With a 120-inch mid-mountain base, 412-inch total snowfall to date and 7-inches of pow in the past 24 hours, Utah’s Solitude Resort was primed for the picking. Driving up Big Cottonwood Canyon, the road was fairly clear as this storm was a tad warmer than other recent storms have been. The sloppy-wet snow in Salt Lake City translated into some well-needed snow in the Wasatch. While it’s really only been a little more than a week since the last snowfall, it seems like a month.
In the parking lot, the decision begins… super-fat Black Diamond Zealot skis or only sorta-fat Scott Mission skis? Hmmm… I opt for the Scott Missions with their 90mm waist and shapely profile to not only float in the powder, but also lay down perfect railroad tracks on the groomers.
Solitude is Powstash Heaven
Though Solitude is well-known for it’s hidden powder stashes, the groomers are always impeccable, thus paving the trail back to the lift and giving your thighs a momentary break back to the lift. Railing super-deep railroad track-style arcs from top-to-bottom was a blast on the perfect corduroy. Our first ride up Sunrise Chair was completely solo–nobody in sight. We were anxious to hit the Summit lift and see the conditions in Honeycomb Canyon, but the signage at the base of the Sunrise Chair was wrong… the Summit Lift was still closed. We lapped it and got back just in time to hit the Summit Lift and access the goods in Honeycomb Canyon.
Dropping right down the gut of Honeycomb, we were rewarded with knee-deep freshies and great sloppy seconds as far as the eye could see. Just for kicks, we instigated the mandatory spread eagles (minimum of 3) on the interspersed mogul runs down the gut of Honeycomb Canyon. Needless to say, we got a few funny looks as we arced GS turns on the mogul runs while trying to do the mandatory three spread eagles. Well… enough of the goofing off and back to the powder.
Lapping Evergreen Area
Back on the Summit Chair, we decided that instead of making the long laps down Honeycomb Canyon, we would instead lap the terrain off the Headwall and Evergreen areas. To maximize our powder turns, our mission quickly turned into one of traversing further and further into the Northeast-facing Evergreen area. The quick traverse into this area pays back in spades as we continued to find untracked stashes weaving in and out of the pines.
Evergreen can be steep and tight in spots with unmarked cliffs and rocks, so keep your eyes peeled. On top of that, the traverse can be unforgiving, so staying on top of your game is the best option. Luckily, we were typically the only ones on the traverse, so the bumper cars scenario that often characterizes short and sketchy traverses was avoided.
Traverses weed out the weak and reward the diligent and the traverse into Evergreen is one that not many take (or at least not many on this day), but those who do can enjoy some of the best turns on the mountain. We were rewarded with mostly untracked turns lap-after-lap. That is why I like to call Solitude’s Evergreen Area, Everwhite.