Thirty minutes away from headquarters is a huge range called the Uintas. The range is very beautiful and equally deadly winter or summer. The range runs east to west and has astonishing peaks topping out at 13,500 ft. The weather can change so dramatically there that I have been told to bring a winter jacket on a hot day my entire life.
I know the mountains well enough in the summertime but hardly get a chance to explore the range in the winter because of how remote it is with no winter service. Dillon and I have explored the different zones around the edges but have come up short on what we were looking for the raw elements.
In the past year I have been studying a zone on the map, I have explored it many times in the summer to be familiar with safe passage among other details I look for in a great spot.
This past week Dillon and myself took to the road “30-minute drive” into the unknown winter wilderness. I had been preparing for this day we had a great amount of equipment and supplies to get us through the day. We parked at the entrance of the trailhead packed up, split our boards, and mounted up for the long haul.
We skinned for four hours straight over the lake and through the woods. The zone kept appearing closer, but it was so far away still. We finally got to the base of the mountains we wanted to ride and then climbed for another two hours. We had almost made the summit, but the sun was dropping pretty fast and we were losing light.
We dropped an amazing zone with cliff features, small chutes and finished out the run by riding through a half-charred forest. We made it to the base and once again mounted up for the long haul back to the car. We decided to split our boards but not put that skins on just simply ski back! Nest thing you know I’m hauling ass on my make shift telemark skis through the woods and back to the frozen lake. At one point I was going to put my helmet back on.
We made it to the lake just in time for the alpen glow to set. Then it got dark and fast! We put on our head lamps and continued the journey across the frozen lake in the dark. We noticed a good amount of fresh cougar tracks running back and forth across the lake, so we kept a watchful eye and ice axes out.
We decided this is probably a better spot to go camp in the spring.
Check out the video of the secret zone!
This was my inspiration for the design "Endless Winter" in our shop
Thanks for reading!