Snowbird, UT, Report: Pow Crushing With a 3-Time Olympian

Andy Racich | | Conditions ReportConditions Report
Megan McJames and Shawn McNamara. Photo: Andy Racich

This report is from Thursday March 16th, 2023

I drove from Montana all day and into the night, arriving in Salt Lake City at 1 am. Weather reports called for 18 inches of new snow for Snowbird, and this storm was a bit warmer than usual. It sounds like a bad thing, but I prefer powder with a higher water content because it fills in all the bumps and skis fast when wind-pressed. The conditions didn’t disappoint, as it was a complete reset on the mountain. Snowbird keeps getting hammered with snow- 625 inches this year, to be exact.

I skied with Megan McJames and Shawn McNamara. Megan is a three-time Olympian in slalom and GS and has recently transitioned to big mountain skiing. Her story is unique, being the only person to be cut from the US Ski Team and to fight her way back on the FIS World Cup circuit, qualifying for the Olympics twice as an independent. She rips with authority. True grit. She has a movie coming out in the fall about her story.

Shawn McNamara is a legend in his own right. Formerly the co-owner and guide for SEABA (Southeast Alaska Backcountry Adventures), based in Haines, AK, he opened up skiing territory that is arguably the best in the world. Also, to note, he did this on tele skis. Shawn has been a close friend of mine for decades, and his passion for skiing is unmatched.

We skied West Baldy, North Baldy, North Chute, The Cirque, Mineral Basin, Lone Pine, The Gad Chutes, and Lower Peruvian. Pretty much everywhere. After the hike to Baldy, my legs and lungs were shot for the day (thanks, Megan), but we kept on truckin’. The mountain got skied out quickly for a weekday but stayed relatively smooth. We went to the beach for our last run and had a couple of pocket beers to cap the day. If you don’t know of this secret spot, where locals collect at the end of the day, you’re out of luck from me because I was sworn to secrecy.

So, needless to say, skiing with Megan and Shawn, at Snowbird, on a bluebird pow day, in one of the snowiest seasons on record was a good time. Sometimes the universe gives you these opportunities; all you can be is grateful.

Snow Report:


Snowy days are ahead! Credit: NOAA


Mineral Basin. Photo: Andy Racich
West Baldy. Photo: Andy Racich
Top Of The Tram. Photo: Andy Racich
Shawn McNamara At The Little Cloud Lift. Photo: Andy Racich
Busy Day At Snowbird. Photo: Andy Racich
Shawn McNamara And Mt. Superior. Photo: Andy Racich
Looking Towards Salt Lake City. Photo: Andy Racich
The Gad Area, Snowbird. Photo: Andy Racich
The Beach At Snowbird, Top Secret Location. Photo: Andy Racich
Snowbirds Finest. Photo: Andy Racich

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