Christmas Break Skiing

Following up a drifted skin track.
Following up a drifted skin track.

December 25 & 27, 2014

Carly and I stuck around Salt Lake rather than going back to the East Coast for Christmas.  We lucked out and were blessed with a Christmas Eve storm that made it a White Christmas down in the valley with 4″ and upwards of 20″ in the mountains.  Christmas Day we headed up to Snowbird for some skiing.  It was perhaps the best skiing I’ve had thus far at the resort.  While we never got completely untracked runs, we did get some great turns on mostly fresh and certainly soft snow.  We were to meet some friends, Aaron and Tina, for dinner and hated to leave.  So we did what every good skier would do, we made a few more short runs before heading down canyon.  That night we feasted on lamb, couscous, and spinach salad, finished with some apple-cranberry pie.  A spectacular day.

We skied the 26th, but the conditions were not as good as the previous day.  While the snow was still soft, it was chopped up and wasn’t quite as fun–at least in comparison to the previous day.  We made a run and got mired in a Mineral Basin terrain opening lift line so we headed out after only a couple of runs.

Yesterday we weren’t interested in heading back to the resort as we didn’t think the conditions could be any better.  We also didn’t want to get caught in the gnarly traffic going up LCC.  Instead we headed towards Big Cottonwood for some backcountry skiing.  Mill D and Spruces trailhead seemed to be the ticket.  We analyzed the avy report and picked some lower angle terrain and favorable aspects to shoot for.  The day was cold and bluebird.  The approach felt good so we decided to head much farther than we’d anticipated.  We spied a relatively open knoll with some gently spaced trees that faced a safer aspect and headed up.  We were the first ones up there that day and had to break trail through a drifted skin track.  We stopped short of the summit as the snow was starting to thin out.  The turns were untracked for the first shot and were awesome!  We headed down through the trees to the next open section to enjoy more shin deep settled powder and weightless turns before catching the skin track back out.  Spectacular day in the backcountry.