Winter

Find Your Pitch, Ice Climbing close to home

Climbers have three options in the winter: drive south, go indoors, or layer up and get on some ice. If you haven’t yet tried option number three, there is still time, the season isn’t over yet. Yes, attaching metal spikes to your feet and holding on by the tip of an ice axe can be a little intimidating, but there are few epic adventures more brag-worthy than standing atop a pillar of ice. Try it once, and you’ll be hooked.

Most people have their baptism by ice at Ouray Ice Park in Colorado: the perfect launch pad for an ice climbing career. The man-made ice is reliable and thick, while in the Wasatch, fluctuating weather patterns and avalanches make route finding a little more fickle.  For those sick of following a Candy Lane trail of colored, chalked-up holds in the gym, put your gloves on instead and try these ice climbing routes.

PROVO CANYON

After driving up this canyon, park at the Bridal Veils parking lot, and you will find another vehicle full of climbers. Accessibility and consistent ice make this place a little crowded, but there is a high concentration of climbs here. Access the famous Stairway to Heaven just off the trail, a multi-pitch climb that can reach up to 10 pitches during a good ice season. The first pitch, lovingly called The Apron because of its width, is easy to set up a top-rope on and do laps. There are a few bolts at the top, so you can hop between routes if you are in a bigger group.

If you keep walking up the trail before turning toward the Stairway area, you will come to the breathtaking Bridal Veil Falls. While it rarely freezes, there are a few fantastic climbs to the right of it. Ice leading experience is required.

LITTLE COTTONWOOD CANYON

You really can’t call yourself an ice climber and live in Utah without climbing the Great White Icicle. It’s a classic multi-pitch easily accessible off the freeway. The views get better and better at the end of each of the four pitches, but don’t get distracted and forget to watch for falling ice. Because of high traffic, you will get hit with ice, so always wear a helmet. Once you’ve done this classic, you might as well hike over to Scruffy Band, a collection of ice dripping off granite slabs. You can switch easily between routes of easy grades.

MAPLE CANYON

When avalanche dangers are high in the Wasatch, Maple Canyon is the perfect alternative. Around every winding cobblestone corner, ice pours into perfect climbing routes. There are several routes accessible off the Main Road, but Box Canyon and Left Fork also reveal hidden treasures. Tennis Shoe Slab is long but sustained, and the intimidating Dagger is just around the corner, suspended over an easy first pitch that has set chains. The Wet Itchies and Bowling Ball Head are a little more steep, but fun if you are ready to push yourself.

JOE’S VALLEY

This famous bouldering destination also has stellar ice in the winter months. The CCC and Donoricicle are both breathtaking pillars of thick ice that just taunt you to climb them. A top rope can easily be set up at the Donoricicle, but leading experience is necessary for the two pitches of the CCC. A plus here is the belayer isn’t stuck with a bad view, the frozen Joe’s Reservoir and surrounding mountainous landscape are visible below.

**If you are going ice climbing in Utah, purchase the detailed guide “Beehive Ice” by Nathan Smith and Andrew Burr. Also, check avalanche conditions prior to the climb and check equipment constantly throughout.

c.webber@wasatchmag.com

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How I Ended up in Cranbrook, B.C.

The reality of what we had gotten ourselves into only hit me at the tiny, remote border crossing in Roosville, MT. After politely informing the Canadian border patrol agent that our travel plans were to head to Cranbrook, B.C., he followed up with an assertive, “Why?” I noticeably fumbled my words as I crafted a substantial-sounding answer. The words I thought in my head were sarcastically clear — “I don’t know, I definitely didn’t just choose to come here a couple hours ago on a whim because I saw this town for the first time on Google Maps.” He sternly told us to pull aside the border patrol office. For a few anxious moments, we sat stock-still in the car anticipating a full search because of our lack of reason for entering the country. Finally, another Canadian official tapped for the window to be lowered and he handed us our passports back without saying a word.

Apparently, spontaneous traveling without a good reason doesn’t make the cut at border crossings, but it’s a popular activity these days that is increasingly easier. I’m sure I’m not alone when I say many of us adventure-minded folk have dreamed of pointing to a spot on a map in another country and impulsively going. I did exactly this all in one day. I looked up pictures of the city on my phone, booked the cheapest motel I could find for the evening, and went purely for the sake of seeing a new place and the ensuing story that might come from it. Despite the fact this was just a short drive across the border, there are so many possibilities around the world if you can save up a bit of money for a plane ticket. Then the resources of the Information Age do the rest.

The pictures here are of Fernie, B.C., a popular ski town you would have expected us to visit and what the border patrol agent likely expected to hear as our destination. But we didn’t even bring skis. We did pop over to Fernie, but our true destination was Cranbrook, an unnoteworthy, unphotogenic town beside some photogenic distant mountains. That was the beauty of the trip — we went somewhere that wasn’t even adventurous on the outdoors spectrum. It was just somewhere new to explore that we found online on a map.

GOOGLE MAPS AND TRIMBLE OUTDOORS: 

From a random flight generator to adjusted public transit times in cities across the globe. Google Maps is my go-to travel companion and can help me pick my next internet-generated spot on the map to go to every time. Also included: driving route planning, reviews of hotels and restaurants, photos, write-ups, satellite images, and GPS data. Trimble Outdoors gives you access to different map lay-outs while helping you plan mileage and elevation gain on a hike.

COUCHSURFING, AIRBNB, WORKAWAY, HIPCAMP: 

These resources set you up with cheap lodging accommodations and unique travel situations. Couchsurfing sets you up with good samaritans looking to host people for a short amount of time in exchange for stories and connections with unique people. Airbnb costs money, but is a great (and cheap) way to have a personal experience with the residents. Workaway is tailored toward long-term international travelers, who trade work for room and board. Hipcamp is great for finding camping spots outside of traditional campgrounds.

THE OUTBOUND COLLECTIVE, THE OUTDOOR PROJECT, ALL TRAILS:

These handy resources can find you the best outdoor excursions wherever you end up. They are based on solid outdoor community reviews backed up with maps, pictures, and firsthand accounts to get to the best adventure you can find on a short notice.

c.hammock@wasatchmag.com

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Four tips for winter emergencies

Backpackers, hikers, and campers should be prepared for more than a simple hike when out in the winter months. Being in the mountains means there is always the danger of an avalanche. But there are also dangers of getting lost, injured, running out of food, or medical emergencies from the cold such as frostbite. Here are a few tips to prepare for winter hikes:

#1 Winterize Your Backpack

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine went on a short, two hour hike. It was -4º F on the mountain and, although he was prepared, some people in the group struggled to breathe in the cold, and one girl lost feeling in her fingers.

Pack extra dry clothes, preferably made of wool or polyester, a space blanket, a lighter, and dry tinder for a fire. Hand warmers and an insulated bottle filled with warm water or hot chocolate can also come in handy.

#2. Improve Your Skills

When stuck in a blizzard on a hike, everything is harder. By mastering these skills, you will feel more confident facing whatever Mother Nature throws at you. Some examples are:

  • Starting a fire without matches or lighters
  • Knowing how to melt snow if you ever run out of water. Never eat the snow directly, but use a bandana to pre-filter debris and let it melt into a container.
  • Layering. It might sound easy, but knowing what materials wick away moisture and when to remove layers because of sweating can save you from freezing later on.
  • Basic first aid skills.

 

#3. Forage off the land

There’s nothing like hot tea to warm you up and fill your stomach while you are waiting for a storm to pass. Pine needle is are extremely rich in vitamin C and other micronutrients, just make sure you don’t consume toxic ones such as lodgepole, ponderosa and montery. Be careful though, as some are toxic: Lodgepole, Ponderosa and Montery. Other wild edibles you can cook or make tea from are cat tail, wild onions, acorns, chickweed, and dandelions.

#4. Preserve Energy

When you have limited supplies of food and water, you need to save every ounce of energy you can. Even when you’re not in a life and death situation, calories are extremely important. Given that the only way to get more when you’re up on the mountain is to eat the food you carry or forage, do your best to save your strength by avoiding unnecessary activities that will waste energy.

Guest writer: Dan Sullivan

Photo by: Carolyn Webber

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How to: Select a Ski Boot

When Harry Potter is preparing for Hogwarts, the big-ticket item he buys is a wand— an extraordinary instrument that channels his inner magic, transforming it to action. When skiers are preparing for the slopes, the big-ticket item they buy is ski boots— magical instruments that channel their strength and agility, transforming it to smooth turns and beautiful lines. Ski boots are the primary way that skiers connect with their skis and interact with the snow. Choosing a well-fitting ski boot is integral not only to making sure you fly down the hill like a pro, but also to ensure comfort and safety while skiing.

Flex: Ski boots may be measured by flex, or how difficult it is to flex a boot forward. An easier flex is more forgiving and translates strength easily into motion and maneuverability while absorbing jarring impacts. Increasingly stiff flex ratings help heavier, stronger, and more aggressive skiers to communicate with their skis and charge through more challenging terrain at higher speeds.

Based on your skier type, recommended flex values are:

  • soft flex (60-80 for men, 50-60 for women) for beginning to intermediate skiers.
  • medium flex (85-100 for men, 65-80 for women) for intermediate to advanced skiers.
  • stiff flex (110-120 for men, 85-100 for women) for advanced to expert skiers.
  • very stiff flex (130+ for men, 110+ for women) for expert and racing skiers.

Liners: Different liners will fit your foot in varying degrees of comfort and precision. This depends on if you are riding full days (and may nap wearing them because they are so comfortable) or you are ripping across a pitted traverse and dropping cliffs.

All boot liners will compress over time to better fit your feet, however, more aggressive or racing boots often have thinner liners that will “pack out” less. Thermoformable liners respond to your natural heat to better form to your feet after a couple days of skiing. Custom moldable liners can be artificially heated and worn to form to your feet with the most precision. This can alleviate pain for those with wide feet or ankles and prevent bone spurs from aggravation due to rubbing in ill-fitting boots. Added foot beds can also make a comfortable fit for those with high arches or unique feet.

Shell type: Varying boot shells can impact the customizability of your fit and the maneuverability of your skis. Three-piece shells offer a more progressive flex pattern in boots that allows you to evenly flex through your entire range of motion for added smoothness and balance on unpredictable terrain. Still, they do translate less energy into the skis for forward power. Four-piece shells offer a more limited range of flex that can be jarring and stressful on the body in off-piste conditions, but they efficiently transfer power into speed while skiing.

Harry Potter didn’t become the most powerful wizard after he got his wand; he had to wave it around quite a bit before he got the hang of it. As you select your ski boots, you will still need to adjust sizing and ski them for at least a couple full days before they start to feel like your own. So, put on your boots and start feeling the magic!

c.simon@wasatchmag.com

Photos by Claire Simon

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Air Purifying Plants to Help you Through the Inversion

It’s that time of year. Everyone is sick with the never-ceasing headache, stuffy nose, runny nose, and cough combo. Utah’s polluted air makes it hard to take a deep breath and clear our sinuses. In addition to the car exhaust and factory pollution that sneaks its way into our living rooms, the EPA ranks indoor air quality as a top five environmental risk to public health. EPA studies found indoor air pollutants from sources like burning candles, paints, fabrics, and cleaning products are two to five times greater than outdoor pollution levels.
Luckily for us, Mother Nature has provided us with a natural way to help our lungs fight back against these self-inflicted winter ailments– plants. That’s right, buy house plants! We all know plants breathe in carbon dioxide and breathe out oxygen, but did you know they also filter out particulate matter and carcinogens? According to the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, plants improve indoor air and make interior breathing spaces healthier. Basically, plants rock.
In addition to improving air quality, plants are nice to look at and will help alleviate some of that cabin fever. Here are some magical air-filtering and practically indestructible plants for your apartment or dorm that are budget friendly.

Aloe Vera
Aloe Vera is one of the most unique and beautiful plants. Its pastel green color and spiny leaves look great on bookshelves and, well, anywhere. Everyone knows of its skin-healing and anti-inflammatory properties, but it’s also a superstar at filtering out formaldehyde. Aloe Vera doesn’t need too much sun, so put it in a well-lit room, water it every three to four days, and it (and you) will be a happy camper.

Garden Mum
Cute name, tough plant. If you want to add some color to your pad, Garden Mums, aka Chrysanthemums, are the perfect choice. They come in many different colors and filter out all the bad stuff. Ammonia, benzene, formaldehyde, benzene-you name it. In addition, these are very affordable, typically costing less than $5.

Snake Plant
If you have a gift for killing every plant you come into contact with, this is the choice for you. Snake plants are known for their hardiness. They like to be watered occasionally and have some sun, but you can put them anywhere in your space and it will do just fine. In addition to formaldehyde and benzene, this plant friend filters out trichloroethylene and xylene.
You can find these plants and more at a number of garden stores in the downtown area. I recommend Paradise Palm on 307 E. Broadway or Western Gardens, located right behind Trolley Square. However, there are a number of local shops and nurseries like Thyme and Place, Cactus and Tropicals, or Millcreek Gardens that will have what you need and more.

a.winter@wasatchmag.com

Photo by Alaynia Winter

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Dream jobs for the outdoor enthusiast

The dream job for most outdoor enthusiasts = spending a good amount of time outdoors and with like-minded people. Oh, and free gear.

Welcome to the lives of those working in the outdoor industry. Yes, it’s just as good as you’ve always imagined. How do you land a job like that? Workers at three outdoor retailers tell us:

Mark Cole, a business and sales executive at HippyTree Surf & Stone Apparel, graduated with a BA of social ecology from UC Irvine.

Jess Smith, vice president of Outside PR (which represents Cotopaxi), majored in communication at the University of Technology in Sydney, Australia.

Robert Shirley-Smith (see image above), sales director at Tentsile, studied human geography and anthropology at Sussex University in England.

Do you feel that your education applies to your current work?

Cole: I want to say yes because I’m a big fan of higher education, but truthfully, probably not. This type of industry and these type of jobs require a lot of on-the-job-training.

Smith: Absolutely. 100 percent. It just sets you up in terms of who you are as a person, what you like to do, and how to utilize your skills and talents the best.

Shirley-Smith: No crossover whatsoever. When I graduated in 2010 during the economic slump, there were no jobs available so I retrained as a carpenter. The founder of Tentsile reached out to me originally because of my experience with treehouses; that was involved in his goal of creating a tent that would fit all trees.

Did you always know you wanted to work with an outdoor company?

 Cole: I kind of figured it out when I was about 17 or 18 when I saw people older than myself living a pretty sweet lifestyle and told myself, ‘If they can make money doing that, I don’t see why I can’t.’

Shirley-Smith: No—I didn’t even know this industry existed back in England! My real passion was for building. But I just rolled with the punches and ended up here.

What is your favorite aspect of your work?

 Cole: I like that this industry is fun and it can be pretty irreverent at times. There’s a whole lot of lines that get crossed on a pretty regular basis and I can’t say that it shares that with a lot of other industries. It’s unique in that way.

Shirley-Smith: I respect the business’s ethics; it supports reforestation and sustainability, which aligns with my own values.

What is your all-time favorite piece of equipment or gear?

 Smith: I’m really drawn to Cotopaxi’s Kusa line of products with llama fleece and poly-insulation products. It’s helping to assist a lot of Bolivian communities because they’re working with farmers and the agricultural production there. Nobody else is doing llama. And the items look great, too.

Shirley-Smith: The Connect Model Tensile. After I survived an 11-hour rainstorm in it, I bonded with it.

Do you have an outdoor tip to share with fellow enthusiasts?

 Cole: Don’t be afraid to push your limits, but always stay within your comfort zone and be prepared.

Smith: Layer up. Always have a Buff on hand. Buff is the most versatile piece of equipment you are going to have for any sport.

What is your favorite aspect of the outdoors?

 Cole: It’s kind of like church for me personally. You are able to connect with nature on a deeper level when you step outside your comfort zone and experience new things and kind of see the raw splendor of Mother Nature.

Shirley-Smith: I grew up in the city in London, where the outdoors are viewed more as an escape from an urban environment than in other areas. So that is initially how I learned to love the outdoors, as an escape. It also helped that my parents were hippies and roamed the country with me in a van.

c.simon@wasatchmag.com

Photo by Claire Simon

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Carpool up the canyons

As bus riders grabbed their skis and stepped off toward the lifts last Friday, they were met with a pleasant surprise — a free beanie and a thumbs up from enthusiastic people heading the POW Day event. POW Day, which began last year through a partnership with Protect Our Winters (POW), Ski Utah, and local resorts Snowbird and Alta, was such a success that they decided to expand it this season to Powder Mountain and Sundance.

For the Cottonwood resorts, the day was representative of a bigger initiative taking place all season long. Snowbird’s new program, RIDE (Reducing Individual Driving for the Environment), incentivizes carpoolers and bus riders, said Hilary Arens, Snowbird’s Director of Water Resources and Environmental Programs.

Arens knows what all skiers want: “Time, money, and powder,” she said.

Those carpooling with three or more skiers or riders receive VIP parking close to the lifts by Entry 1 and Entry 2. Besides proximity to fresh tracks, they also receive a punch card that, after 10 times carpooling, they can redeem for a transferrable half-priced Snowbird day pass. Monthly, Snowbird will select twenty season pass holders who ride UTA to receive a half-priced day pass as well.

Carpoolers participating in RIDE also enter a raffle, in which eight people are selected for a once in a lifetime early-up ride on Gadzoom. One bus rider and one employee are chosen for this event too, which will take place a few times a season.

Snowbird teamed up with POW, Breathe Utah, Canyon Transportation, and UTA to design and launch the RIDE program and, soon, similar benefits will spring up at Alta, Brighton, and Solitude ski resorts. Snowbird worked with UTA to improve the frequency and reliability of their buses, and season passes double as a UTA pass. This is a cost Snowbird incurs, said Brian Brown, director of marketing for Snowbird, but any extra incentive to reduce traffic in the canyon is worth it.

“We believe we can make a difference, even if it’s a small one,” he said. “I am 100 percent confident that over time, this program is going to pay off and we are going to have less people driving up the canyons.”

At POW Day, that difference was calculated at a reduction of 24,197 lbs of CO2 for the four participating resorts, according to Paul Marshall, spokesperson for Ski Utah.

“With a tree absorbing an average of 48 lbs of CO2 annually, POW Day saved as much CO2 as 184,000 trees would absorb in one day. With a healthy forest density of 75 trees per acre, this is equivalent to 2,455 acres of trees, or all of Snowbird,” Marshall said.

This was the first year Ski Utah tracked results, which they did thanks to people registering via the SNOCRU app, and they hope to increase those numbers each year. But, there’s no need to wait for next POW Day to make a difference; each time riders carpool to Snowbird with three or more people, they are keeping 40 pounds of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere.

“There is a carbon fee to come ski. To come up these canyons, to run the chairlifts and the buses,” Arens said. “So, the best thing that we ask of our employees and guests is to offset that by coming up together and reducing Snowbird’s carbon footprint.”

c.webber@wasatchmag.com

Photo courtesy of Chris Segal

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Outdoor Retailer Leaving Utah?

On Dec. 28, President Barack Obama designated 1.9 million acres of land in southern Utah- Bears Ears National Monument, checking off one of the lame duck’s final moves as leader of the free world. Almost immediately, Utah Republicans swore to disestablish the monument, calling it an abuse of presidential power and disregard for the will of Utahns.

Governor Gary Herbert plans to “challenge [Obama’s] action appropriately through the many administrative, legal and legislative avenues available.” While Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes aims to, “file a lawsuit challenging this egregious overreach by the Obama Administration.” Whatever the medium, the intent of Utah Republicans is clear: do away with Bears Ears.

Ironically, this conflict erupted just weeks before the winter edition of Outdoor Retailer 2017, and it triggered a backlash from major outdoor companies. Black Diamond founder and former CEO Peter Metcalf published a scathing op-ed in The Salt Lake Tribune, criticizing Governor Herbert and other Utah Republican leaders for waging an “all-out assault against Utah’s protected public lands and Utah’s newest monument.”

Metcalf called this agenda “antithetical to our industry” and threatened that “this trade show will depart with the expiration of the current contract in 2018 unless the leadership ceases its assault on America’s best idea.” He goes on to further say that Utah’s public lands are a large part of the reason OR was moved to Salt Lake and that an attack on those lands is an attack on the outdoor industry as a whole.

Shortly after, Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia, published a press release echoing the ideas behind Metcalf’s op-ed. Chouinard similarly criticized Governor Herbert for having, “spent years denigrating our public lands, the backbone of our business, and trying to sell them off to the highest bidder.” The Patagonia founder also said that his company would not be returning to OR next year if Utah leadership’s stance on public lands did not change, citing how Governor Herbert has “created a hostile environment that puts our industry at risk.”

Although Metcalf and Chouinard hold no formal power over the location of OR the influence their businesses hold is enormous. It is very likely that the precedent set by these behemoths will be followed by multitudes of companies as well.

This would be a massive blow for Utah. The outdoor industry generates $650 billion nationally, $12 billion of which is in Utah. It also hosts about 120,000 jobs across the state. Losing the outdoor industry’s most eminent trade show for conservation reasons could have a significant impact on those numbers. Also, losing OR means losing the roughly $50 million in direct spending generated every year from the conference.

Utah boasts some of the most incredible landscapes on Earth. The state is a hub for outdoor recreation and renowned as one of the wildest places to get outside. Outdoor Retailer is the affirmation of these beliefs, but without changes or a resolution to this conflict, it is almost certain to make that affirmation some place else.

n.halberg@wasatchmag.com

Photo by Claire Simon

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Gear Review: Aura Optics Nimbus Goggle

I tend to skimp out when it comes to the quality of my ski goggles. I’ve never thought too much about the plastic over my face and never wanted to drop big sums of money for a good pair, stubbornly sticking to wearing my scratched-up, lens-popping-out, constantly foggy $20 Bollé goggles. Aura Optic’s Nimbus Goggles were the first real “nice” goggles I’ve ever worn, and they held up far too well on the hill. Now, there’s no going back to the crappy goggles of my past.

What makes them so good?

Fog-proofThroughout a long ski day full of heavy breathing, fog never appeared despite practically breathing into them from the inside of a zipped-up jacket. I breathed directly on the anti-fog treated lens and watched as the fog disappeared almost instantly as air flowed through the surrounding five “Auraflow” vents.

Water resistance After a couple wipeouts — erm, I mean, face shots? — I inevitably ended up with snow all over the goggles. In my previous experience, snow would get stuck inside of the goggles and ruin my visibility for the rest of the day. With these goggles, barely any snow made it inside (thanks to the zero-movement silicone strap) and the snow/water that did wicked right off.

Better visibility– We’ve all had that feeling before — white-out conditions where you can make out zero distinct features in the snow ahead. Are there moguls? Maybe. Is there a little five foot cliff right there? Perhaps. Though not technically polarized (Aura has a polarized lens too, though) these goggles helped distinguish features on the mountain.

Wide field of view The goggle has a wide spherical shape, allowing a peripheral field of view to make out what was happening next to me. This great feature improves safety and lets you enjoy the view. The shape made the world feel more natural, helping me forget about the giant piece of plastic covering my eyes.

Adaptability Look up through the lens and you see yellow; look down, it’s blue. Like bi-focal glasses, these lenses adapt to whatever light situation you are in. The lens is easily interchangeable for other Aura Optics shades, depending on weather and light.

After my eyes were opened to this side of the visibility spectrum, maybe I’ll have to dish out some cash to enhance my skiing experience every time. At $120 the Nimbus isn’t too cheap, but worth the investment for well over six times the viewing quality than that of my current pair. Or you know, I could keep being way too stingy and suffer for the rest of my life.

c.hammock@dailyutahchronicle.com

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Explore the Wasatch in Winter

Utah is well-known as a prime winter skiing destination, but it has so much more to offer.

To discover the natural scenery at this time of year, scout out some of the frozen waterfalls that dot the state from up north in Layton down to the deserts of Zion National Park. Provo Canyon has some of the closest falls. The famous Bridal Veil Falls, which has the luxury of an easy approach with a parking lot right at the base is also a popular ice climbing destination due to its numerous routes that vary in difficulty. Another frozen waterfall to explore is Stewart Falls, located near Sundance. The falls split into two tiers as it towers for over 200 feet. At just over four miles, this is a moderate hike. As you ascend to the falls, stop and take in the surrounding scenery — a stunning panoramic view of the valley below with snow blanketing the cascading mountains.

Another iconic frozen waterfall to venture to is Donut Falls up Big Cottonwood Canyon. This is a great hike for beginners; it sees plenty of traffic through the season, making it easy to walk along the hard-packed snow. Although it may be an easier hike, don’t let that deter you from throwing on your snowshoes to make the trail even more enjoyable. Donut Falls isn’t completely frozen, nor tall enough to ice climb, but its natural beauty is worth the trek up the canyon. Seeing the water rushing over ice covered rocks is truly breathtaking.

Up north, find frozen falls in Adams’ Canyon in Layton. While more difficult, the view along the entire trail makes up for your lack of breath. The trailhead starts on the benches of the valley, which serves as a great vantage point of the city and is far away from the inversion.

Snowshoeing to frozen lakes, such as Red or White Pine in Little Cottonwood Canyon or to Lake Blanche up Big Cottonwood Canyon, are also great winter activities. They all have several hundred feet of elevation gain ranging over five miles of terrain. Snowshoes and poles are a must as you scale the steep terrain. The still lakes are incredible as frosted mountains tower over you. Make your trip longer and enjoy the sun setting on the mountains during an overnight trip. Be sure to dress appropriately, since temperatures at night can drop to dangerously low numbers.

If you want to venture away from the busy Cottonwood Canyons, Snowbasin Resort and North Fork Park are excellent alternatives. Snowbasin (one hour north of Salt Lake) and North Fork Park (an hour and 15 minutes north of Salt Lake) both offer over 20 km of groomed trails maintained almost daily. At North Fork Park, the south trailhead has a spot to grab warm drinks, snacks, or trail maps.

So, those without a ski pass this year, rejoice! There are plenty of adventures to be had in the Wasatch during these winter months.

p.creveling@wasatchmag.com

Photo courtesy of Casey Hyer

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