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Here’s to resort towns, direct flights and El Nina.

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My first run of the season was over New Year’s weekend in West Virginia’s Snowshoe resort. Not a bad place for Southeast corn. Last year, Snowshoe saw more of the white stuff than a number of western resorts. No so this year. The first day of 2011 found the lifts smeared in fog and a 45-degree rain testing the limits of their riders’ DWR finished jackets.

I don’t expect the same come this week in Park City, where I plan to bounce along three of the major bumps that make up this spine of snow covered rock in as many days. Solitude, The Canyons and Park City Mountain Resort are all reporting pretty damn nice conditions with more on the way and when we’re there.

I’m not going to make a beeline toward the backcountry stashes, mind you. I’m just not there yet. I plan to work my way into some of the lesser bowls. I hope. It all depends on how hour five of day two decides to treat my quadriceps. Yet, for those skiers and boarders who still find plenty of reason to slash through the frontcountry, is there a better kind of pain?

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