Skiing Lion’s Head, Maple Mountain, and Y Mountain

This morning I met my buddy at the mouth of Rock Canyon at 8:15, where I dropped off my moped before hopping in his car. We then drove the few blocks to the Y trailhead where we started our tour. The snow line is at about 7500 feet in this area right now, and so we were just hiking on dirt with some snow here and there for the first hour. All of the hikers looked at us with confused faces, wondering where one earth we could be skiing. One lady commented “That’s amazing you can hike up in your ski boots.” I thought to myself, that it’s pretty amazing people have made ski boots that are so comfortable to hike in!

When we got to the bear canyon meadow we put on our skis and started skinning through the bottom. Our plan at this time was to ski Lion’s Head and Maple Mountain, but we thought it might be fun to go ski Provo peak while we had already done the approach. So we went to Lion’s Head first, because that was the best way to get to Provo peak. At the top of Lion’s Head we were able to get a good look at Provo peak, and it had been LIT UP by the wind, so we decided not to do it. The entire thing was super wind blown, and there was still a lot of wind gusting on it as we looked at it. So we transitioned and skied of the North West face of Lion’s Head, and it was shockingly good. The terrain was really fun with tight trees and lot’s of little rollers and natural jumps. We zipped down having a good time before getting to the gully between Y mountain and Lion’s Head.

At this point we transitioned and headed up to Maple Mountain. A few people had already been there so we didn’t have to break trail which was nice. Maple mountain was pretty quick, as we ascended the most eastern ridge. It’s super low angle the whole way with this approach, and would be a good choice on a high avalanche danger day. The views up in this area were spectacular. No matter which direction you looked it was straight eye candy. Provo Peak, Grr Couloir, Timp, Lone Peak, Nebo, Utah Valley, you could see it all!

We decided to ski of the North West face of Maple Mountain as well and it was really fun skiing! Again, it far exceeded my expectations! The first 1200 feet were soft, fast, and easy, and the final 500 feet back to the meadow were a bit variable, but if you stayed true North facing it wasn’t too bad. When we were back in the meadow we transitioned and headed back up for our third and final peak of the day: Y Mountain. It was fairly easy skinning for the most part as we followed the trail up. But with the south facing slope and the sun at full exposure the snow was warming up quick and it started to stick to our skis. Thankfully after we turned off the trail and started skinning up the West facing slope it all came off and were able to make good progress.

After skinning to the top we skied down the ridge a few hundred yards to our drop in spot. The skiing over here was still really soft and fun almost the whole way down! There had been a wet-loose slab early. Most likely during the super wet storm on Wednesday, but aside from the debris, it was playful and fun until the final 500 feet or so. That was where we hit the rain/snow line and it started to get kind of weird.

The drop in spot

We carefully made our way through the bottom, dodging trees and having to side step up in some areas. Eventually we made it to Rock Canyon for our final decent of the day! It was packed with hikers and so we had to keep it slow and careful. Where the sun had hit the trail it was soft, but in the shade it was still basically concrete, so it was a little bit sketchy.

We were able to ski almost all the way back to my moped, only having to hike maybe 1/4 mile which was sweet. Then we both hopped on my moped with my skis, which was quite the sight to all those around us, and drove the few blocks back to the Y trail to complete the full circle, and take my buddy back to his car.

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