A popular summer summit, Mount Aire is a unique Wasatch peak in terms of ski touring, mostly due to the low summit elevation (8,602 feet) and consequent low snowfall totals. Powderhounds head to the Cottonwood Canyons, which means Mount Aire is not skied that often and generally has fresh lines for those that have the patience and navigational skills to summit the peak. The summit can be seen while driving westward from Park City to Salt Lake City on I-80, and from the highway you can see several steep east facing chutes lining up directly off the summit. This mountain is inviting to say the least.
To ski this peak, park at the entrance to Lambs Canyon. From the parking lot, a skintrack that follows an old jeep road into the dense brush should be seen to the west. Be warned that the lower elevations of this mountain can be heinous! Dense, prickly shrub oak blankets the base of the mountain, which means careful navigation is necessary to find your way. It would be easy to get into a tough bushwack with one wrong turn.
Slowly make your way west through the shrub oak into a small gully. This gully will lead you up into a mixed aspen and pine forest and above the dense brush. From the forest, at roughly 7,500 feet, ascend a skin track to the west up a steep hill. The summit of the hill gains access to the northeast ridge of Mount Aire, which you can skin to the summit.
From the summit of Mount Aire, take a few minutes to enjoy the amazing views of the Wasatch and West Desert. The Great Salt Lake, Millcreek Canyon, the Wasatch foothills, and the high peaks of the western Uintas can all be seen from the summit. Once the views have been thoroughly enjoyed, ski one of the three east facing chutes all the way down to the car.
Please note that this mountain is best skied in the spring, when the snowpack is deep enough to bury some of the brush at the bottom.
Winter backcountry adventures can be dangerous outdoor activities that pose significant risks as conditions affecting safety (i.e. weather, snowpack stability, avalanche hazard) are constantly changing. Prior to engaging in these activities each individual should get the proper training to make safe decisions and be equipped to use avalanche safety resources and tools. Please visit our Backcountry Skiing and Avalanche Safety post to learn more.