Mount Superior is one of the most iconic skiing mountains in the western United States. This mountain serves as the backdrop for many famous ski photographs, as well as for skiers and boarders in the world-famous Alta Ski Resort and Snowbird Resort. Backcountry skiing Mount Superior is a serious feat, requiring more than 3,000 feet of climbing, some of which is exposed and rocky. There are two main ski descents off of the summit of Superior: Cardiac Bowl and the South Face. The South Face is incredibly steep, and it is often compared to an Alaskan heli-ski line. Cardiac Bowl is more mellow and opens up into a very large open bowl that is perfect for powder skiing. This article highlights the Cardiac Bowl descent. Both routes share the same climbing route.
To summit Mount Superior, park at the Town of Alta. Begin skinning toward Cardiff Pass, which is directly north of the parking lot. There will be an established skin track to the pass. Once at the pass, follow the ridge for a bit as you endure the large whoops and cornices that hang in the north and east direction. Skinning the ridgeline is tedious and requires experience skinning down short steep sections.
After about 30 minutes the skin track along the ridgeline gets very steep, almost bootpacking steep. Once you reach the point where skinning no longer makes sense, transition into downhill mode and ski down into Cardiac Bowl in Big Cottonwood Canyon. From Cardiac Bowl, skin up the left (south) side of the bowl until you reach a very steep section near the summit ridge. From this point, bootpack up to the ridge, bootpack the ridge for about 10 minutes, and then you are there! Enjoy the summit views, and then ski down Cardiac Bowl and enjoy the run. From Cardiac Bowl, skin back up to the ridgeline and then ski down directly to the parking lot.
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.