A couple months ago Newsweek magazine rated UCSB the nation’s #1 surf and ski school. You might have seen the ranking; it was accompanied by that classic picture of UCSB taken from out beyond campus point. It’s an impressive picture, our campus in all its sun-drenched glory, surrounded on two sides by water. I like to show it to my friends at better schools in shittier climates. “Yeah,” I tell them, “you might go to Yale, but do you know what girls walk around wearing in weather like this?”

I don’t know about the rankings, though. Best surfing school is a stretch, and best ski school is an outright lie. The magazine cited Mammoth as our local resort, ignoring the fact that Mammoth is five hours away. My family lives in Park City, Utah, home to three world-class ski resorts. I have lived in ski towns; Santa Barbara is no ski town.

I went back to Park City for Winter Break. I left town Dec. 20, the same day that the biggest swell our state has seen in the last two years arrived. I was so bummed to be leaving, after a whole fall of flat nothing, Devereux was finally doing its Devereux thing – big fast walls with sections of tube. I didn’t want to leave, but my mom insisted that I make it back in time for some Christmas party that we go to each year. Driving down the 101 was torture, watching spot after spot going off, knowing it would be two weeks until my next session. I soothed my pain with the thought of all the skiing I’d be doing in Utah.

My first few days back I got my ass kicked all over the mountain by my brother. This kid can ski; he goes to a real ski college, tucked into a little hippie Colorado mountain town at the base of Crested Butte. For the last few years he has been entering extreme competitions trying to launch a career as a professional skier. So far the only metal he has won is a titanium tibea.

It had flurried some during my first week, but none of those storms that earn Utah the license plate slogan “Greatest Snow on Earth.” Then, on New Year’s Eve, it started dumping. My brother and I headed to Snowbird for the storm. New Year’s in Snowbird is a great party, hanging out on the tram deck in a snowstorm around fire pits taking shots of J