Top 10 in 10 – Little Pine Couloir

| January 22, 2009 | 3 Comments

#9 – Little Pine Couloir

I’ve heard there are over 32 slide paths that hit the Little Cottonwood road, and much to UDOT’s dismay, one person’s slidepath is another person’s idea of an excellent ski descent.  As you drive up the LCC road towards Alta, the big south facing guns stack up one after another on your left-hand side and are conveniently marked with signs like “Tanners Slide Path.”   Access to these monsters is about as hard as opening your car door and stepping out – voila, you are now on route. (note: you do have to watch where you park or you’ll get towed.)

Stack em up - The south facing LCC lines ranging in length from 3,000 to 5,000

Stack'em up - the south facing LCC lines ranging in length from 3,000' to 5,000'.

Conviently marked for your night skiing pleasure...

Conveniently marked for your night skiing pleasure...

Of all of the slide paths, Little Pine is the purest in that it is almost a perfectly straight 3,000+ foot line from the ridgetop all the way to the valley floor.  Starting from the White Pine trailhead parking lot, you cross the street, then skin or boot the apron for a few minutes until you enter the main chute.  From here it is an eternal StairMaster of left/right, left/right booting until you hit the top.

The top of Little Pine Couloir looking over toward Snowbird.  photo: courtney phillips

The top of Little Pine Couloir looking over toward Snowbird. photo: courtney phillips

Soft light and hard snow in Little Pine Couloir with the LCC road below.

Soft light and hard snow in Little Pine Couloir with the LCC road below.

Being south facing means that it gets the maximum amount of sun, which is good at times (spring corn, faster powder stabilization, etc.), or, like today, can make for some absolutely horrendous skiing.  Luckily Courtney Phillips was along for the ride and understands that oftentimes it doesn’t actually have to be fun, to be fun.  The entire line was a frozen mess of ski tracks, sun cups and frozen avalanche debris.  There was no talk of going back for a second lap.

Skiing the flanks of Little Pine with the Pfiefferhorn, Needle and Coalpit in the background.  My ears are still ringing from this descent.  photo: courtney phillips

Skiing the flanks of Little Pine with the Pfiefferhorn, Needle and Coalpit in the background. My ears are still ringing from this descent. photo: courtney phillips

We knew this going into it and there’s nothing like some hack n’ jack skiing to make you appreciate good conditions.   If anything, today’s descent will go down in the memory banks as one of those “Remember that time skied Little Pine and it was so rough and icy our legs felt like paint-shaking machines?”  Oh well.

Noah Howell and the PowderWhores skied Little Pine a week or so ago and put together this  video which does the great line justice:

Tomorrow: Mother Superior
________________________________
Help support StraightChuter.com and shoot POV video like a PowderWhore with a V.I.O. POV.1 Camera Package from Backcountry.com. Click on the photo below…

Tags:

Category: current conditions

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.

Comments (3)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Ryan says:

    I really have enjoyed this series, Andrew. As an East Coast-transplant Wasatch local with [now] a season and a half under my belt in the backcountry, this gives me great hope for the future (although I expect that my future will be spread over a little more than 10 days). I’ve seen all these lines in the field and thought, “Someday…”, and it’s great to see the TRs from the guys doing it “this day” (nod to our new commander-in-chief). If it hasn’t been picked up yet, this would be a great article sell for any number of magazines!

    Regards,

    Ryan

  2. dug says:

    i finally skied little pine last may (in perfect spring conditions–it was 90 degrees in the valley), finally following advice you had given to me through my wife, who you instructed in the 3 day avy class at brighton.

    it is the perfect south facing chute. sorry to hear about your conditions.

    and thanks for this series. me and my beater friends are following along with great enthusiasm.

  3. figs says:

    Go dog go! That looks like a lot more fun than fingerbanging this idiot box. Way to get after it Andrew.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: