We wrote about Interlodge (yes, we think Interlodge should be capitalized) several years ago when yours truly was Interlodged for 52 hours straight at Alta, Utah. As I begin this article we (my wife, son and his wife, daughter, her husband and their 5 month old son and I) are Interlodged** (follow the ** to the David Foster Wallace-style footnote on the misnomer nature of the word) once again in Alta. As a reminder or for the uninitiated, Interlodge means you are not allowed outside for any reason because of the avalanche danger. Now we haven’t done an exhaustive study, but Alta and Snowbird are among just a few areas in North America that experience this Interlodge thing.
For the last several days the weather forecasts put Alta in the cross hairs of an “atmospheric river” with copious amounts of snow predicted. (Now we don’t know about the rest of you, but this “atmospheric river” thing seems like a new-fangled way to say “Holy s**t Batman, there is a storm a’coming.”) Despite the forecast, for the first two days we only got snow amounts that would make Killington proud – 12 inches over 36 hours. That changed New Year’s Eve – 14 inches in 12 hours. Typically that puny amount (for Alta) of snow would not cause Interlodge, but this particular atmospheric river is (sit down because here comes another new-fangled weather nerd expression) a “Pineapple Express.” This is an atmospheric river that brings moisture from Hawaii to the West Coast/Rockies area, hence this particular snowfall is heavy.
Waterlogged snow on top of the 225 inches of snow we have received thus far means one thing and one thing only – avalanches! And avalanche it did. It proceeded to snow all New Year’s Day and night with totals exceeding 40 inches. There was a slim hope on New Year’s Day that we would be released to ski, but that was erased mid-morning with reports that the Alta ski patrol were able to release destructive avalanches with ease. Upon that news, we settled into the Interlodge routine – catch up on the inbox disaster; watch a football game you could care less about; try to read your book; and do a deep dive into the fridge and pantry to see what can be thrown together for meals.
I have been Interlodged with some miserable souls who shall remain nameless. Oh screw that notion – my brother and my wife suck at Interlodge! They pace around and insist that we must be able to walk down to the end of the driveway. But in many ways Interlodge is wonderful – it forces one to slow down. Naps from folks who never nap have been recorded and nonreaders discover the wonder of books, or magazines or at least paper ski maps.
And then there is inevitably that magical moment (this instance after 36 hours) when Interlodge is lifted. Interlodge is always accompanied with the road up to Alta/Snowbird being closed so those of us who live up here get a couple hours of skiing joined only by fellow folks who were Interlodged before the city folk can make their way up to the ski areas. The snow was indeed a tad heavy but Alta heavy snow is lighter than most.
Alta has done its own short movie on Interlodge featuring our very own co-founder… Alta Steeped in Tradition Episode 9 Interlodge
Be Well; Ski Well.
**So being married to an English teacher, every once in a while I dive into the world of grammar. The word” Interlodge” makes no sense when one consults a dictionary. I started by looking up “inter.” That pulled up the definition – “place (a corpse) in a grave or tomb, typically with funeral rites.” Mmm…while Interlodge has its frustrating moments, that seemed a tad overboard. The prefix “inter” is defined a little less darkly. It, logically, means “between” or “among’ or “in the midst of.” So now we are getting somewhere – “Interlodge” means between or among lodges. But wait, that is exactly where we are not allowed to go when we are Interlodged. That would mean we would be outside. So…the correct term should be Intralodge. I tried calling the Alta town office during this Interlodge to discuss this revelation with them. For some reason they seemed otherwise occupied.