Report from Tuesday, May 24, 2022
Video, music, and snowboarding courtesy of Juan Peon
Yesterday we skied Snowbird’s infamous Pipeline Couloir. But that was only the beginning.
There’s a ton of snow and a ton of options at Snowbird right now, which is open for uphill access.
Yesterday only left us hungry for more.
Today we returned to ski Baldy Bowl, the large cirque above the Gad 2 top shack under Red Top Mountain that looks just plain gnarly.
It’s got steep chutes, rocky couloirs, and wide-open alpine faces. It’s inbounds at the Bird but Patrol rarely opens it.
During the regular season I’m stuck staring at this zone, wondering what those runs are like.
Today I didn’t have to wonder anymore.
We started from the Gad Valley parking lot at 9:30 am.
Touring up steep groomers and through an abandoned ski resort, we gained elevation weirdly fast.
It took only about two hours to ascend 3,000 vertical feet. That’s Snowbird for you.
After touring past Gad 2 and the Snowbird snow stake, we were soon booting up the ridge that runs all the way up to Red Top Mountain which sets Snowbird’s far looker’s right boundary.
This ridge boasts extreme terrain: steep chutes, wide but technical alpine faces, and massive cornices on the side that drops back into Snowbird, and then the stunning Birthday Chutes and White Pine Gultch on the other.
Once properly on the ridge running to Red Top, we booted and scrambled and crawled our way to the top of Baldy Bowl.
We went back and forth between snow and rock before getting on top of our line and enjoying a summit beer in cold, windy air.
Near the top of our line, I noticed some odd animal tracks—maybe a billy goat? Surely that’s the only animal dumb enough to be up here other than us man.
We picked out two steep and technical chutes running parallel to each other into Baldy Bowl. They were separated by a thin rock ridge: one chute on the right, the other on the left.
Juan went first and dropped the right one, which was thin and committing.
He made relaxed but aggressive turns in snow that I knew was good just from how he was riding it. He stopped in the bowl below and radioed to me that the line was a little scary but that the snow was great.
That’s all I needed to hear.
Dropping into the left chute, I found hot but not sticky corn that inspired confidence.
I skied the left chute like I was mad at it, slashing turns in the thin couloir in between sharp rocks.
It was a steep and aesthetic line that skied way better than it looked from afar.
Once in the bowl, we surfed giant turns in fields of corn down to Little Cloud and then on the groomer home.
Snowbird groomed a single track in Big Emma that provided some of the best corduroy skiing either Juan or I had done all year.
The groomer was soft corn that just wanted you to carve it as hard as you could.
We made old man groomer turns the whole way down it, grinning ear to ear.
It was the ultimate reward for an already ultimate day; we skied 3,600-vertical feet in four hours and twenty minutes, car to car.
The Snowbird Spring Buffet provides yet again.
- 4FRNT Raven skis with Tour-Lock
- Dynafit Blacklight Alpine Touring Bindings
- SCOTT Freeguide Carbon ski boot
- Pomoca climbing skins
- Mountain Hardware Snoskiwoski 40 Pack
- Black Diamond Guide BT avalanche transceiver
- Black Diamond Evac Shovel
- Voile Tourlight Avalanche Probe – 260 cm
- Leki Spitfire Vairo 3D backcountry ski poles
- Petzel Leopard Crampons
- Dynafit ski crampons
- Petzl Ride Ice Axe
- Smith Scout MIPS Helmet
- Limited edition SnowBrains x Glade Adapt Goggle