Outdoor Retailer Winter Market 2015 is next week, and there’s a strong chance you’re packing some skis or a snowboard along with your trade show badge.
For many, a trip out West to Salt Lake City is not only a chance to check out the latest gear at Winter Market, but also to get outside and enjoy the mountains. For sure, we’re all doing a little snow dance — or perhaps burning a snowman as a sacrifice to the snow gods — for some Utah powder days in late January.
So where should you go get in your turns? SNEWS/O.R. Daily and RootsRated have partnered to bring you the ultimate insiders ski guide to SLC. We not only shell out the best resorts surrounding Salt Lake City, but tips down to the best runs, the best backcountry access, and the best après ski hangouts.
Today, we look we look at some recommendations for finding some backcountry solace at the resorts. And be sure to check out last week’s tips on inbounds runs. Next Friday, Jan. 23, as you wrap up the show, we’ll talk about the top après ski spots. You can find all this content on our Insider’s Guide to Skiing in Salt Lake City.
Solitude (Home of the All Mountain Demo, Jan. 20)
Wolverine Cirque is one of the most majestic vistas you can find in the Wasatch. Its splendor greets anyone who pauses at the Highway to Heaven gate at the top of the Summit ski lift to have a look southward. It offers a multitude of options that range from high-adrenaline, no-fall chutes to gloriously open powder fields. Getting to the top of Wolverine requires a relatively short schlep from the Highway to Heaven gate. Click here for more tips.
The goods in Scottie’s Bowl can be snatched up by folks willing to skin for it from the canyon road, but when the access gate from Tiger Tail is open, skiers can duck over to this gem and frolic on its natural terrain features. Of course, its open, treeless areas are obvious slide paths, so stay sharp and don’t tempt fate with a risky line of descent. If you angle things just right, you can try and end up back at the Baby Thunder chairlift. Worst case, you get dumped down at the White Pine Trailhead parking lot and have to hitchhike a mile back up to the resort. Click here for more tips.
Catherine’s Pass is the gateway to a stunning bowl encircled by Sunset Peak, Pioneer Peak, and Mt. Tuscarora. And better yet, getting there takes just a quick traverse and sidestep from the top of Alta’s Supreme lift. The bowl’s Rocky Point ridgeline has been the setting of many an epic ski photo, and it’s easy to see why. The place is both stark and magical at the same time. Duck in for your descent while keeping in mind that this has also been the setting of avalanches whose epic scale matched the scenery. Then skin back up to the pass and descend back into Alta’s upper environs. Click here for more tips.
The northeast bowl below No Name Peak, while avalanche-prone, is one of the easiest and most rewarding jaunts that actually has a simple return route to the resort. Only drop in if avy conditions are stable and you’re properly geared up. To access the bowl, just make a quick traverse and down-ski along the ridgeline from the Allen Peak Tram. Soon you’ll arrive at the out-of-bounds access point and can take a gander down at the goods. Click here for more tips.
The resort’s Adventure Center, a small yurt outside the main lodge, is where you can sign up for an $18 snowcat ride to the top of Lightning Ridge. It offers hundreds of acres of exceptional, barely-tracked skiing, and as an added bonus, you end up at the bottom of an inbounds chairlift, so no hiking out is required. Click here for more tips.
Lackawaxen is a pristine powder line and a delightful bowl of goodness resting on the backside of Hidden Canyon’s saddle. Dart into Hidden Canyon from the top of Great Western and traverse until you arrive at an obvious saddle. You can hike a short ways up the ridgeline to earn a few extra turns, then drop in to the open bowl below you. At the bottom, there’s usually a tidy little bootpack already put in to get you back to where you started. From there, enjoy Hidden Canyon’s delights as you descend back to the resort. Click here for more tips.