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  • CJ Wolf

Skiing East Facing and East Bowl in Mineral Fork

Updated: Apr 25

Fast Facts:

  • Start Elevation: 6,700

  • Peak Elevation: 10,300

  • Vertical: 6,654 (see Strava)

  • Distance: 12.44 miles

  • Elapsed Time: 8:07

  • Date: April 7, 2024

April 7 was one of the last dry, light powder days of the 2024 season after receiving 27" the prior 2 days. 2024 turned out to be a solid year with Alta reporting 621" so everything was filled in and skiing great. This was my first time into Mineral Fork and I was pleasantly surprised by the vastness and the quality of the terrain. The entrance and the exit of the drainage is a little suspect but once you get passed that, it is game on. We traversed in 1.2 miles (7,550 elevation) and then we turned right and started to climb up between Low East Facing and Mid East Facing. The bottom part of the skinner is through the trees and is relatively steep and then you around 8,000 feet it opens up as you continue up the shoulder. Once you get to the ridge that separates Mineral Fork and Mill B - there are several different lines to choose from. We were the first group to the ridge so we took one of the first shots in Mid East Facing and it was tasty! The top part is open and then there is a small cluster of trees and then it opens up offering a long, wide open runout. I was shocked at how long the run was and how much it was. We started the run at 9,055 and it concluded at 7,600 so close to 1,500 vertical feet and the entire run skied great.

Mid East Facing Ridge
Top of Mid East Facing

After skiing our first run, we skinned back up the same skinner but when we got to the ridge, we kept climbing out until we got above the Highline run. It is hard to say if Highline was better than Mid East Facing as they were both fanatic runs that skied very similarly.

Skiing these two runs took us a little over 4 hours so one of our partners bailed but since the conditions were so good, Brady and I elected to traverse further up Mineral Fork and crossover to the west side to ski East Fork or Dark Ebony.

Look up Mineral Fork

At about 8,350 feet, we turned left towards the East Fork run and we elected to climb up the shoulder on the southwest side of East Fork which separates East Fork from Dark Ebony which turned out to more challenging than anticipated. It was very steep, firm and the snow was slipping off at some points thus making it quite hard to maintain traction. I thought we were going to have to turn around but Brady kept pushing on so I just followed. It took us over 2 hours to climb 1,700 feet. In hindsight, my suggestion is to skin up the more gentle East Fork run which is also safer.

East Fork Ridge

We finally made it to ridge at 10,300 just above Dark Ebony. From this vantage point, you have a great perspective on the upper east facing shots in Mineral Fork like Moonlight, GB No and Mongo No and these runs look like heli runs that you would see in Canada. They are long, wide and sustained. If you look east into Cardiff Fork, you are standing on top of Mid & High Ivory which were very tempting to ski. If it hadn't taken us so long to climb up - we would have skied Ivory as it is a quick shot. We didn't see an obvious entrance into Dark Ebony (honestly- we didn't look that hard as I was shot) and Dark Ebony appeared to be much more consequential so we elected to take the safer route down East Fork and it was epic. The first 300 vert is about 35 degrees through some well spaced trees and then it mellows out and opens up. The rest of the run is at or below 30 degrees and it is super fun.

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