Wasatch Backcountry Report: Low Tide, Soft Snow, Sharks Abound

Mitch McDermott | BackcountryBackcountry | Conditions ReportConditions Report

My crew and I ventured into the Central Wasatch backcountry twice over the weekend.  

Friday morning Kyle, Jessie, Tom, Brad and I answered the 3:30am wake up call for dawn patrol.  After skinning up a couple thousand feet, we reached the point of where we wanted to drop, and were greeted by a stunning sunrise.

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Alpenglow lighting up the peaks, photo: Mitch McDermott (@mmickeyd)

The sunrise lit up the sky with magical colors, leaving us at a loss for words as we peeled our skins off and prepared to ride.  After taking it in for a few minutes, we rode down, where there was still good snow to be found.  Making surfy, low-tide turns we able to ride all the way back to our cars.

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The colorful sky mixed with snow capped peaks made for jaw-dropping views, photo: Mitch McDermott

Sunday we returned to the Cottonwoods with a much bigger objective, drop-in from the peak of Patsy Marley.  Eager to reach the summit, we gathered our gear and scurried up the skin track.  As we reached the peak, picturesque 360° panorama vistas rewarded us for our hard work.  It was a perfect, bluebird day in the Wasatch.

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Overlooking Little Cottonwood Canyon from atop Patsy Marley, photo: Mitch McDermott

It felt more like May than the middle of December with the spring like conditions we experienced.  Since we skied north facing aspects, the snow was soft, even a week after the latest storm.  With only 50″ falling so far this year, we had to stay attentive to avoid rocks and make conservative turns.  A few rocks were scraped, but we still found some satisfying turns weaving through trees.  The Wasatch definitely isn’t riding like it normally would in mid-December, but we couldn’t complain for the winter we’ve had so far.

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Jessie (@balick18) dropping in from the peak of Patsy Marley, photo: Mitch McDermott


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