Wasatch Range, UT, Backcountry Report: 10″ Sneaker Pow Day in Bushy Aspen Trees

Martin Kuprianowicz | BackcountryBackcountry | Conditions ReportConditions Report

Report from Monday, December 5, 2022 

The Wasatch has already received over 12 feet of snow this season. 

Base depths in Little and Big Cottonwood Canyons are 4-5 feet.

So I’m just skiing my life away. 

Deserted. | Photo courtesy of SnowBrains

I showed up solo at semi-popular trailhead in Big Cottonwood Canyon today and was the only one there.

I set the skin track at 11 am. 

The skies were gray and it was oddly quiet.

I toured up past a creek to a protected grove of aspen trees that’s safe from the white mountain monsters that want to swallow you whole.

Avalanche danger has been real in the Wasatch as of late and the Utah Avalanche Center wrote on its forecast page:

Today we have a CONSIDERABLE avalanche danger on all mid and upper-elevation steep slopes where hard slabs of snow can break 1-4′ deep and hundreds of feet wide, failing on a persistent weak layer of faceted snow. Avalanches can be triggered remotely (from a distance) and travel long distances into the flats.

BCC views. | Photo courtesy of SnowBrains

At the top of the tour I sat on a small peak and reveled in panoramic views of a moody-looking Big Cottonwood.

Then I dropped.

There was about 10″ of smooth, surfy powder that was super easy to make fast turns down on my 124 underfoot skis. 

It was a little thick and bushy at times on the descent and I had to have my guard up. 

I used my poles like a superhero monk uses his staff to fight off bad guys. 

Bushy aspens. | Photo courtesy of SnowBrains

I enjoyed my peaceful aspen trees today. 

After I skied the aspens I took the skinner through the dark, ominous forest all the way back to the car. 

On the way out I saw two skiers who looked stoked that they were going to be only the second and third persons getting into this zone today. 

Nothing like a casual 10″ of fresh pow on a Monday morning to start the week. 

Avalanche Forecast 

Screenshot courtesy of the Utah Avalanche Center 12/5/22.


Screenshot courtesy of NOAA 12/5/22

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