Ogden Overlook...on Skis

Page Type Page Type: Trip Report
Location Lat/Lon: 41.19236°N / 111.88248°W
Date Date Climbed/Hiked: Jan 10, 2014
Activities Activities: Skiing

There I was...thought I was going to die.

Bored, bored and more bored on Friday; my wife, Young (tired of watching me sit) firmly suggested I try cross-country skiing as it is an, “Old-Spice type activity” all “He-men” should participate in. I’m still not sure she isn’t trying to collect insurance money but the alleged promise of nuptials after a hard day in the back-country outweighed the more certain promise of a cold and violent death.  With the trace of her kiss still warm on my lips, I rented the Nordic skis and headed for the backcountry.  I got to the Snow Basin parking lot by one, geared up by 1:30, fell on my ass by 1:31.  It’s called ice and it is slick.

I quickly discovered that cross country skiing is just like the gym but only awkward, cold, and dangerous. I made the ½ mile to Maples in just under an hour and had the choice between skiing the well-traveled and flat “stadium” or pressing for Ogden Overlook thru the trackless wilderness.  I decided a He-man-Old-Spice guy would make tracks were there were no tracks and headed to the wilderness.  Regrettably I typically use the “pregnant cow” Nordic ski method; I plunged into a couple snowbanks, backslid 40 feet down a 15-degree slope and invented a half-dozen new cusswords to adequately manifest my despair.  With my battered knees swollen, ankle twisted, dollar-store gloves soaked through, and snow imminent, I finally made it to the Ogden Overlook summit by 4:50.  I struck a hero pose on the windswept slope and realized I was watching the sun SETTING.  Crap.

As “dangerous” overtook “stupid”, I seriously began to consider how I was going to make it back and whether this was even a possibility.  No energy.  No time. No hope of making it back the 3 miles before dark.  At a complete loss for how I was going to find the motivation.  And, just as things were looking hopeless and I couldn’t go no further, a flipping enormous Moose provided me the motivation to get moving. 

Angry Moose
Yup, that's what it looked like!

Thought #1: “Got something for you---Pepper spray!”

Thought #2: “Crap, the pepper spray is on my hiking pole, you know…back in the car.”

Thought #3: “That moose has an unarmed hiker in its eye and sodomy in its heart”

Thought #4: “Time to rapidly depart the area”


I took a step, the moose followed.  Pushed another slide, moose still followed. I went a little faster and the moose paced me. Began an uncomfortable slide, push, look over shoulder rhythm but the Moose stayed right there with me following and watching the show.  It’s 15-degrees and I’m sweating buckets.  A quarter mile later, the moose finally got bored and heads into the brush

Okay, here’s the situation; it’s dark, I’m wearing sunglasses, and I’m in a forest on skis with which I have demonstrated zero competency.  By Six o’clock, it’s blacker than 4 inches up a Chilean miner’s butt and I’ve lost the trail.  I sat in a snowbank to contemplate freezing to death when I saw the lights of salvation on the next hill.  The two best and hopeful words in the whole of the English language are “Parking Lot”.  With only one last snow bank, one tiny hill I re-discovered Skis are SLICK. Slid back down the hill and into the snowbank.  I jettisoned the skis and postholed my way to the top. Salvation in a parking lot---five freezing minutes later I finally find my keys.

No nuptials at home, just a lecture on gross stupidity.  Not going to do that again.


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