Willow Knob is a relatively easy and safe tour in the Wasatch that starts out just across the street from Solitude Ski Resort and is a part of the East Willow Ridgeline. Conveniently, the early ascent starts out on a plowed road called Old Stage Road and leads to the trail. You are mainly heading north, but you'll be starting out westward before turning northeast about a third of the way up. As you climb you'll get some great south and west facing views of the peaks of Big Cottonwood. The pitch is only around 20 degrees as you head up Blue Bunny, which is the large southern face of this area.
When you reach the top of Willow Knob you can head down the same general way you came up. Aspen groves, some pine, and open glades make Blue Bunny a great starter hill for people new to touring. The western face of Willow Knob is another option from here that is more steep and has tighter pine trees. The next ridgeline to the north would take you over to the Park City drainages at West and South Monitor. Head a bit further northeast toward USA Bowl to drop into the thick pine forest of the north-facing Little Willow run.
Little Willow is steeper than south-facing Blue Bunny, but it still allows you to circle around to the west and end up back where you parked. The snow can be great back here even several days after a storm. The north aspect tends to be more wind-loaded and steeper then the south facing side, so only ride this on a low danger day. The trees are tight, but the snow tends to be less tracked out here, so it's a great lesser-known run.
The tour is short and fun, perfect for dawn patrol before work. This area is considered safe compared to other nearby spots, but make sure to avoid high danger days and always check your conditions at the Utah Avalanche Center before you head up.
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.