Superior

(The blustery summit of Mt. Superior, LCC, UT)

Some lines steal your imagination the first time that you see them.

That’s what happened to me the first time that I saw Mt. Superior in Little Cottonwood Canyon, UT, three or four years ago.  At the time, the South Face of Mt. Superior had yet to be listed at one of the 50 Classic Ski Descents of North America.  It was simply the largest skiable face that I’d ever seen, and it flowed all the way to the busy Little Cottonwood Road.  If you ski at Snowbird, or at Alta, then as you turn to ski downhill, you turn to ski towards its steep white face.

When I first saw Mt. Superior, I was impressed to learn that people skied it, and as the bumblie that I was, I told myself that one day I’d ski the line.  I’m now sitting in Salt Lake with the first of the summer’s thunderstorms shaking my windows, looking back on the season, and my descent of Mt. Superior marks a distinct high-point of personal satisfaction.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m not special, gifted, or even really that talented a ski mountaineer.  On any given day of the week, almost regardless of snow conditions, someone will lay turns down Superior’s South Face.  So often, in fact, that it’s a fairly common question to hear batted around at the bar; have you skied it?

However, I like to think that Ian Donovan and I not only skied the line, but we got on the line in near perfect conditions.  Because of its popularity, as I mentioned above, the face is skied in almost all conditions.  In many cases, the skiers who lay tracks down the face do so in such unstable conditions that I don’t hesitate to call them morons, fools, avalanche poodles, or all the above.  They’re likely unaware of the hazard to which they’re exposing themselves, or they just don’t care, both of which are unsustainable options.

(Sunrise on the ridge to Mt. Superior’s summit.)

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