As local Wasatch Backcountry Skiing Guides, we choose to call the Wasatch Mountains our home for good reason – we have the greatest snow on earth with easy access to unrivaled backcountry skiing. And with an average annual snowfall of over 500 inches, we can almost guarantee a phenomenal day of skiing.
- Trip Outline
- Gear List
- Book Your Trip
Less than 30 minutes from the Salt Lake City airport, Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons serve up world-class backcountry skiing. There is literally no approach to most of our skiing, once we clip into our bindings we skin uphill. Every foot of elevation we gain climbing up is enjoyed with great turns on the way back down. Prefer Ski Mountaineering?
Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons are both major roads that run parallel to one another in an east west direction, split by a prominent ridgeline. This geography makes it possible to use public transportation to do bi-canyon tours. These bi-canyon tours let us see lot’s of terrain, ski more down hill than we climb up, and ski all slopes with northern aspects. These are fun diverse ski tours with vast options for all types of skiers.
We also have the option of using lifts to access the backcountry. Snowbird and Alta sit at the top of Little Cottonwood canyon and Brighton and Solitude at the top of Big Cottonwood canyon. Having these major ski areas adjacent to great backcountry skiing terrain can open up some interesting options for those with lift passes.
The Wasatch mountains are a compact mountain range, but they offer up a huge variety of ski terrain for backcountry skiers. Big Cottonwood canyon to the Park City ridge line is full of mellow glades suitable for newer and intermediate backcountry skiers as well as providing safe terrain on high avi days. “Big” as it’s often referred to, is not all mellow Glades though, it also offers big objectives like Mount Raymond and technical descents like the Whipple couloir and more.
Little Cottonwood, in general is bigger, steeper more rugged terrain. “Little” is where we find lots of our ski mountaineering terrain. Peaks like the Pfeifferhorn and Mount Superior, as well as big lines like the Hypodermic Needle and the Coal Pit head wall.
We could go on and on, but the point is, there is something for everyone. The Wasatch is truly a Backcountry skiing mecca.
Our specialty is PRIVATE BACKCOUNTRY SKI GUIDING… But that’s not all we are good at. If you want instruction, we offer that too. We offer AVALANCHE COURSES and intro to backcountry skiing instruction. In addition, if you are preparing for a big trip like the Haute Route in Europe or Skiing the Grand, we are your guides. GET IN TOUCH, we are happy to discuss and plan for any of your needs.
Ski and Technical Gear
- Skis With Alpine Touring bindings: We recommend a Touring Specificwith a waist between 102cm and 116. Skis should be equipped with touring binding, preferably tech style bindings.
- Ski Poles: We recommend an adjustable pole with extended grip
- Climbing Skins: Skins need to be in good condition and cut to fit your ski.
- Ski Touring Boot: Boots need to be compatible with your bindings. Boots must have a walk mode.
- Ski Crampons: Ski Crampons must be compatible with you bindings and ski waist width.
- Boot Crampons: We highly recommend aluminum crampons. Make sure they work with your ski boots
- Harness: Harness must fit over ski clothing, be light weight and in good condition. You should also have 2 locking carabiners and a belay device.
- Ice Axe: Ice Axe needs to be light weight and short (Less than 55cm)
- Ski Backpack: A good ski pack should be light weight and have a dedicated pocket for your avalanche rescue gear and be between 35-50 liters.
- Avalanche Rescue Gear: You will need a shovel and probe. The Shovel should have an extendable handle, an aluminum blade and fit into you pack without sticking out. Make sure your probe is in working order.
- Avalacche Beacon: Your beacon should be a modern digital beacon. Come with new batteries in your beacon as well as one extra set.
- Ski Helmet: While we don’t require you to ski with a helmet we do highly recommend it.
- Beanie: You might want to bring 2 just incase. We recommend one light and one medium weight Beanie.
- Buff/Neck Gaiter: We recommend a lightweight buf as it has many uses.
- Goggles: We really like goggles with changeable lenses for use in bright and low light. They should also be compatible with your helmet.
- Sun Glasses: Even if you always prefer to ski in goggles, sun glasses are needed for the up. Goggles will get fogged with sweat.
- Warm Gloves: How warm depends on you. We recommend a durable well fitting ski glove. Light Gloves: lighter weight gloves are recommended for hiking up to reduce sweating. Upper Body
- Hard Shell Jacket: Waterproof/breathable jacket with ventilation.
- Light Insulating Jacket: Breathable light insulating jacket.
- Mid to Heavy Insulating Jacket: Temps can be cold, You will be happy for a nice warm jacket. Top Base Layer: We really like sun hoodies to check this box.
- Ski Pants: We recommend a light option or a more waterproof option.
- Bottom Base Layer: We prefer a light pair of bottoms.
- Ski Boots: Also listed above under technical gear.
- Ski Socks: We prefer light weight socks
- Sunscreen: 50 spf or greater. Make sure your tube is not old as sunscreen can loose it’s effectiveness over time
- Lip Screen: Make sure it has spf
- Small First Aid Kit: This should contain blister repair material, over the counter pain killers and a few bandaids. We will have a full sized med kit on the boat as well as field kits with the guides.
- Personal toiletries: Toothbrush, Paste, razor, Shampoo and soap etc.
- Towel: For your Shower
Travel/Casual Clothing: There is not a lot of room on the boat, so don’t over pack
- Smart Phone/Laptop/Camera: There is not wifi at the cabin, but there is good 4G cell.