Backcountry skiing Desolation Ridge

Backcountry skiing Desolation ridge is as easy as 1, 2, 3.  Located at the top of Mill-D drainage in the Big Cottonwood Canyon, is Lake Desolation where the ridge gets it's name.  From Park City, the way to reach desolation ridge is too boot up from the 9,990 chairlift.  Either way you approach, Desolation offers a sheltered powder stash for the people. Protected from the winds and sun, Lake Desolation is a nice place to tour.  Beware that the ridge often has a cornice and wind loading on the north side. Take this into account when choosing which aspect to ski.  The ski able terrain that desolation ridge offers is everything from open low angle trees, to steep cliff riddled faces.  I love backcountry skiing Desolation Ridge!

Backcountry skiing Desolation ridge



Oh, mamma pie!  Deso is a beauty.  The east side of the ridge has some thick aspen trees with a couple open runs suitable for skiing.  Drop off the north aspect and you're in bear trap (low angle aspen run). Back on the ridge line, once you pass the desolation Lake west, the slope angle steepens and the skiing progressively gets more rowdy.  Anything off the north aspect, is awesome skiing!  Two of my favorite lines are 007 & the Theater.   Backcountry skiing Desolation ridge  




Skiing Desolation Ridge / 007



From Park City access is easy.  Use the backcountry ski gate atop the 9,990 chairlift.  Drop off the backside slightly skier's left and stay high on the ridge. Skin along the ridge to the spot you want to ski, and have fun! Don't be the "JERK!" Have knowledge of safe backcountry travel and do not go without proper equipment.  (beacon, shovel, and probe)  This is serious backcountry terrain with consequences.  going through those gate unprepared , is unfair to the other mountain goers and the people you love back home.  All it takes is 1  idiot to set off a slide onto someone else, to ruin it for everybody.  I'm trying not be an idiot, everyday!     From Big Cottonwood canyon Take a LONG Skin up mill-D drainage to the top and the ridge will be on your right (south).


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About Christopher Comstock

Park City photographer. See more about Christopher at his website