Alta, UT Report: Booting Up & Skiing Down The Legendary High Rustler In Slush & Sun

Miles Clark | | Conditions ReportConditions Report
High Rustler and Mt. Baldy at Alta. image: snowbrains

Report from April 27, 2022

The weather started off funky today with clouds and warm temps.

I hesitated for a coupla hours in the morning hoping the clouds would clear like they did yesterday.

They did.

I showed up at Alta at about 11am to clearing skies, 50+ºF temps, and light to moderate wind.

I knew the snow was getting cooked and was in that ugly zone between powder and corn that no one likes.

My strategy was to ski High Rustler at Alta because it already saw a ton of skier traffic over the weekend while Alta was still open and that might be just enough to save it from the horrible sun-cooked-pow-mank phase.

I didn’t even bring skins.

Booter to Hi Boy. image: snowbrains

I’d planned on simply booting straight up High Rustler in my normal ski resort gear.

This way I’d be able to ski down a bit harder in my strongest gear.

As I was scoping the line from the road above, I saw a bootpack.

High Rustler and the Sunnyside Chair being dismantled. image: snowbrains


I’m not in the best uphill shape right now after heli-skiing for 2 months at sea level in Alaska all March & April.

A bootpack was a welcome gift.

Happy halfway up! image: snowbrains

I geared up and dug into the booter.

It was a solid booter put in by someone heavier than me so every step held.

About 2/3rds of the way up, the booter stopped.

Sharp edged booter. image: snowbrains

I leaned into the slush and put in my own bootpack the rest of the way.

When I booted up this same run in November, I think it only took me 45 minutes.

Today, it took me 1 hour and 10 minutes.

Sunnyside chairlift is headed to Red Lodge Mountain, MT. image: snowbrains

I need to keep training to get ready for Tioga Pass, CA next month…

The views on top dazzled.

I caught my breath, pounded water, and dropped in.

Dirty entrance… image: snowbrains

Well, I walked in.

The upper slope was bare dirt & rock so I tip-toed down it and got back on snow.

I took a deep breath and sunk my teeth into High Rustler – likely the last Hi Boy of the season.

Devil’s Castle. image: snowbrains

The upper turns were soft and slushy.

I found a rhythm, the snow was forgiving, I gathered some speed.

About 1/2 way down the snow got sticky and I started to struggle.

Gunsight and Mt. Baldy. image: snowbrains

I eventually caught an edge, took an awkward fall, bounced, and kept rolling.

I was somehow able to ski the line top to bottom without stopping but I was gasping for air at the bottom.

It was so sticky down there I had to push myself with my poles to get back to the parking lot.

Mt. Baldy. image: snowbrains

I was hot, sweaty, sticky, and elated to strip down to my boardshorts and no shirt in the lot.

It was 65ºF.

SLC was 75ºF as I drifted through.

High Rustler and Mt. Baldy and the Collins Chair. image: snowbrains

I’ve got 4 more days left here in Utah.

The past few days have really satisfied me on winter.

Bring on California springtime, hot springs, corn, slush, park jumps, good friends, apres ski, Mobile Mart, burritos, and ice cream!

Thanks, Utah.

Almost to the top booter. image: snowbrains


image: noaa, 4/27/22

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