Posted by: wasatchprotocol | April 15, 2011

Recipe: Green Aioli Sauce

After a day out in the backcountry on Sunday, my buddies and I decided that chicken tacos would be the ticket.  Cue the normal ingredients: Corn torillas, shredded chicken w/ some tequila lime seasoning, refried beans, cheese, tomatoes, and lettuce.  Many folk will top everything with salsa, but we weren’t having any of that.

Instead, I made a quick green aioli sauce that was super tasty.  Here’s the recipe.  I’ve made one modification since, which was a decrease in the amount of oil.

1 cup mayo

2 tablespoons lemon juice

4 cloves garlic, peeled

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup lightly packed coarsely chopped Italian parsley.  Or basil.

1 teaspoon grated lemon peel

1/4 cup olivedoil

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon cayenne red pepper

Throw it in the food processor and mix.  Chill until the food is ready.  Apply liberally.

A variation is to use 1 egg and 1 cup of olive oil instead of of the mayo and little bit of oil.  This is essentially mayo from scratch.


After day 2, Sunday morning started leisurely.  That is, we didn’t start skinning at 8 AM.  Or even 9 AM.  Because of this, we were treated with sharing the skin track from Alta to Twin Lakes Pass with more gapers and bro brahs than I think I’ve seen in one place at a time ever.  Well that’s not true, you see a lot of bros at least at Alta and Snowbird on Saturday powder days, and plenty of gapers over holiday weekends.  But it’s not everyday you see 40 morons on the skin track in front of you.  The display of “awesomeness” was astounding.  There were jean skiers on snowshoes that were soaked.  Ever heard of GoreTex?  There were skiers booting up the skin track.  That’s a no no in backcountry etiquette.  (It ruins the skin track).  There were French snowboarders smoking cigarettes off to the side of the skin track discussing the 75-foot cliffs they were going to drop.  None of those cliffs are 75 feet tall, and who knows what kind of rocks had just been buried in the landing zones by the current storm.  A group of neoned-out bro brah skiers on alpine trekkers were asking around if anybody knew were Chad’s Gap was.  Classic.  And to top it all off a large percentage of these tards did not have any avalanche gear with them.  For the record, the conditions were rather sensitive that day, as you will see, with the fresh snow and plenty of wind transport.  Luckily, most of these types move rather slow, so we passed them all less than half way to the Pass.  Even better, most of them didn’t venture past the Pass.  Pretty soon we were alone with the exception of running into a few small parties later in the day.

Up on Patsy, the winds were howling pretty good.  Jackets were donned, and we continued the trek around Wolverine Cirque.

Steve, Paul, and Alec ahead of me, traversing around the always impressively steep cirque.

At the top of Wolvie we met a group who were contemplating center punching the cirque.  Yeah… better reconsider that guys on a day like today.  They did, and we continued with a short ski down Wolverine Bowl in some great pow.  We climbed up to the Tuscarora ridgeline and proceded to cut off a cornice to test the slope below.  We got results:

The results of the cornice cutting. A ~300 foot wide slide that ran 6-700 feet. The crown wasnt too deep, but I wouldnt want to have been taken for a ride by it. We took this photo later in the day on our way out. Another small slide naturaled just to the left of this slide a few minutes after this photo was taken.

Ok, so north-facing wind-loaded steep lines were out.  Luckily the Seagull couloir faces east.  Chances are it was also a bit loaded, but we thought we’d go check it out anyways.

It was a little loaded, and someone had skied it probably 30 minutes prior and ripped out a small soft slab in the top of the chute.  Nothing too serious though so we decided to go for it.  I got firsties with Steve keeping an eye out for any avalanche funny business.  The gut of the couloir had a section where the new snow had slid down to the crust below, which made for an interesting turn or two, but the edges skied well and the apron was fantastic and deep.

The Seagull Couloir. Its the obvious line from the summit. 45 degrees at its steepest before easing up into a fun apron.

Next up was Steve with Alec and Paul waiting up high.

Steve navigating the interesting snow conditions in the gut of the couloir.

Miniature Steve enjoying the deepness lookers right in the Seagull apron.

High fives all around and it was time to skin up and out.

Alec, Paul, and Steve on the skinner.

Back up on Wolverine we decided to ski west down Patsy Marley into Alta.  Despite being buffeted by wind, that face skied remarkably well.

Paul making the most out of the final lap.

We eventually met up with a groomer in Alta Ski Resort and raced some little kids to the bottom.  We won.  A quick walk up to the trailhead and we were back at the car.  3 days of awesome skiing accomplished.

To continue the theme, a hot tub session was necessary to relieve the legs, followed by massive chicken tacos at Paul’s topped with a solid green aioli sauce that I made (first time).  Back at Steve’s, I packed my things and got a few hours of sleep before a 4:55 AM cab ride to the airport for my flights back to North Carolina.

Thanks to everybody who I got to hang out with, especially Paul for supplying the hot tub, and Steve and Thérèse for letting me stay with them.  Until next time.

Posted by: wasatchprotocol | April 13, 2011

…April Pow and Lots of It – Part 2: Mineral Fork and a Tiger

After skiing Mt. Raymond on Friday, devouring wings at the Wingcoop, and repairing tired muscles in our buddy Paul’s hot tub, we were ready for round 2 on Saturday.  Today’s objective was Bengal Tiger, a chute/slidepath in Mineral Fork that none of us had skied before.  Fueled up on a bacon, scrambled egg, and toast breakfast at Steve’s, Steve, Paul, and I began the skin up Mineral Fork in another fresh 1-2 feet of snow.  Today I was the photographer with my little Canon point and shoot.

The Wasatch, still in winters firm grasp.

Luckily, someone had started the skin track into Mineral, but as we approached Bengal Tiger we had to break trail ourselves.

Steve leading the way in lower Mineral.

A dead tree.

Pretty soon we were off the established skin track and it got steeper as we headed up the east side of the drainage.  We ran Indian Run trail breaking cycles to keep our pace up without tiring us out (we got tired).

Steve in the front breaking trail through the aspens at the moment.

Paul, also known as Paouul Venaablé (inside joke) taking a breather.

The snow became deeper and deeper as we ascended.  Near the top we were breaking trail in over knee-high snow.  That’ll work the hip flexor muscles.

Breaking trail. Up, up, and up we go.

For round 1 we dropped in and skied about an 800′ shot, ate a late lunch, and skinned back up for round 2.  Round 2 took us all the way down to the main drainage where we cruised back to the car on the Canyon road.

Paul slashing the pow.

Steve reaping the goods.


Steve almost needed a snorkel. I told you it was deep!

These turns were definitely earned the old fashioned way.  Several thousand feet of vert, many of which were earned breaking trail in deep snow.  We had faceshot after faceshot all the way down.  How’s that for an April 9th in the mountains?

We were running the POV video camera for both laps, but unfortunately it was having some issues and the ridiculous over the head blower footage was never actually recorded.  Bummer.

Post skiing activities then included a soak in the hot tub once again, a trip to Epic Brewery for some “carb loading”, my reknowned salmon and mushroom manicotti (with salmon Steve caught in Alaska), and an evening with old friends.  Just the ticket.  We were all a bit stiff and sore on Sunday morning, but we had to get over that, since Part 3 was on its way.

Posted by: wasatchprotocol | April 12, 2011

Return to Utah, April Pow and Lots of It – Part 1: Mt. Raymond

It’s been 8 months since my skis last touched Utah snow.  Quick calculation…  Yup, it was August.  I squeezed in an on snow (albeit crappy snow) test of my 2nd pair of homebuilt skis up at the Devil’s Castle Apron last August with Kristian before driving out to North Carolina.  That day also completed a 12 month Turns All Year cycle.  Suffice it to say, I’ve been missing the snow and the real mountains this winter.

The plan was to combine some spring house duties with an early April backcountry skiing trip.  I got the chores finished on Thursday and then it started snowing nonstop until I left.  We had at least a foot or so of fresh snow each day.  I couldn’t have timed it better.

Up first was Raymond, a tour that has been on my list for some time, with Steve and Thérèse.  Photos from today were taken by Steve.

Mt. Raymond:

Day 1: Mt. Raymond. We skied the line 1 or 2 over from the center line.

It felt really good to be back in the mountains.  Especially with a foot of new snow and plenty more forecasted for the weekend.

This guy is happy to be back on a skin track on a snowy day.

It's still winter up here!

Up through the trees, down to the flats, and up again to the Raymond-Gobblers saddle.  It started getting windy up here.  Really windy.  We were almost knocked over by a particularly strong gust.

Thérèse on the Mt. Raymond shoulder

Higher up on Raymond we had to traverse across a few of the lower chutes to get where we wanted to drop in from.

Another happy camper.

Almost there.  The anticipation was strong.

Me almost at our launching point on Raymond.

We ate our sandwiches, ripped skins, and were ready for the skiing portion of the day.  Not much else to say other than it was good.  Really good.  Fast and deep snow.

Shred alert! My first turn back in the Wasatch.


After skiing down from Raymond, the plan was originally to head back up to the saddle and ski something out Millcreek Canyon where we’d meet a friend and get a ride back to our car in Big Cottonwood Canyon from him.  However, I had some altitude induced sickness come on strong at that point.  That’s the problem with living almost at sea level and immediately jumping into human powered ski touring at 9-10,000 feet.  No lifts to make it easy up here.  We ended up heading back the way we came, climbing up to Circle Awl peak and skiing down a familiar Butler exit run to the car.  The snow was a bit heavy here, but I can’t complain, it was deep, and my headache/nausea started to go away on the descent down.  By the time we were down in the valley eating Buffalo wings I was just about back to normal and ready for Part 2 on Saturday.

Edited to add: I’ve got some POV footage from Raymond that may get posted later.

Posted by: wasatchprotocol | April 6, 2011

Cam Ciccone billy goats Igneous Rocks

A hairy entrance to a fast descent.

Posted by: wasatchprotocol | April 6, 2011

I’m leaving on a jet plane.

For Utah.

Plane leaves in 7 hours.  Snow storms are in the forecast.  Should be good.

Posted by: wasatchprotocol | March 29, 2011

Black Diamond Amp 2012 Ski Video Review By Some Bros in Switzerland

Black Diamond has a pretty hyped up ski coming out next season that looks fun.  It’s the Amp.  Spec’d at 185cm (142-115-124) 10 lb 2 oz, it looks like a super fun ride, but a little on the heavy side for touring.  FWIW my Megawatts are actually lighter.  But based on this video the Amps look super buttery and smooth.  Plenty slarvy.  They don’t show any groomer/hardpack riding, but with the sidecut, I’d imagine that they’d turn ok.  And with the weight they’re bringing, they’re likely quite stiff torsionally, which should translate into a fun pow ski that has the stiffness under the length of sidecut to provide a competent ride on harder snow conditions.  Check out the video review by some folks in Engelberg.

Posted by: wasatchprotocol | March 28, 2011

The Cunningham Couloir

Hey, another couloir video!  After a pretty rad rappel into the line from Aiguille Du Midi, Kris Thomas, Rylan Cordova, and Clive Cullen ski the Cunningham Coiloir.  Steep and good snow FTW.

Posted by: wasatchprotocol | March 28, 2011

Terminal Cancer and Chuter Buck Couloirs

Anthony Orig and co. splitboard some rad couloirs.  Chuter Buck up in Grand Teton National Park looks like a fun descent, but what really grabbed my attention was Terminal Cancer out in Nevada.  It’s only 3 and a half hours from Salt Lake and the approach is super simple, so why did I not go ski it while I lived out there???  Unfortunate.

Posted by: wasatchprotocol | March 24, 2011

Utah soon!

It’s only 2 weeks now until I have to return to Utah do some home owner duty and make sure some things at the house are good.

AKA excuse to do some skiing!

If we get fresh snow, we’ll ski whatever is safe, and it will be deep and it will be awesome.  However, I have some potential lines that have been asking to be skied, should we not get fresh snow.

Obviously I won’t be able to ski all of these lines while I’m there, and maybe I won’t be able to ski any of them while I’m there, since it’s impossible to predict the avalanche conditions several weeks out.  But this list serves as 1) motivation for myself for two more weeks to keep up my soccer/running/biking routine to stay in shape to attempt to keep up with Steve and company while I’m out there, and 2) motivation for Steve to have some motivation to go after and check off some steeper shots.

Potential lines if they’re in:

1. Coalpit.  Steve and I both have not skied this face-to-gully shot.  I’ll have to find out if the waterfall in the lower couloir/gully goes or not.  Or if we’d need a rope.  The only problem is that the exit is mid-to-lower canyon so it could potentially be melted out a bit.

The Coalpit Headwall at the upper middle/left with the Y Couloir down the the left and Coalpit Gulch exiting further down on the right. Several other interesting descents are shown as well. Taken from

2. Raymond.  Steve has hit it a few times.  I’ve always missed out.  East-facing though, so if it’s a warm April, it’d have to be early.  Maybe it’ll be cold.  This photo is Steve’s.

Steve took this photo a few years ago. Raymond in the sunlight.

3. Coalpit #4.  Depends on the spring thaw, but should be doable with a little bushwacking by the creek maybe.   I wanted to ski this couloir for a while before I left Utah, but had trouble roping partners in.  I think we can skin the whole thing.


4. Needle.  This line is sweet, but with only 4 days of skiing in UT, I’ll probably opt to do either this or Coalpit, that is, if the conditions, and my conditioning warrants it.

This photo is from Andrea McLean's

5. The Seagull Couloir.  It’ll definitely be in.  None of my buddies have skied it.  Seems like a decent choice since Tuscarora could be combined with some fun Wolvie lines.

From The Seagull.

As you can tell, I’m excited over the possibilities.  If it snows hard, and we can only ski mellow, but deep meadow skipping trees, then I’ll be super happy.  If it doesn’t, then all the more reason to ski some of the above descents.  Hopefully I can keep up with Steve, Paul, Todd, Nate, etc.  Now, which skis to bring????

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