It seems more rare than common for people to say with enthusiasm, “I LOVE where I live!”. Honestly, I LOVE where I live! I’ve got 3 backcountry skiing spots in 3 different directions within 20 minutes of my house. Weber Canyon to the north, Mirror Lake Highway to the east and Wolf Creek Pass to the Southeast. Add to that Park City is 20 minutes to the west and I’m in a backcountry skiers mecca. But don’t tell anyone, mmmk?
It’s about 2 miles to the south and another 15 to the east from my house to the top of Wolf Creek Pass (elevation 9450′) which in the summer is a great road bike ride with little to no traffic and generous shoulders. In the winter it’s a snowmobile mecca…that is after they finally close the pass. Early and late season the pass is open and makes for a great location to score some easy access turns on a couple of small yet rewarding faces.
The first and most visible from the road is a 350-400′ slope that is right around 30-35 degrees, the perfect angle for avalanches. Since this area sees a tremendous amount of wind I’m always on my toes when approaching this spot. It’s got a good shoulder that provides safe passage and on top it’s a plateau with views for miles.
As this was my first day touring this season (I’m not counting the day in October on Timpanogos) I headed up and skied down the shoulder adjacent to my skin track. The snow was about 18″ deep but the fact that this slope is grassy in the summer kept my confidence high knowing that hitting rocks was unlikely. It felt so good to be skiing familiar territory. It was also a treat to be skiing on my new Bluehouse District Skis. They were perfect for the soft creamy powder – but then again, what fat ski doesn’t ski like a dream in soft creamy powder? I found my self wishing this slope were 2000′ and not the measly 400′ so I could open it up and really test these skis.
I spun back around for another lap and decided to test the upper slope with a ski cut and then headed down the skiers left on a little rib that I figured would be void of rocks and had what looked like just enough coverage. I was a bit hesitant on the first few turns but then felt myself ease up as I hit the run out, just in time to tag a rock. The skis held up well with little damage and I skied down to the gully just below the road.
For my last lap I followed the shoulder again (pictured above) and skied down into the lower angle meadow beyond the face towards the road. A short hike up and I was a short walk from the top of the pass.
If you get a chance to hit Wolf Creek before the road closes it’s an ideal spot to start out your season and for that matter a great place to end you season as I did last year with my son McKinley.