It was Christmas Eve… 6:00 am… The text comes in, “Sorry man. Woke up with a sore throat. Santa can’t be sick today. Gonna pass.” So, dawn patrol busted or change of plans? I opted to wait 30 minutes for additional morning light before driving the whole 10 minutes to the trailhead. It would now be a solo trip with the intent of getting some exercise and skinning into the skiable terrain to check out the snow conditions and the snowpack.

Arriving at Tibble Fork Reservoir, I was surprised to be the third car there (99% of the time, nobody else is there any earlier than 8am) with a single dude sitting on his tailgate fiddling with his cross-country setup–ready to head out.

“Good morning,” I said to no response. “Hmm, I thought… that’s odd. Most folks are typically a bit more friendly at the trailhead, maybe he’s iPodded out?” I waited another couple minutes after getting my Dynafit Titan’s on. “Nice morning eh?” I said it a bit louder this time. To that, I get a mumbled and grumpy response about it being cold. I then said, “Well, at least it’s not single-digits. That’s the typical temperature at this hour.” All I got back was, “Just barely… it’s 11-degrees.”

I don’t know who peed in his Cheerios, but the guy was not too happy to be there–too bad for him because the morning light was just beginning to shine on the tops of the peaks and the pink alpenglow was just beginning to spread. I was stoked to be there and stoked it was a whopping 11-degrees.

It ended up being a system check as I tested out all my new gear for the year and worked out some of the kinks. My boots for this year are the new Dynafit Titan’s and I also had the Osprey Kode 30 backpack. In tow was the new Smith Maze lightweight ski helmet and the Scott Fix goggles.

Once I got to the skiable terrain, it was apparent that the snowpack in this part of the canyon consisted of a consolidated 2-foot(ish) base with about 6-inches of ultralight fluff on top. I proceeded to break trail and ski a short 300-ft shot to christen the season. Here’s to a great season of ski touring in American Fork Canyon.

About Author

A native of the Pacific Northwest, Jason quickly developed a love for the outdoors and a thing for mountains. That infatuation continues as he founded this site in 1999 -- sharing his love of road biking, mountain biking, trail running and skiing. That passion is channeled into every article or gear review he writes. Utah's Wasatch Mountains are his playground.

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