In search for the perfect winter, Drew and I decided we needed to spend some time in Utah. In order to give the Wasatch the respect it deserves, we felt we needed to spend a month or two shredding in the Land of Mormons. Drew and I bought passes to Brighton, and rented an apartment in Smog Lake for January and February. On the first day of 2013 we left Portland and headed east. By the evening of the 2nd we were in Utah and night boarding at Brighton.
Below are some pictures from our first 2 weeks in Utah. Our first couple of days were spent exploring Brighton and Drew took his Avy 1 class. On 1/8 we felt is was time to get out of Big Cottonwood and check out Little Cottonwood Canyon, an obvious introductory line was Suicide Chute on Mt. Superior.
Looking up Suicide Chute.
Looking down 'Suicide' chute.
On 1/9 we took a tour across some BCC backcountry, to explore the area and get beta before a forecasted storm.
A map of our route is shown below, Red is hiking/skinning, Blue is snowboarding.
Skin track traverse.
Nice turns bro.
Drew skinning across Lake Catherine.
Morgan a top Mt. Tuscarora, Pioneer Ridge/Peak seen in the background. (Photo: Drew VanNice)
On 1/10-1/11 our snow dances finally started paying off, and it snowed over a foot in most areas throughout the upper Cottonwoods.
Waking up to a snow covered baru, the pow stoke was high.
On 1/12, the Utah champaign powder was in full effect. Our objective was the main chute on Pioneer Ridge.
Looking down Pioneer 'Main Chute'.
Our goal was to shred the chute, but we were concerned with the stability of the new snow. There were two different weak layers of concern. After playing with the snow for a bit, we decided we were unhappy with the snowpack structure, combined with the exposure of the line. We bailed and made pow turns down through a more anchored zone.
Throughout this storm and the days following it was cold, really cold, stuey cold. On 1/14 Drew and I toured in the Central Wasatch backcountry. We checked Brighton's conditions in the morning and they were claiming a current temp of -10 degrees, and NOAA was putting the windchill below -20. This day was bluebird, but a battle to stay warm and most importantly keep the skins warm, dry, and just maybe, sticky.
Drew is a Martian.
The cirque we were in has some steep lines. Most lines need more snow before they can be ridden, but rowdy nonetheless.
On 1/15 Drew and I decided to explore an area we'd been scoping from Pioneer Ridge but hadn't ridden.
Drew transitioning deep in the Snake Creek drainage.
We had to set a sketchy, steep, and exposed skin track up the lower portion of Snake Creek. It sucked. A very beautiful place though, Drew and this crazy tree.
Tracks from our first run, seen hazily from a far.
And back to the trap house.
Great way to start off the adventure.