I think the sign that you’re over something is when you get bored, or stop daydreaming about it. I still have the skiing and filming bug and and for some time I’ve been wanting to do a series of short videos highlighting certain unique lines in the Wasatch. Last season we had the snow and I had the time as well as a willing partner to help shoot the project. Adam Clark filmed some drone and on slope angles and I managed to hit record on the GoPro. We actually didn’t know what we were going to do with the footage at the time, but we pitched the idea later to Black Diamond and they jumped on board. They’ve been great to work with, letting me edit the pieces together as well as providing the sick Helio 116 skis (quick sponsorship plug).
First up in the series is the Y Couloir, which still strains my neck every time I drive up LCC trying to get a good look at it. I’ve skied this line a handful of times in various forms of snow, from frozen debris piles to really deep powder. The great thing about tight steep chutes is that gravity often flushes the snow down them and they can stabilize quickly after a storm allowing you to safely ski in great snow quality. The nice thing about the Y is that it’s north facing and the snow quality remains good longer than the massive south facing shots across the road that quickly get sun baked.
I’ve had a few memorable encounters in the Y. (WARNING- STORY TIME, just advance down to the video) This one time I was booting up an established boot pack pre-dawn when Wasatch OG “dawn patroller” Brad Barlage (before we were friends) skied down trying his hardest to fill back in the boot holes and make it hard for me to continue upward (definition of dick move, but pretty clever). He then chewed me out for following up “his” boot pack. He’s a good guy, once you get to know him.
Another time, in the spring, I was supposed to meet a friend early to climb and ski the Y before temps go too warm. He didn’t show up and I got a late start, but headed up myself. Temps were too warm, snow was melting and water was flowing off the rocks. I got a quarter of the way up and decided to bail. While skiing down, I ran into two gals booting up the apron. I told them I thought it was too warm (probably mansplaining) and they agreed and said they were just going to go to the base and ski the apron. While I was crossing the stream on the way to the car I heard a blood curdling scream. I hurried back up to find that the a big wet avalanche had released. Both of them were buried about waste deep, but fortunately they had been to the sides of the chute, not in the main line of fire. They were freaked out deservedly so, we walked out together. Close call for us all.
Here is the vid from last winter in good conditions, not the best I’ve had, but quite good. Enjoy!