Utah Mountain Collective Odyssey


Booting up
Fresh Meadows, NY
Yesterday I got back from arguably the best ski trip I have taken to date, yes, even better than my Heliskiing trip. Why? Because heliskiing was only one day .

Flew to SLC on 2/23, and then drove up to Ogden.

Day 1 - Snowbasin reporting 21" of medium density powder. There were high winds, so the lifts didn't open till late. Got on a long line for the Gondola once it started loading.

Once loaded, we got to chatting with a local couple, who volunteered to show us some of their favorite spots, score, free tour guides on a powder day.

While the base was in the sun, it was cloudy at the top. We got off the gondola, and started traversing towards Strawberry, and happened to be right next to the entrance to runs in that direction as patrol dropped ropes. We bee-lined in that direction. We got about three laps of completely untracked snow. You could see how poor the season has been though, as we had to navigate through a lot of scrub. Watch your ankles.

The rest of the day, after our new friends left, was spent exploring soft snow on the strawberry side.

Day 2 - Snowbasin, reporting 10"

It snowed another 10" overnight, this time it was low density Utah fluff. Based on the previous day's experience, we went right over to Strawberry, and got several laps of waist deep blower. Parts of some of those runs were nearly as good as when I went heliskiing.

We had to call it an early day, ending around three, which was fine, as my foot was hurting, and the sun was making the lower mountain a bit sticky.

At 4pm, we loaded our cars and started north.

Day 3 - Jackson Hole, reporting 5", and 10 straight days of snow.

Day three of the trip was another powder day, and it didn't stop snowing the entire day. We started with a tram ride up, and skied down through the Alta Chutes to Sublette. Then we came down through South Hoback. Nice creamy turns through some untracked snow there. Next up, we went over to Bridger gondola, and came down through the trees underneath, and hopped on the Sweetwater Gondola. Worked our way all the way out till we could pass through the gate for Saratoga Bowl, and traversed to the boundary rope. Came down through some nice soft snow, though it was already tracked.

Finished the day off the Teton Quad, going back and forth through the woods.

Day 4 - Jackson, reporting 4"

I took a lesson. 3 hours for 175, max three. Instructor was helping me and two others work on micro-movements for steep trees and chutes. One of the guys was not terribly comfortable with it, as he doesn't seek that terrain out. Myself and the other were pretty similar. Went through several chutes and the Hobacks during the lesson.

Day 5 - Jackson Hole, Bluebird day

Finally, we could see Rendezvous Mountain. It was impressive. We started our day by hiking Casper from behind the lodge. We should have hiked from the Headwall instead, as it would have been less steep. We traversed over to the Crags region, and came down one of the chutes. Snow was sitting in the sun, and not the best quality. Views were fantastic though. Took an early lunch, and then joined the intermediate members of our trip, and took them through Cheyenne Gully and Sublette Ridge.

This was another end at 3pm day, as we had to drive back down to SLC.

Day 6 - Rest Day

I took a day of rest in Sandy UT, hoping for the forecast storm.

Day 7 - Alta, reporting 1-2" of new snow .

It was very windy, and initially most lifts were going to be closed. The storm that had been forecast did not arrive. The conditions were low visibility, with a lot of wind scoured and wind loaded areas. I actually triggered a small slide in an open, in bounds area. 6" high, 5' feet, and slide for 20-30' downhill. Broken chunks of wind slab. Was a little scary. I was above it, and no one was below.

I always wear my beacon in bounds out west, and my buddies do as well.

Day 8 - Snowbird, no new snow.

The forecast storm still hasn't arrived. Wind blown, crusty, and the groomers are scrapped. I ski till about noon and then call it.

Day 9 - Snowbird, the Storm!

Around 6am, Snowbird is already reporting 10". At 7am, 12". We have crappy rental cars, and have to wait for the Airbnb owner to plow the driveway before we can leave, but even that isn't enough. Thankfully, he has a bobcat, and he literally pushes our cars up the driveway. Our plan is to go to the park and ride in Sandy. The road into Little Cottonwood is closed till 8:15. Traffic is backed up for miles. It takes the bus three hours to go ten miles. I get on Gadzoom around 1pm

Snowbird is reporting 20" at this point.

20" of light fluffy Utah powder. It doesn't stop snowing. We do a lap through Black Forest, the follow the Gad 2 Liftline. After that, I tell my buddies to follow me. We drop right off of BassAckwards, and find some untouched fresh lines. It's waist deep down there. We ride little cloud, and then drop in just before the gate to Road To Provo (road to Provo is closed). We have soft windblown snow till the bottom, where it piled up and we are knee deep in fluff. Another ride up little cloud and we hit Mineral Basin. Visibility wasn't great, but the snow was soft up high. We ride then lift, and try following the lift line instead. It's really good up high, but there is any debris and death cookies just under the fresh snow down low. We ride Mineral Basin again, and traverse over to the Peruvian side. We lapped that side for the remainder of the day, hitting as many chutes and woods as we could, consistently getting into knee deep and deeper snow, entering the white room consistently.

We managed 9 powder laps in the short time on the hill. It was the best day of skiing at Snowbird this east coaster has had.