Sunday Photo – Deepest Snow I’ve Ever Skied

| July 6, 2008

When skiing around with a new group of friends on an extra deep powder day, the topic always turns to “What’s the deepest snow you have ever skied?”  For me, it was an outing to the Ruby Mountains in Nevada with Mark Holbrook the late 1990’s.

Neck Deep in the Ruby's.

Following a tip that there was an incredible unskied couloir right off the road, we drove from Salt Lake City to Elko, spent the night and easily found the couloir the next day. (We later found out it had not only been skied many times, but was named “Terminal Cancer.”) It had snowed a bit the day before, but was only about 6″ deep on the initial apron.  As we got higher into the chute, the walls from the side had sluffed all of their snow into the narrow gully such that it got deeper with every step.  About halfway up the chute we wallowing in thigh deep powder and kept thinking it couldn’t get any deeper, but it did.

As we had driven all the way just for this chute and were within 500′ of the top, we kept going, but it meant we had to break out the shovels and trench our way up the couloir.  At the point I took this photo, the snow was about 60″ deep and probably in the 5-6% density range. Pure fluff!

The skiing down was surreal.  We were worried about hitting the trench, but the snow sluffed and filled it all in so we didn’t even feel it.  The only time you could see anything was for a moment in between turns, then you’d sink back in, not just for a face-shot, but to be completely submerged.  We were so deep in the snow that we couldn’t go very fast, which led to a dreamy slo-mo descent down the orange-lichen lined walls of Terminal Cancer.

15% off Smith Phenom Spherical Goggles, for when the going gets too deep, at

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Category: Sunday Photo

About the Author ()

Andrew McLean lives in Park City, Utah and is a gear designer, writer, photographer, ski mountaineer, climber, Mountain Unicycle rider and father of two very loud little girls.
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