Wasatch Backcountry Skiing (sort of)

Heading up from Tibble Fork Resevoir

Beautiful sunny day in the mountains today with intense blue skies. I’m not really much of a backcountry skier; I’m more of a cross country skier but I don’t ski groomed tracks. I do like the backcountry but generally stick to trails and mellow terrain. There are a few reasons for this; One, I’m not a great skier, two, avalanches terrify me and I have no avy gear, like beacons, an Avalung, etc., and third, I usually have my kids with me, and sometimes little kids, like today. For years I skied a pair of Fisher Europa 99 ST skis that I bought when I was an undergrad at college.These are long, skinny, metal edged skiis. I paired these with a pair of Asolo leather three pin boots. A couple years ago I replaced these with a pair of Rossignol BC 65 skiis and NNN BC bindings. This was the first time I had skied with a waxless base ski (i.e fishscales). I’m not convinced they are better than waxable skis, but they certainly are more convenient and are just fine for most trails I ski. My boots are Rossignol BC X6 or maybe X7, I’m not sure. I like them quite a bit. They are really warm.

Cross country skis are a great way to access the mountains in winter, much more fun than snowshoes, and more efficient. I have been skiing with my kids since they were very little. Some of them are now adults.

We drove up American Fork Canyon to Tibble Fork Reservoir. From there we skied up the snow covered road to Silver Flat Reservoir, about 4.5 miles. After about two miles we took a trail that was quite a bit steeper than the road but prettier and more direct. It took us to right below the Silver Flat dam. We wanted to ski further, up to Silver Lake, but my youngest son, 11 years old, was keen on heading back and was not too interested in the rather steep climb up to Silver Lake.

The weather was pretty warm, probably in the mid to high 30’s. We all just wore lightweight baselayers on top. For most of the time my older son and I didn’t even wear gloves. The scenery up here is great, but I dislike the snowmobile traffic.

Snack break half way up
The shortcut trail
Mini cornice on the dam
A frozen Silver Flat Reservoir
At Silver Flat
North Summit of Mt. Timpanogos

Last year we did this same ski trip in a pretty heavy snowstorm. The powder was great. Today the snow was not great. We have had such a dry winter, I surprised there was as much snow up there as there was. Nevertheless it was a nice day in the mountains.


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