Backcountry Skiing near Brighton, Utah
The beautiful Wasatch Mountain Range sits in the heart of the state of Utah. Every year it receives more than 500 inches of powdery snow. This incredible natural resource has been an inspiration for athletes and adrenaline junkies for over a century. As resorts have begun to attract more and more visitors each year, many outdoor enthusiasts have begun to move away from ski lifts to explore the other beautiful areas that surround them. Backcountry skiing has continued to grow in popularity and Big Cottonwood Canyon has become one of the most popular locations to do it.
The most common approach to backcountry skiing or snowboarding involves special skis with “skins” that allow people to climb up the side of the mountain without sliding back down on every step. When they reach the summit, the bindings lock into place, and the skins are removed. The riders can then descend down terrain that would otherwise be inaccessible.
Backcountry Skiing in Big Cottonwood Canyon
Big Cottonwood canyon features more than 52,000 acres of pristine terrain that attracts backcountry skiers and snowshoe enthusiasts from around the world. The 15 mile road that winds through the canyon provides numerous opportunities to pull off and explore some of the many renowned trails and mountains in the area.
Here we are going to talk about some of our favorite spots to go backcountry skiing in Big Cottonwood Canyon. If you plan to go for your first time, be sure to bring an experienced guide as it can be very dangerous. It is always a good idea to bring a buddy no matter how experienced you are. Let plenty of people know where you plan to be and how long you plan to be there as well. This allows them to call for help in case of an emergency.
Utah Ski Area Accessibility
Big Cottonwood Canyon is full of narrow chutes, wide open faces and technical rock fields. No matter your skill level there is something here for everyone. All of these areas we will discuss, provide beautiful views and amazing experiences, but it is your responsibility to determine what terrain is in your skill level, avalanche danger, weather, and all other safety factors to consider before choosing a trail.
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Mount Raymond is home to some of the most well known backcountry ski lines in the Wasatch.
This peak is accessible from both Big Cottonwood Canyon and Little Cottonwood Canyon. It generally receives a little more traffic than some of the other peaks in the area so be prepared for a short line at the top.
From the top you can access a number of amazing chutes that all funnel into an apron that takes you down to the base.
Arguably one of the most difficult peaks to ski, the variety of routes that descend from Kessler Peak require a high level of physical ability and skiing experience.
This area is filled with steep climbs, and narrow lines that take the adventurous riders on the ride of a lifetime.
We highly recommend this peak for riders that are confident in their backcountry abilities.
Silver Fork is perfect for less experienced skiers, or people looking for a mellower day.
The slopes are much less steep in this portion of the canyon, and it is generally one of the less crowded areas on the mountain.
As an added bonus, the large open plains and scattered aspens provide views that are nothing less than spectacular.
Park City Ridgeline
Last, but definitely not last, the Park City Ridgeline is at the top of our list of favorite backcountry skiing in Brighton, Utah.
This winter paradise features a number of incredible bowls and it stretches more than 8 miles.
This area offers some of the most breathtaking views, and best skiing for everyone that wants to explore the beauty of the Wasatch like never before.
Extra Equipment for Backcountry Skiing
Backcountry skiing involves more risk than skiing at a resort. That also means that there is more equipment involved in doing it safely. Like normal skiing/snowboarding you will need warm waterproof clothing (snow pants, winter coat, insulating socks, warm layers underneath, gloves/mittens, winter cap). You will also need a helmet, and any other food and drinks you need/want throughout the day. Moving past these essentials, there are a number of things you will need to comfortably and safely ascend and descend in the backcountry.
The first things you will need are backcountry skis, bindings, and boots. These are different from normal downhill sets because they allow you to unlock your heel and ankle allowing for easier movement while you are hiking. You can then lock them back in when you are ready to descend.
Next, you will need skins for your skis. These provide traction as you ascend. They clip and stick to the base of your ski, and you can peel them off when you arrive at the peak.
There are also a couple pieces of safety equipment that are crucial for any excursion in the winter. At resorts, there is a ski patrol that can provide first aid, and avalanche mitigation. In the backcountry, all of the responsibility falls to the rider and their group. Everyone that participates should have a beacon, a first aid kit, a shovel, and a probe. These pieces of equipment can provide assistance in case of an avalanche or injury. We also highly recommend an avalanche airbag, a compass, headlamp, crampons, and a detailed map of the areas you plan to visit.
Ski Trip Planning
At Brighton Vacation Rentals, we provide a variety of different lodging options at the top of the canyon. All of our properties provide access to an outdoor spa as well as all of the other amenities you need for the perfect vacation. They are the ideal spot for any winter stay, and our team is here 24/7 to help you plan the perfect vacation for backcountry skiing in Brighton.