Solitude Resort, Big Cottonwood Canyon, Utah. Grim. That’s the only word to describe the utter lack of snow that greeted us during our drive up around Provo then into the Wasatch. Truly the least snow I’ve ever seen this time of year in what’s usually the powder paradise of the universe.
While WildSnow intern Joe Risi braved the icy steeps of Solitude to test the edgehold of selected “backcountry” planks, Lisa and I headed out for a bit of cardio. Skin up the resort? Why not? Especially with Joe making the ultimate sacrifice, we were free.
We got half way up before the men in red kicked us off and skied away after their polite but ridiculous sounding lecture. I proudly stripped skins, knowing that being booted from a ski resort by guys 1/3 your age is probably better for bragging rights than any number of skis in your quiver.
Luckily the snowshoe track up Silver Fork drainage was close, so we scooted over there and stayed on the up for a while. No “real” skiing was had, just too dry, but we got a workout. And yes locals, my sympathy for your plight is real. Perhaps the storm tonight will deliver you back to Wasatch nirvana.
Back at the ranch, I did make rounds and look at some of the new goods. Perhaps most impressive item from today is the new Solomon Guardian (Atomic Tracker) sidecountry binding. Much lower to the ski than other offerings, super solid in rolling deflection (easily at top of chart), much much more. If this thing doesn’t have any defects to be consumer revealed (please, please let there be none, we are SICK of binding defects…) it could be the top choice for a slackcountry touring binding of the frame (plate) type design. Word on these has been floating around, but nice to see in the flesh. Check em:
You know we like bindings. We wait for new grabbers like Elvis fans looking for the third coming of the king. We collect grabbers. We ski on them. We write about them. (And we weep when defects make it to retail). Our hearty welcome to another player. All other frame bindings, practice your bows, you might need them.
WildSnow.com publisher emeritus and founder Lou (Louis Dawson) has a 50+ years career in climbing, backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering. He was the first person in history to ski down all 54 Colorado 14,000-foot peaks, has authored numerous books about about backcountry skiing, and has skied from the summit of Denali in Alaska, North America’s highest mountain.