All Time: Keyhole, Alta/Snowbird, Utah

January 9, 2014

Utah Avalanche Center Forecast: Light snow will start to fall this morning and become heavy this afternoon behind the cold front. Snowfall rates may reach two inches per hour, and totals of five to nine inches are expected by evening, with higher amounts possible.

Under a gray sky, Brody Leven loaded Alta’s Wildcat chairlift. “I had a feeling this would be a good day for Keyhole,” says Leven of the nuanced area that drops skiers into Snowbird. “It’s my favorite part of Alta, but you never know when it’s going to be open.” At the top, Leven, with skiers Marcus Caston, Keely Kelleher, and photographer Jim Harris, made a short bootpack until they peered down the sustained pitch with lightly dispersed conifers. On this January day, the steep west-facing run was untouched and filled knee-deep. One by one the skiers dropped in, taking large snowflakes to their clear-lens goggles with each turn. As the trees became denser, turns got tighter until the group hit the Bypass Road. They waited for a few minutes before coming across a shuttle, then loaded the bus for another lap. This story originally published in the February 2015 issue of POWDER (43.6).