Alta, UT Report: Booting Up & Skiing Down The Legendary High Rustler In Slush & Sun

High Rustler and Mt. Baldy in Alta. image: snow brains

Report of April 27, 2022

The weather started funky today with clouds and warm temperatures.

I hesitated for a few hours in the morning hoping that the clouds would dissipate like they did yesterday.

They did it.

I showed up in Alta around 11am with clear skies, temperatures over 50°F and light to moderate wind.

I knew the snow was cooking and I was in that ugly area between powder and corn that no one likes.

My strategy was to ski High Rustler in Alta because there was already a ton of skier traffic over the weekend while Alta was still open and that might just be enough to save it from the horrible phase of sun-baked pow-mank.

I didn’t even bring skins.

Boot to Hi Boy. image: snow brains

I had planned to just start High Rustler in my normal ski resort gear.

That way I could go down a bit harder with my strongest gear.

As I looked down the line from the road above, I saw a bootpack.

High Rustler and the Sunnyside chair being dismantled. image: snow brains


I’m not in the best shape going uphill right now after heli skiing for 2 months at sea level in Alaska in March and April.

A bootpack was a welcome gift.

Happy halfway! image: snow brains

I braced myself and dug into the booter.

It was a solid booter put together by someone heavier than me, so every step held.

About 2/3 of the way up, the booter stopped.

Sharp boot. image: snow brains

I ducked into the slush and put on my own bootpack the rest of the way.

When I started this same race in November, I think it only took me 45 minutes.

Today, it took me 1h10.

Sunnyside chairlift heads up Red Lodge Mountain, MT. image: snow brains

I have to keep training to prepare for Tioga Pass, CA next month…

The views on top dazzled.

I caught my breath, pounded some water and let myself down.

Dirty entrance… image: snowbrains

Well, I entered.

The top incline was bare rock so I tiptoed down it and came back on snow.

I took a deep breath and sank my teeth into High Rustler – probably the last Hi Boy of the season.

Devil’s Castle. image: snow brains

Upper corners were soft and muddy.

I found a rhythm, the snow was forgiving, I picked up speed.

About halfway down the snow got sticky and I started to struggle.

Gunsight and Mt. Baldy. image: snow brains

I finally caught an edge, took a clumsy fall, bounced back and kept rolling.

I was somehow able to ski the line up and down without stopping, but I was out of breath at the bottom.

It was so sticky there that I had to push myself with my poles to get back to the parking lot.

Mount Baldy. image: snow brains

I was hot, sweaty, sticky and thrilled to strip down to my swim shorts and no shirt in the pack.

It was 65°F.

SLC was 75°F as I drifted.

High Rustler and Mt. Baldy and the Collins Chair. image: snow brains

I have 4 more days left here in Utah.

These last few days have really satisfied me on the winter.

Bring on California spring, hot springs, corn, slush, park hops, good friends, après-ski, burritos and ice cream!

Thank you utah

Almost at the top booter. image: snow brains
picture: noaa, 04/27/22


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