Max slope angle
15-30 Degrees
Primary aspect
?
Vertical descent
2,064.00 ft (629.11 m)
Distance
5.40 mi (8.69 km)
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White Pine Fork in Little Cottonwood Canyon is one of the most popular ski-touring areas in the central Wasatch, and for good reason. The trailhead is relatively high, providing access to a broad range of touring options that are appropriate for a variety of weather conditions, time-constraints, or experience. Everything from a two-hour jaunt for low-angle tree skiing to all-day adventures involving 11,000-foot summits and steep chutes in high-alpine terrain can be found in this area.

From the White Pine Trailhead, the trail starts by crossing a small bridge over Little Cottonwood Creek, then follows an old mining road that climbs gradually to the west. About 30 minutes of skinning will bring you to the White Pine Fork Creek. Veer left and follow the mining road as it switchbacks up to about 8,500 feet, providing access to north-facing runs in Scottie’s Bowl. Shady and wind-protected, this area has good options for half-day tours. Be aware that the northwest flank of the bowl is often overhung by massive cornices, and this slope does occasionally slide. It is worth noting that this terrain can also be accessed from Snowbird’s Gad 2 backcountry gate.

Continue to follow the mining road to upper White Pine. This route provides nice views and access to short, lower-angle tree runs that make fine options for a quick tour. The more efficient route into White Pine, however, parallels the creek on the west from the signed junction 0.8 mile from the trailhead.  Follow the creek for about 0.2 mile until you can see a narrow ravine upstream, then cross the creek and continue through spruce and fir on a low-angle bench. The route continues to climb gradually, bringing you to the middle of White Pine and approaching several avalanche run-out zones.  The first and largest of these is the Birthday Chutes Path next to the Tri-Chutes path. The route gains a small knoll at the bottom of the Tri-Chutes Path, where several options present themselves.

Climbing to the southeast takes you toward the Tri-Chutes. Continuing to follow the watercourse involves a small terrain trap as you head south toward Red Stack (11,320 feet) and Red Baldy (11,171 feet), which both feature steep chutes and exposed alpine faces. To the southwest, the glades around the Spire (9,925 feet) offer more sheltered skiing. Climbing into Boulder Basin accesses more open terrain and a route to 10,718-foot Lake Peak.

Logistics + Planning

Parking Pass

Not Required

Pros

High trailhead. Many skiing options from low-angle tree skiing to high-alpine objectives.

Cons

Popular area, although many options allow the crowds to spread out.

Trailhead Elevation

7,700.00 ft (2,346.96 m)

Location

Field Guide

Nearby Lodging + Camping

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