Skiing Cardiff Ridge Chutes

Skiing Cardiff Ridge Chutes... With a short approach, little exposure, and short descents, they are some of the funnest lines in the Wasatch. If you're skiing the Chuting Gallery Cardiff Ridge chutes make a great practice area to prepare yourself for bigger mountaineering projects that lie ahead.  

Cardiff Ridge Chutelettes

Skiing Cardiff Ridge Chutes 

One of my best chute skiing days was here.  It was a storm day. Mike Mckinney & I decided to go up to Cardiff Ridge and check it out. It was low visibility and I was feeling a little intimidated on the skin up. Half way up we stopped at the bottom of the ridge to inspect it from below.  Mike pulled out a picture of the ridge.  We picked out the Shangri-La line and it felt little better to see our objective.

Skiing Cardiff Ridge Chutes

Backcountry Skiing Cardiff Ridge Chutes

No Missteps

We skinned as far as we could and then transitioned to booting to gain the ridge.  Once we were on top, we had to make our way across to access Shangri-La.  Upon the ridge, there is a fully exposed gap which you have to step across. Once you get across, you get to access one of the most fun and best-practiced lines for the Chuting Gallery, Shangri-La. But with a misstep, would be bad. I didn’t know if I could do it.

Shown the Way

Mike looked at me, then looked off the edge, then looked back at me and said “It would be easy if it were just a couple feet off the ground”.  He led the way. Across gap safely he looked back grinned and nodded.  As if to say "I did it!"  I told myself,  "Chris, trust yourself, you've GOT THIS"!

Skiing Tetris Chute

Crossing the Fear Gap

On the other side of the gap, the ridge didn’t seem so scary anymore.  I knew our objective was near, and I also knew that I could do it.   The skiing was amazing!  The short and steep powder choked lines off Cardiff Ridge helped prepare me for the bigger mountain lines.

Skiing Shangri la chute

Backcountry Skiing Cardiff Ridge Chutes

As described in the story, the ridge can be a little difficult to navigate. The best way to access the chutes is to boot directly up the one you want to ski.  The skiing is short but every bit worthy of extreme chute skiing status.  This area is the perfect test area to see if you've got what it takes to ski bigger mountaineering challenges.


Cardiff ridge is 10,000 ft in elevation.  The ridge is located in the Little Cottonwood Canyon Alta Utah.

The Approach

The approach is short and sweet.  Just head up pole line pass toward Cardiff pass.  About half the way up the pass you'll enter a sparsely treed area with the power lines above, there just looker left are the Cardiff ridge chutes.  From here the approach is simple skin up the ridge as high as your skins get purchase, then transition to bootpacking.

If you choose to navigate atop the ridge, you'll have to do some delicate footwork to access your line.  




Go up the Little Cottonwood Canyon to the town of Alta.


Follow the Cardiff Pass trail.  Halfway up, the ridge will present itself to the West. (lookers left)


3 Cardiff Ridge stats uncovered  

  •  300 vertical descent.  
  • 8 miles the distance you have to drive up Little Cottonwood.
  • 35-45 minutes    The time it takes to reach the base of the ridge.


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