On occasion someone will ask me what my “favorite” line in the Wasatch is. It’s kind of a dumb question and so I’m usually a smart ass and respond with, “the one with the best snow in it.” This is mostly true. I like skiing good powder and there are so many fun lines of all sorts in this tiny little mountain range—steep tight couloirs to big open bowls and faces and everything in between.
However, I if I do try and narrow it down, I’m able to come up with a top five. The Grr Couloir is one of them. Why? There are several reasons that this 3,000-foot slope that gouges through Cascade Peak is high on my list. The first is the aspect. We’re lucky that we get a lot of sun and warm temps on our mountains. This quickly stabilizes the snowpack on southern aspects. What this does is allow us to safely ski lines like the Grr in great powder when we’re only dealing with new snow/storm slab avalanches.
The other main reason I wanted to highlight this couloir in video form is because the width and pitch of the Grr are perfect for skiing! Many of the chutes here are tight and steep causing sluffing and avalanching that can scour the run and create debris piles. The Grr isn’t very steep so it holds the snow for skiing, rarely sluffing or avalanching. The width allows you to really open it up, be playful and fun, ski it fast and fluidly without making jump turns like many other couloirs require of the skier.
To top it off the setting and location make this line unique. It’s far enough away from the crowded central Wasatch that it doesn’t see a ton of visitors (hopefully this post and video doesn’t completely change that). Add to that the low elevation start and a somewhat lengthy approach which keeps most folks at bay. What they are missing is a long beautifully rock lined couloir with an incredible view of Utah Lake and Mount Timpanogos! I hope you enjoy the video as much as Adam Clark and I enjoyed making it.
--BD Athlete Noah Howell