce’s tubing park, which was in full operation near the beginner area. It is served by a kid-friendly carpet lift.
This wasn’t my first group trip to Bryce. I always enjoy the low stress, country club atmosphere to be found there. Manfred Locher, manager of group sales, does a great job and it’s hard to beat the competitive prices, small crowds, and good conditions that make Bryce Resort an ideal ski area for families and groups of mixed abilities.
My group from St. James Church likes to take a group meal after these outings for a chance to share some fellowship and savor the highlights of the day. On the way home we stopped at the Denny’s next to the Bryce exit (#273) off I-81, mainly because it has a private dining room large enough to handle our group. But believe it or not, I thought their menu special, Virginia home-style fried chicken, was tasty and satisfying, not unlike the fine day we’d just completed on the nearby slopes.
Husband, father and retired civilian employee of the Department of Navy, Jim Kenney is a D.C. area native and has been skiing recreationally since 1967. Jim's ski reporting garnered the 2009 West Virginia Division of Tourism's Stars of the Industry Award for Best Web/Internet/E-Magazine Article.