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The Goldilocks Project

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Posted by timgibson11 on 3/12/24 4:32pm

The Goldilocks Project is my effort to ski three Wasatch classics (Monte Cristo, Dresden Face, Lone Peak's NE Couloir) that eluded me during the 2023 season because they require very specific conditions that rarely materialize. As Goldilocks would say, conditions for accessing and skiing these lines need to be "not too hot, not too cold, just right!" In 2023 I made attempts on all three but bailed due to concerns about snow stability. In early March 2024, after waiting over a year, favorable conditions appeared and I was able to ski all of them over a 4-day period. Thanks to Bobby Brooks, Parker Holmes, Sam Carnahan, and Brendan Nicholson for joining me on this adventure, and to Jeremy Page who was there for most of the recon & scheming.

Monte Cristo Gully is one of the longest and best ski descents in Little Cottonwood Canyon. I had previously skied the gully from the summit of Mt Superior, but skipped the top portion (Monte Cristo Headwall or "Edge of the World") due to the knife-edge traverse required to access it. The headwall isn't particularly long or steep, but it's so aesthetic that I had to go back and ski it once I felt good about doing the traverse. This video is a mashup of footage from my headwall descent from March 2024 and gully descent from Feb 2024, when conditions in the gully were better.

Dresden Face is the central line on Thunder Ridge, which features five world-class ski descents. I was able to ski the other four during 2023, and I spent so much time on Thunder Ridge that skiing Dresden to complete the puzzle became an obsession. But skiing Dresden involves weaving around various cliff bands, and I had seen firsthand how the snow on the face heats up and avalanches over the cliffs. I wanted the perfect day for Dresden, and finally got it. It was worth the wait. Watch until the end if you're interested in learning how to cross a river on skis ;)

Lone Peak's NE Couloir is one of the steepest, most sustained, most exposed lines I've ever tried to stick an edge into. And fortunately they did stick, because there were multiple sections where a patch of ice, a buried rock, windslab, or a blown turn for any other reason could send you down over the cliffs below. I don't like to play up the drama involved in skiing big lines - normally it ends up feeling easier than you expect - but this was real. The title of the song in English is "Man Overboard"; it felt appropriate because I spent most of the descent concentrating hard to avoid that exact outcome. I breathed a huge sigh of relief upon finishing the traverse above the cliffs and seeing nothing but a big ramp of soft snow between my feet and the broad expanse of Bells Canyon where the line ends.


Amazing skiing, snow, and footage as usual Tim, my legs got tired watching these vids, those lines are bigly.

Red Bull, the North Face, Salomon,  someone - sponsor this guy!

Thanks Doug! Unfortunately Red Bull hasn't come knocking, although I did make $50 from skiing this year, so my childhood dream of becoming a pro skier was finally realized.

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2024-03-12 23:32:31