Ty and I started from the car at nine, a late start by Little Cottonwood dawn-patroller standards.  An hour later we were standing on top of Wolverine Cirque’s rim admiring parallel white pinstripes sandwiched between dark igneous rock.  Yesterday’s storm was dissipating and sun filtered through the fat flakes of snow that still fell.  Without any other parties with whom to share the untracked snow, our powder piggy dispositions incited us to ski separate chutes.  

The new snow sluffed with each turn, trailing a powder cloud of dry flakes that sparkled in the half-sun.  After watching Ty follow his sluff, skiing just to the side of the still-moving debris, I made a goal first of out-skiing mine then later of skiing through it as it raced to the flats.  Skiing sluff is an odd sensation: it’s a bit like powerwalking to that connecting flight on those moving sidewalks where the scenery goes by faster than it seems like it should; it’s also a bit like canoeing a rapid when the current tries to grab the stern then spin it past the bow and so the paddler has to fight to keep everything pointed the right way. I haven’t had a much practice skiing steep or sluffy slopes this winter and laps in the Cirque worked well to jog my cobwebbed muscle memory. 

Convective snow showers continued through the day,  dusting us with another few inches.  The snow was very light density – as Wasatch lake effect snow is apt to be – and on one climb back up we found that we could barely stay on our previously easy-to-climb skin track.  An inch of especially light stellar flakes greased our middle-heel steepness uptrack and each step forward became an exercise in maintaining friction, which we did using that type of concentration that some people use to bend spoons. 

By late afternoon we’d skied many of the best lines and the gaps in the snowshowers had closed into a milky fog.  Having hogged so many nice chutes in an often high-traffic area, I couldn’t help but feel that smirky feeling of having gotten away with something.