Awesome steeps, glades, powder bowls, endless hiking options, and never a queue – say hello to Fall-Line’s favourite Utah chair
Forget the Olympics, ten-million-dollar condos, endless Sundance premieres and fleeting Hollywood appearances. Because, under all this superficial gloss, Park City is still a real, rough, gruff, roaring monster. You just have to know where to look…
Plenty will say it’s all about gnarly McConkey’s, with so many tight tree runs and an awesome bowl; some might even go for often-overlooked Crescent. Both are high-speed, easy to reach, obvious options. Which is why they only rank two and three respectively on our list; they get too busy and quickly tracked out.
It’s all about Jupiter for us. It feels a bit like you’re going intergalactic sometimes, as it’s the furthest part of the hill from the base. To get there you shoot up Pay Day, down a short trail to the Bonanza six-pack, up that, across and down to the Pioneer chair, up that, and finally down Jupiter Access!
It’s 40 minutes on a good, fast day. But it thins the traffic hugely, so is worth the hassle. Especially on a powder day. Start up by raging the lift line before too many others plunder it. There are bigger challenges elsewhere but it’s plenty steep enough. Just make sure you choose your line wisely towards the bottom of the lift, or you’ll have a pain-in the-arse walk around a small lake to skier’s right. Then it’s time to hike on up…
On a pow day, plenty will rush off the top of the lift and dive into nearby Shadow Ridge, or on the other side of the chair Fortune Teller or Silver Cliff. They’re tasty treats, but easily accessed, so get tracked out fast. Ignore them, you can always come back later for leftovers after your prime fresh feed. Which brings us onto… 1st Bowl. Yes, it’s a traverse and a short hike, but the trees are nicely spaced, the bowl is the perfect powder steepness, and it’s in a quiet area. Stay high for longer on the access ridge and you get more for your money, with a long blast followed by an easy out. The best run in resort? Definitely up there, along with another local fave, the rolling pow-fest that
Next lap on Jupiter, head right from the top of the lift, along the ridge past Main Bowl, Shadow Ridge, Portuguese Gap and finally Rhino. Scott’s Bowl is where it’s at. Your choice should be the near bowl or further option: West Scott’s. The latter is more funnelled and ridged — you can ride these a bit like Alaskan steep spines, staying close to the angle, popping off and back. It’s quite a drop to start with before it opens up to mellow land. No bad thing as, together with the short hike/traverse, it keeps too many people from nibbling all the pow here… Best way of doing it? Double up. First time make it all the way to the boundary of the Jupiter Zone for West Scott’s Bowl and full-on speed. Then when things are just a fraction more tracked, head into Scott’s and the trees to skier’s right, which catch anything that’s blown. Ideal for bouncing in and out of.
Jupiter Chairlift, Park City
Still want more? Look left from the lift (the seven-minute ride gives you plenty of time) and pick-off easy-going War Zone/West Face or 6 Bells or Indicator which are initially steep and very tight with trees. These latter two take a load of snow to cover, but if they’re banging, well worth the sweat you’ll get on the tricky first quarter.
Still not tired?
Machete Chute will finish you off. Traverse/hike all the way along, over Jupiter Peak (20-minute boot-pack) into the McConkey’s area for a nice little cornice drop, rocks and 400-feet of narrow, steep gnarl! FL