Provo Canyon Ski

I wanted to ski across (frozen) Utah Lake, but thought better of it and decided to do a little nordic touring up Provo Canyon.

From Timpanogos Park I started up the road heading for Roller Road. The lower road had been plowed and was mostly dry with patches of packed snow and ice, so I walked.

I took a snow-covered road up a gully and then up the trail that leads to the race course to reach Roller Road.

When I reached the Roller Road I was pleased to see it had not been plowed and was covered with 6" of snow. I clicked into the bindings and skied away. I noticed that a four-wheeler ATV had been up the road and I could see a set of mountain bike tracks (the intrepid Holleys?).

It's called Roller Road for good reason - it rolls up and down 2-3 times before climbing up to the top of the Dragon's Back trail.

I'm glad I was breathing the fresher air in the canyon instead of that gunk down in the valley.

The steep climb up to Dragon's Back.

At the top I headed down the Dragon's Back trail. I haven't skied it before, but I know from mountain biking it there were a few steep spots, and cross country skis are squirrely going down hill. Fortunately there were open areas and enough snow cover near the steeps that I could traverse back and forth to get down. I ran out one or two smaller downhills.

My attempt at an art shot. The wind sculpted snow.

Near the end of the Dragon's Back it opened up and I decided to run the remaining slope. I picked up more speed than I anticipated and wasn't slowing much on the flat as I headed for a snow drift. The snow had been mostly crusty but the drift looked like it might be powder. As I neared I guessed powder and leaned back, expecting my skis to punch into the drift and send me plowing into it.

I guessed wrong. It was rock hard and I launched up the nearly 45 degree slope and hung a moon (as my brother always called it). I rotated backward as my skis went out from under me and I landed on my butt. It caught me by surprised and happened so fast all I could do was sit and laugh.

I was about to head down the trail when I took a look around and decided to stay and play for a while. I was in Johnson's Hole, a small valley on the north side of Provo Canyon above Canyon Glen Park. It's very open with mostly grass and weeds and a few clumps of scrub oak - perfect for cross country skiing.

I headed down into the hole and was treated to a fairly high speed run (by cross country ski standards - the last half is in the video below). At the bottom I kick-glided to the northern end. Out in the middle I made a video of me skiing away from and then back toward the camera (also in the video below).

I've always liked that near-swirl in the rock layers.

As I skied back up the west side hill I noticed this early valentine to Tarah.

Back at the lip of Johnson's Hole I started down the trail. I skied a little ways, but it gets steep so I took off the skis and walked down.

At the pipeline road I put the skis back on and enjoy some long kick-gliding, aided by the wind at my back.

Unfortunately for me the road was plowed for the last couple hundred yards. I picked my way along the snow on the shoulder. Eventually there just wasn't enough snow so I walked the rest of the way back down to the car at Timpanogos Park.

With the walking and poor snow at the start I wondered if this venture would be a dud. Fortunately conditions improved and I had a fantastic time.

I plan to hit Johnson's Hole for more skiing. It's a fairly short hike up from Canyon Glen Park and a nice place to ski.


Kathleen @ ForgingAhead said...

Looks like a great day! Glad you rethought the lake thing.

KanyonKris said...

Kathleen - thanks for your concern about the danger of skiing across Utah Lake. I don't think it's really that dangerous, but I had more fun skiing up in the hills so that clinched it.