A Day Skiing at The Canyons
Best Backcountry Access and Other Marvelsby Bryan Rhodes
Photo: Canyons Resort
In spite of this feverish change, The Canyons continues to offer unparalleled access to the backcountry, maintaining that old Utah powder soul that has come to characterize places like Alta and Snow Basin. Locals know where to access powder quickly and easily days after a storm. (They’re maybe just a bit less willing to share such info!) With expansion comes growing pains to be sure, but even old timers appreciate some changes, like a paved parking lot. With 3500 acres of terrain spread over 8 distinct peaks, The Canyons truly has something for everyone, including the new school of young jibbers.
The Canyons dedicated a lift and the entire front face of the mountain to its 18-acre terrain park which has a core group of riders and skiers gracing it with their tricks and maintaining it. Leading that effort is Eric Brown, a pro snowboarder with five years of experience building and managing parks. Brown and his crew earned The Canyons’ terrain park a top ten ranking in North America from Transworld Snowboarding and the highest ranking in Utah. This year, they’ve added lights and a massive sound system to keep it going until 7PM.
Besides the opportunity to slide rails to your heart’s desire, here’s what a day of skiing at The Canyons has to offer.
The Flight of the Canyons Gondola takes you from the village to the Red Pine Lodge at 8000 feet in just enough time to buckle your boots and adjust your goggles. This is the center of The Canyons and makes an excellent meeting place. From here, intermediate skiers will want to head out to Dreamscape and Day Break, the newest additions to The Canyons’ lift system. It takes a couple of lift rides to access this area but once there you’ll find wide open groomers and tree skiing through aspen glades, all tilted at an angle that will challenge but not frighten improving skiers. A lack of crowds and the north facing aspect of this area make it the last place on the mountain to ski powder after a storm.
Photo: Jason Mitchell
Expert skiers and riders often head straight to the steeps of Ninety Nine 90. While the terrain is challenging, the runs aren’t as long as those accessed from the Super Condor Express. The runs on the south side of Super Condor, Chute 1 through 7, have the longest, most consistent fall lines on the mountain. Be sure not to overlook Golden Eagle, the last remaining chair from the days when The Canyons was called Park West. It might run a little slower than the new high-speed quads, but you won’t complain once you’re skiing fresh powder in Silverado bowl well after Ninety Nine 90 has been reduced to moguls.
Of course, the best way to find fresh powder after a storm is to go for a hike in the backcountry. The Canyons has backcountry access gates at the top of Ninety Nine 90 and Peak 5, but only expert skiers and riders with considerable avalanche safety knowledge and the right tools – beacon, shovel, probe and a partner – should venture beyond resort boundaries. Don’t be fooled by the tracks you’ll see on the surrounding terrain, these areas are not patrolled, and there is no avalanche control work performed there. If you feel like a hike but don’t have the knowledge and tools for a safe backcountry venture, try the 600-foot climb from Super Condor to the top of Murdock Peak. You’ll have a great powder run without having to worry about being buried by an avalanche.
If you’re planning a trip to Utah this winter, make sure you spend a day exploring The Canyons. If you want to lodge there, the best deal is available March 30th through April 6th when slopeside rates drop to $149 per night INCLUDING free skiing. While this might seem late in the year for skiing, bear in mind that Utah’s mountains receive the MOST snow in March, and major storms have pounded northern Utah the first week in April for three years running. Plus, you won’t want to miss the 6th Annual Pond Skimming Contest and Reggae Festival on April 5th. Put on your favorite costume and try to cross a 100-foot-long pond of icy water while being cheered on by a couple hundred spectators. Then unwind, in good skier fashion, to some reggae. For more information on awesome deals, like free skiing with lodging, Click Here and/or call 1-877-472-6308 to make your reservations.