After completing the backcountry introductory class in February, I was waiting for the opportunity to get out into the great wide open and ride some fresh lines. With the perfect storm of March 17 – 19, Brighton Ski Resort received 35” of new snow promoting everyone to get out and ski some amazing, fluffy face shots. I rode inbounds for three days and when the sun was coming out to nuke everything in its path, Brock and I woke up early to beat the sun and get our hike on. I also demoed next year's Burton Root 148 which seemed insane to me when riding powder, but similar to the Nug, it downsizes 8 – 10 cm because of the board's width and the scoop of the tip and tail. A little board cashing in on big promises.
Reading the avalanche forecast before leaving the house, which stated, that ‘rapid warming’ was going to be the biggest threat of the day we wanted to ride early in the day. At the top of Crest Express, we checked in with Ski Patrol for some more advice about the day’s conditions and also shared the Alta Avalanche Central (801-742-2033) number to call in case there are any incidences in the backcountry.
Although I have been riding the backcountry for ten years, I came out for this trip with more knowledge than I had before, as well as my beacon, shovel and probe. Our first hike up Pioneer Ridge we rode back into Wren Hollow just testing the snow conditions in the trees before venturing out for our second run up Pioneer Peak, a little further in the backcountry. I picked the main chute running NE from the peak and Brock chose an untracked window through the trees before riding out through outer Rock Garden and over to Mt. Millicent. By noon it was warming up fast so we checked in at the patrol shack and talked with Rob, who advised us on a few more details about the conditions rising to Considerable with the warming trend on SW, SE slopes, which we were going to be avoiding while hiking Mt. Millicent. The access from Brighton, Solitude and Alta is overwhelming once you start reading up and adventuring into the mountains.
I hadn’t ventured out to Wolverine in several years, so it was great to finally get back there and look out on the Wasatch from 10,800’! We knew the Seagull Chute was already baked, so we chose to ride the ridge down to Tuscarora and hit some north aspect chutes. After working for some untracked lines we rode down into the bowl and we capped our day with one final chute into Upper Mary’s, still untracked after three days. We hiked off the lake at 3 pm and awarded ourselves with a cold beverage for all our hard work we put in to hike fresh lines and ride out safe and sound.
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