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  • CJ Wolf

Skiing South Monitor

Fast Facts:

· Peak Elevation: ~9,850

· Vert: 2,427

· Distance: 8.55 miles

· Elapsed Time: 4:13

· Date: Dec 28, 2023

The Monitors, West & South, seem to get a lot of attention and it is usually due to their frequent big avalanches. Both of these bowls are prone to slides so I hadn't skied either one of them until now. The start of the 2023/24 ski season has been a slow one from snow quantity perspective. As of Dec 31, we were at about 70% of the median and it had been almost 3 weeks since our last major storm. We received about 5" 5 days before I skied the South Monitor so my expectations were low but given that the South Monitor faces northeast, the snow remained light and dry given the low sun angle this time of year despite the recent temps climbing in the 40s in town.

The monitors lie between The Canyons and Park City so most efficient route to access them is up from Big Cottonwood and the usual approach is from Willow Know across from the Solitude parking lot. However, due to the low snowpack, we elected to take the more circuitous route starting at the BCC Guardsman gate. We skinned along the road until you get to the righthand bend and we entered the woods by the bathroom facilities. This takes you towards Pine Cone Ridge and then you take a left going up Puke Hill to the top of the Wasatch Crest Trail. We wrapped around Scott Hill then above the USA bowl and aimed towards the antennas.

We walked around the ridge towards West Monitor and we elected to take our first run on the more easterly facing slope before the sun affected the snow quality. The snow quality exceeded our expectations and our turns were greeted with soft and light snow. The top part of the Monitors is on the steeper side so we experienced some minor slow sluffing but nothing concerning.

We skinned up the eastern side of the bowl which was still protected from the steep northerly facing slope and you could definitely tell that this was a slide path area due to the shorter trees or no trees. The snow felt stable going up (no whopping or collapsing) and due to the low avalanche danger, we elected to ski the the eastern side. Again, the snow was super light and fluffy but the sluffing was greater in the shaded area. It was slow moving so it didn't impact our skiing.

We measured the slope angle and it was about 36% degrees so definitely susceptible to a slide. We also measured the snow depth which with was a paltry 75 cm (30").

The monitors can be a super fun place to ski when the avalanche danger is low/stable.

Here is my Strava route.

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