It’s Worth it to Wake Up Early
Ben White grew up in Massachusetts and spent his free time adventuring in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, where he fell in love with backcountry skiing and mountain biking. After moving to Salt Lake City, he has taken up both rock and ice climbing in addition to attending the University of Utah to study geology.
The weather looked good, the avalanche conditions looked good, the snow looked good — all in all it was a recipe for a good day in the mountains, so we decided that skiing Superior was going to be a great call. There were a few sets of tracks down Mt. Superior from the previous days, which was inspiring because we hadn’t been sure if there was enough snow to cover up all the rocks. The turns made in the days prior to our trip looked fluid enough to suggest that there was plenty of the white stuff.
The night before our trip, I gathered a gang of three other guys — Riley, Jackson and Justin — who were in on the plan. We decided that an early start would be best, as it would warm up later in the day on the mountain and result in sticky snow. At 5:30 am, we started up the skin track to Telephone Pole Pass, the same way that skiing under the Supermoon in June started. The January moon was a day past full — we kept our headlamps off for the most part while the moonlight bathed the mountains in soft (but bright) light. We quickly made it up to the ridge and saw the sun rise.
After following the ridge a little ways and taking a slightly different (and more difficult) route than we’d originally intended, a cool guy named Greg caught up with us. At this point, Riley and Jackson decided that skiing instead of rock scrambling would be more enjoyable. Justin, Greg and I continued up.
Mt. Superior is included in 50 Classic Ski Descents of North America — a mountain blanketed in Utah’s trademark champagne powder, with 3000 continuous vertical feet of skiing that starts out with a nice chute emptying into a beautiful canvas to make huge and fast jet-fighter turns is pretty amazing.
With such easy access, it gets skied quite a bit and gets ogled by skiers across the street at Alta and Snowbird every day. Overall, I’d definitely say it’s a classic descent.
We summited shortly after Riley and Jackson split and our descent looked great. The snow was soft and hadn’t really started to melt, so we were able to enjoy great powder turns. By the time we’d made it back down, Riley and Jackson were waiting for us at the car and we all finished the day with a couple laps at Snowbird. Our trip couldn’t have been more straightforward and the day couldn’t have been better.