The first time I skied into Great Scott, I did exactly what you should not do. I popped out of a ski and I fell. Which would have been fine, sort of, if it hadn’t happened just as the blue Snowbird tram, full of onlookers, drifted overhead. I could have lived with that, too, I guess, if the devo team—the best 8-year-old skiers you’ve ever seen—didn’t drop in right behind me and zip past while I struggled to step back into my binding in a no-fall zone.
Directly under the tram, Great Scott is the steepest, longest line you can see as you ascend to the 11,000-foot summit of Snowbird’s Hidden Peak. But unlike Hollywood lines like Corbet’s or the Fingers at Squaw, Great Scott isn’t where you go to be seen—it’s where you go to ski. That said, you can’t get to it without everyone watching.
The entrance is technical—a blind wind lip, rocky and rutted out from heavy use. You shouldn’t fall here, lest you risk tomahawking the 1,000 feet of 40-degree vertical to the Cool Whip traverse.
John Cusack, or his stunt double more likely, makes an excellent display of such a tumble in the 1985 film “Better Off Dead” when he arrogantly attempts to chase a lady friend down the line. She, on the other hand, executes it exactly how you should, with style and finesse and no one to impress.
If you get it first thing on a powder day, Great Scott is the crown jewel of Snowbird. Thanks to its position on the mountain, however, it seems to always stash away the goods, fresh snow or not. It catches the sun, but not too much, and whatever snow is blown off the rest of the mountain gets dropped in the chute to create a chalky, wind-buffed treasure trove of steep, technical terrain, soft bumps, and a wide open run out.
Just watch out for that traverse if you’re maching down the line, though. It ruts out, and just when you think you’re home free and let it loose, disaster strikes and you’re on your ass. Again. Where everyone can see you.
– Carpooling up Little Cottonwood Canyon is easy when you download the R.I.D.E. app.
– Like a Vegas casino, the windows of The Tram Club are blacked out. Stay as long as you want. Order a shot and beer and the buffalo cheese fries.
– Don’t fart in the tram.
This article originally appeared in the December 2019 (48.3) issue of POWDER Magazine and was republished with permission.
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