Snowbird, Utah and the Cliff Lodge

All I can say is: Holy. Crap!

The one-line summary is that I am so coming back here again. It’s absolutely stunning. Scenery totally abounds: unfortunately I didn’t carry the camera in my pocket on the way from Salt Lake City to Snowbird so I didn’t snap any shots, and the camera on my phone simply won’t do the scenery justice at all. Utah has some truly magnificent mountains, and the colours of the trees in autumn are simply spectacular: you get ranges from that pine-tree forest green, to near-tropical darker shades of green, but also very pretty browns and yellows which just aren’t seen in Australia. It’s a breathtaking sight if you don’t see mountains and pretty green-yellow shades very often, which I don’t.

As for the Cliff Lodge where the ICFP conference is being held and also where I’m staying, well … I’ve never seen a better hotel bargain in my life. This place is very much up there amongst the more luxurious hotels I’ve stayed at, at around three cheaper than what I would expect to pay (especially considering Snowbird is a ski town, and ski towns aren’t renown for being cheap). My room has two double beds, a huge desk, a refrigerator, two plonk-your-arse-in chairs surrounding a posh marbly table, a full-size wardrobe, a sit-down place to put on your shoes, and a freakin’ leather sofa. Not bad considering it’s less than $100/night. The view out the room looks out onto the mountains, too, which is really damn nice: I promise I’ll take a photo tomorrow when the sun’s up. Even cooler, the bathroom has a clear window out into the room (though there’s a shower curtain you can zip across if you want some privacy), and from some conversations I overheard over dinner, that’s so you can have a shower and enjoy the mountain view at the same time. Very clever. Must remind self to design clear shower window out into room with a mountain view if I ever get around to designing a house (along with designing the mountain view, of course).

The skiing here looks pretty damn awesome too: you can see the ski trails carved out on the mountain even though there’s no snow. Ski bunnies, we absolutely have to come here. The skiing looks totally carving. I swear I’d be missing a day or two of the conference this week if it were still snowing here …

After basking in the awe for about half an hour after I arrived at the Cliff Lodge, I de-plane-ified a bit (had shower etc) and then met up with Manuel and Gabi for dinner. We found a pretty decent little bistro downstairs named the Keyhole, and I did the traditional American thing and got me-self one Angus Steak Burger. It Was Good. Along with burger was a Pilsner Urquell: let it be said that Urquell was also good, but drinking beer when you’re 8,000 feet makes it noticeably harder to breathe properly, or at least it did for me. Don didn’t come to dinner since he didn’t get much sleep from Sydney to Los Angeles, so he crashed at about 6 o’clock. Manuel and Gabi didn’t get a whole of sleep either, but they appeared in good spirits. Leon (their one-and-a-half year old son) was also looking in good spirits, and was being very cute and wanted me to read him a German picture book. Now I know that the German word for ‘bear’ is ‘bear’.

So now it’s post-dinner, and I’m just listening to some Lamb on the laptop waiting for my big bag to arrive from Delta: hopefully it’ll get here in about half an hour. So far, the international flight was fine, domestic flights sucked, but Snowbird and the Cliff Lodge has totally made up for that misadventure. I am so going to use the Cliff Spa while I’m here — in fact, I’d probably be there right now if I had my board shorts … aww jeah, it’s looken’ good.

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