Photos of the Week | Skiing Devil’s Castle… in JULY!

7:00 AM

Depart from Park City and head down Parley’s to the valley so that we can pick up Kyle. We loaded up the truck and passed by BCC and pointed south towards Little Cottonwood Canyon.

8:00 AM

We reach the top of LCC, hop out the truck and start planning our tour. Not much snow to be found overall. All south faces are dry to the bone. North facing slopes in shaded spots have retained some snow. Our eyes set up the basin to the top of Devil’s Castle. A big snow field still exist underneath the rock. That’s our goal.

8:11 AM

We click our boots into our skis and throw everything onto our packs to prepare for the hike up Albion Basin Road. It’s a casual hike, but a slog nonetheless with all the weight of an airbag and gear on my back. 

9:20 AM

Snow! The three of us finally reach enough snow to start our tour. Packs all drop to the grass, boots get clicked in, and skins get thrown on. With how hot it was, we decided to throw a fresh layer of wax on our skins to counter the wetness of snow ahead of us.

9:38 AM

The snow is interesting, and we picked a steep line. So steep, we decided to start bootpacking. Mike found out quickly that the snow was not consistent, nor hard packed. He fell through down to his waist, smacking a rock as he crushed through the snowpack.

10:22 AM

Snow has gotten worse! We finally reached the large snowfield below the base of Devil’s Castle and the snow can barely hold a ski’s edge. Two confident steps forward get you thinking the snow is better, then the third step would have you sliding 10 feet downhill. It was a defeating march uphill. 

10:33 AM

We head for drier ground. The touring just wasn’t worth the last 300 vert. We got to the exposed ridge, threw our skis onto our packs, and decided to ascend the last bit by climbing. The rock was unstable, but much more stable than the snow below. We cleaned a few sections, feeling like true mountaineers before reaching the top of the ridge. 

11:15 AM

The chute has been reached at a peak elevation on our tour of 10,816ft. Is it an official chute? Doubtful. But due to the snow melt, it’s a deep patch of snow between two rock outcroppings. So it’s a chute. It looked sketchy, about a ski’s width wide, covered in mank snow, pitched at a modest 30degrees with another 20deg off axis too.  

11:17 AM

After inspecting the chute’s exit, and not confident in my July ski legs, or lack there of, we let Mike get first dibs on it. Thankfully we did, since he just scraped off all the surface crud for Kyle and I. 

11:22 AM

The three of us make it through the chute, even if we all didn’t make a single turn down it and side-slipped the whole thing. It was still epic! Now it’s time to head down the slope. The snow is sun-cupped to hell, with moon-like craters all over the place. Edges still hold well, and turns were fun, with spring, corn snow spraying everywhere.

11:30 AM

We finally reach the drainage and start our snow/route finding adventure. Every time we think we reached the end of the snow, we side step our way up a hill and find some more snow to slide on. Surprisingly enough, we almost made it back to the hiking trail on skis!

11:40 AM

Packs back on the ground and loaded up with our skis and boots. The ski tour was over and we couldn’t have been more stoked. 


After trudging down the 4×4 roads, and loosing the trail a few times due to snow, we reached the truck. Stoked that we just earned some turns on a hot day in July. No matter how poor the snow conditions were, it’s hard to complain about skiing on feet of snow in July. The whole thing took us 4 hours and 21 minutes to go 7.1 miles and 2,000 feet of vertical gain. Epic day was had!

To see the full photo album, click the link below:

Continue Reading

South Lake Tahoe Trip

The first time you see the lake, as you crest the mountain pass from Reno, is a sight you’ll never forget. Driving through the dense evergreen forest, the deep blue of the lake contrasts with the green surrounding the rim. And to add to its beauty, the white peaked mountains on the western edge of the  lake climb high into the sky. And that’s only the beginning of the trip. A trip we just got back from this past weekend. We met up with some friends from back east who rented a house to ski for the week. Since it …

Continue Reading

Earning Your Turns | Alpine Touring 101 (a.k.a Ski Touring)

Alpine touring is, in a nutshell, a terrible way to spend an hour or four. Instead of using the ski lift to reach the top of a mountain, like a sane person, you choose to hike up to the top of the mountain with your skis and boots still strapped to you feet. Which is where the phrase, “earning your turns” comes from. It takes exponentially longer than taking a lift, and you can ski significantly few runs per day.  But for some people, earning your turns, is the only way they will ski.  How exactly are you supposed to …

Continue Reading

A Proper Epic: A Wild Ski Touring Story Experience

Epic (/ˈepik/): When a proposed plan goes to sh!t and you find yourself off route; taking place usually in the dark. This past Tuesday night, my buddy Pete and I decided to check out a new zone to ski tour. The plan was to ski Mount Aire in Lambs Canyon. The peak is visible every time you drive East on 80 going from Park City to Salt Lake, and for that reason, I wanted to ski it! So we met up in the parking lot, just off the exit and went over our “plan.” I had no beta about his …

Continue Reading

Backcountry Skiing

The silence, the solitude, the vertical gain, and of course… the deep powder. When it comes to skiing, spending a day touring around in the mountains is hard to beat. For something as simple as sliding down a field of snow, backcountry skiing is tremendously complex, physically exhausting, and gear intensive. For those three reasons I can’t get enough of it. Every ski tour starts at the beginning of the season with the state of the snowpack. Understanding how the season’s snowfall layers up and where the weak layers exist . The morning of a tour, you wake up and …

Continue Reading

Becoming A Local | 50+ Days Skiing This Season Part 2

After receiving a great amount of feedback from my last post (50+ Days of Skiing), and a great suggestion from my buddy Bill, I decided to write part 2. Whenever I’ve been to a place on a trip or for vacation, I’ve always noticed one thing that stood out to me in particular. It wasn’t just the mountains. It wasn’t the cool small towns. The thing that stood out to me the most were the locals. Whenever I’d strike up a conversation with someone on a chair lift, and they’d mention that they were “from there”, I used to get …

Continue Reading

50+ Days Skiing This Season

It’s been my goal, or dream if you will, to ski for 30 days in a single ski season. That means clicking into your skis for one month out of the year between the first snowfall of October, until the last snow melts in April. After picking up skiing in 2015, I fell in love with it immediately and tried to ski as much as possible. But while I lived in New England, I never even got close to more than 15 days in a season. Fortunately, that all changed when I moved up to Park City for the 18-19 …

Continue Reading

My AIARE 1 Avalanche Course Experience

This past weekend, I took my AIARE 1 Avalanche Course right here in Park City. This course was long overdue, in my opinion. Since the beginning of this season, I knew I had to sign up for a course; but by the time I got around to it, the earliest availability was in February (a.k.a. not soon enough). So as the season progressed, I crept more and more into the backcountry, without the education I need. 

Continue Reading