By 8:00 a.m., the parking lot at Snowbird was filling up. Some walked towards the plaza holding skis or snowboards. Some wore shorts, sandals and pushed baby strollers. Others carried big knives and forks.
The diversity was amazing, as the beginning of summer met the end of winter. At the upper end of the parking lot, delicious smells were wafting from a huge tent. It was the first annual "Grill On The Hill," a Barbeque Championship that was serious business. First prize for th winner was $10,000. Barbeque chefs from all over the country had come to compete for the 'quemaster' title.
People in summer clothes joined others in their Sunday best on the tram, jockeying for room with the skiers and snowboarders clad in jackets and long pants. As everyone got off the tram, they passed a model wearing next season's ski clothes, part of a photo shoot for a magazine. A dressed up wedding party celebrated next to the homey ski patrol 'shack.' On a table inside the large patrol kitchen was a gallon container of sunblock, but even the patrollers were getting sunburned under the blue and cloudless sky.
Snowbird---Skiers and snowboarders join hikers and sightseers at the top of the tram on closing day, June 22. In front, Kyle Weston, Mina Kikuchi and Shogo Fujiwara can't stop grinning after a great day on snow.
As summer-dressed people milled around the dry area near the tram, skiers and snowboarders, all with huge expectant grins, headed towards the snow that began about 70 feet away. Though the snow was a bit sketchy on most parts of the mountain, whoops of joy echoed out of the large crater on top, Mineral Basin.
It was almost as if the snow gods wanted to deliver one last gift of joy to snowriders. The snow was soft, yet so ride-able that skiers and snowboarders were delirious. The coverage was thorough; there were wide swatches of snow, and everyone was smiling.
"Oh, this is incredible. This is unbelievable. I am so glad I came," gushed Sara Milston of Ogden, after a screaming run down to the lift at the bottom of Mineral. Her snowboarder friend, John Swang of Holiday, just shook his head. "June 22. It's June 22," he said as they got on the lift.
On the Plaza, summer attractions like the bungee trampoline and inflatable kiddie rides were operating, while various local bands played.
The overheated valley was smoggy down below, greyed out and hard to see. In the clear mountain air of Snowbird, the snowy mountain peaks glowed and ski season finally came to an end.