This week's adventure was a backcountry ski trip up Little Cottonwood Canyon in the Utah Wasatch Mountain Range to the Toledo area. The Toledo Face, Toledo Bowl, and the Toledo Chute are southwest of the Flagstaff Mountain.
Each year, Alta Ski Resort averages over 500 inches of snowfall. That equals almost 42 feet of snow each ski season. Also, the snow is not wet and heavy, it's light and deep. This year, 2017, has been an amazing year for storm cycles and snow. It has dumped a lot of light snow. There weren't many breaks in the weather patterns. Just yesterday, April 29, Alta received over 5 feet of snow in just under 4 days. It's been an amazing year.
The Cirque splits Snowbird in half. It's a beautiful mountain ridgeline with awesome skiing on both sides. You can access the Cirque from the Tram or with a quick traverse from the Little Cloud lift. Below is a picture of the north-east facing Cirque with the Snowbird tram in the distance. You can see the many of the famous Snowbird ski chutes.
This year, 2017, has been an epic snow year in Utah. We have had week after week and many times days after days of light deep powder. During the 2nd week of March, there was a break in the storm cycles with warmer weather and spring skiing conditions. So we decided to summit the Primrose Cirque just to the left of Roberts Horn peak.
A few Saturdays ago, I headed up American Fork Canyon in Utah to do a ski tour with my little guy. It was a blue bird day and the sun was out. We started our approach from the Tibble Fork Reservoir parking lot. In the winter, Tibble Fork Reservoir is a popular destination for snowmobilers, snowshoers, and sledders. The parking lot was full. I knew once we found a parking spot, it was going to be a good day. The Tibble Fork parking lot tends to be crowded on the weekends. The earlier you can get there the better. The warmth of the sun on the face is one of the great joys of skiing on a blue bird day.
One of my favorite things about flying is when the airplane climbs through the clouds to the blue skies. Just before you reach the cruising altitude, you pass through large puffy cumulus clouds that look like pieces of floating cotton. My ski mind instantly converts those clouds into large pillows of powder. Skiing powder is like skiing through clouds. On a powder day, you ride up a ski lift or hike up a mountain to a top of a ridge. You look down on the snow and it looks like white clouds are covering the entire surface.
On Tuesday, December 27, 2016, me and a group of friends met at 5:30 am to summit the Flagstaff mountain on skis. The Flagstaff mountain is right across the street from Alta. Alta and the Flagstaff mountain are located up Little Cottonwood Canyon, Utah. This area is popular backcountry ski destination in Utah because of its quick access to some of the most spectacular mountains views and snow.
One of my favorite places to hang out during the early ski preseason is at Alta Ski Resort up Little Cottonwood Canyon. The minute the first snow falls you'll find enthusiastic skiers and snowboarder exploring the different areas of the mountain. Seeing snowboarders is a little unusual but cool, because they are not allowed on the mountain once the resort openings. Alta is one of three resorts left who only allow skiers.
Utah is home to the best snow on earth and the best backcountry skiing runs in the world. Since winter is knocking at the door and I can't wait to be back on the skis—this week's adventure post highlights a fun backcountry tour I did last winter with my friend Spencer Posey. Our tour was to the Toledo Chute. The Toledo chute is located across the street from Alta Ski Resort. This is a quick tour as long is you don't take the long loop like we did. More exercise right?
Reaching a mountain summit on skis isn't easy and there's power in the last steps before you reach it. You get a second wind and once you reach the summit, you feel complete satisfaction. The rush of the summit makes the journey worth it. All the hard work and motion forward to reach the summit brings with it a state of gratitude and thankfulness. You're reminded that difficult times (the climb) won't last forever. You're reminded that you can arrive at any summit, over any mountain by simply moving forward six inches at time.