Wasatch Range, UT, Report: The Biggest Little Hill in the ‘Satch

Martin Kuprianowicz | BackcountryBackcountry | Conditions ReportConditions Report

Report from Thursday, April 6, 2023 

The Wolf got back in from Alaska this week.

We rendezvoused in the morning with the aim to go ski something interesting on the edge of the Salt Lake Grid but it didn’t pan out.

So we cut our losses and headed up Big Cottonwood Canyon, which had received five feet of new snow this week. 

We picked a seldom-traveled drainage and began a grueling walk in intense April sunshine.

Wolf putting in work. | Photo: SnowBrains

We were there a bit late and it was toasty. 

Breaking trail in three feet of heating up powder snow was a mucky mess that zapped our energy reserves instantaneously.

Our eyes were set on a short hill a couple of miles up the drainage that didn’t look like it would take too much time nor effort to get on top of it.

We were wrong.

Bluebird. | Photo: SnowBrains

There was a creek we had to cross and on the other side, we slogged through heavy, wet powder.

The snow was gunky and damp and making kick turns up the hill’s shoulder an ordeal.

It took us hours to make up this small hill which we both agreed had to have been the biggest little hill in all of the Wasatch.

The further we climbed up it the further away the top seemed.

Gorgeous day. | Photo: SnowBrains

At 2 pm, almost to the top, we stopped and decided that we had traveled far enough.

This little hill felt enormous in feet of concrete-like snow.

The big country around us was gorgeous—we were smack dab in the center of a gorgeous amphitheater that could have only been crafted by the hands of gods.

Big mountains, long descents, and an outrageously deep snowpack flanked us on all sides.

There wasn’t a cloud in the sky and it was only getting warmer.

Strong sun. | Photo: SnowBrains

By 2:30 we dropped and I went first, sending long-arching turns in moist, sizzling powder.

So long as I kept my tips up above the snow I could cruise at speed.

I had to be precise with the angle of my turns; too hard of a turn and the snow would snatch my ski out from under me and I would tumble hard and fast.

I made it down smoothly.

Wolf followed suit and did the same.

Wolf scouting. | Photo: SnowBrains

We then marched out back from where we came, stopping constantly to scrape off the gloop accumulating on the bottom of our skis and split board.

Despite the tribulation, it was a beautiful spring day as ever.

Climbing back onto the highway, our faces colored from the sun and our bodies drained by its rays, we both agreed we were ready for some corn skiing.

It won’t be long now. 

Harvest season is coming. 


Avalanche Forecast

Utah Avalanche Center 4/7/23


NOAA 4/7/23


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