Once again fighting off the thick crowds in the Wasatch, this time from the popular and overcrowded White Pine trailhead parking area, I managed to squeeze my way through the throng to ski a line I’ve been eyeing up for about a year.
Seriously though, having transplanted to SLC from a town of about 10,000 folks, I’m continually amazed that excellent skiing can be had here with minimal crowding, despite the proximity to about 1 million people in the valley below. I didn’t see anyone else, and I was looking!
It’s April 20th, and in the Wasatch, with recent high temperatures, we’re onto the spring corn cycle. However, there is still powder to be found. I got mine today on the Northeast aspect of the South-eastern sub-peak of White Baldy. It’s an interesting line that maintains a steady 45 degree pitch, is partially above rock bands you wouldn’t want to blow a turn above and tumble through, and it holds good snow.
The approach is straightforward – get yourself to White Pine Lake, and look South. Spying the line, skin to it, and up it, booting as you need. As the warmed snow on the lower approach had made my skins wet, once I hit the powder, the skinning jig was up. I booted the rest of the way, excited to find stable, soft, and untouched pow. I couldn’t have had better conditions.
The skiing was excellent – I eased out of the notch at the top, made a few turns on variable snow and skirted the dense little wind ridges before traversing skier’s left and squeezing off some fun turns down the line. The slight surface sloughs surprised and delighted me as I’ve recently had a few days of either icy death chunk, or near bottomless corn skiing in snow that has barely refrozen at night, and sometimes both.
It’s always a pleasure to find perfect powder conditions when the snow on average, is not perfect.
The trip back to the car was good too – I pointed the skis towards White Pine Lake, enjoying the sun warmed, soft corn snow, occasionally crossing previous days’ debris, which was also soft . There I took one last look back at the line and tried not to imagine it as it will be in a few months.
From there I generally headed northeast, aiming for any enticing gully, rollover, or ridge, and was soon back on the lowest section of the skin track.
Crossing the bridge near the trailhead, I lamented that its current appearance heralds the impending arrival of summer. Curious if my lonely car had found any friends in the lot that was vacant before I pulled in, I was somewhat surprised to see two others. Crowded, indeed. I guess very few got the memo about the perfect powder out there.