Dry Brewed in the Wasatch

January 4, 2011

Any purveyor of powder skiing knows the key to light fluffy powder is the dry brewing process.  Dry brewing happens via a gamut of different techniques, but one element is always the same – temperature.  The lower the better.  Utah is famous it’s dry, cold, light, fluffy, spectacular snow (and also for it’s internet skiers).  We call the spectacular process that this snow goes through to attain these qualities, dry brewing.  Cold crisp air filters down the lightest, most spectacular snow on the planet.

Ben‘s been visiting the Rocky  Mountain Bureau of FIS from the Eastern-most Bureau to sample this unique phenomenon.  Having Ben in town to ring in the New Year, we decided we’d better sample as many dry brewed, powder covered Wasatch slopes as possible.  AJ even told us how much of this specific dry brew we could expect.  This compilation is of as many high quality powder turns as we could get our ski bases on.

New Year’s day started out with a not so alpine start, and featured two fantastic skiers, ski partners and gentlemen — Ben Peters and Justin Altman.  Justin and I started with a lift ride to the top of Solitude, where we proceeded out of their highest backcountry gate and down to Twin Lakes which is the nearly the headwaters of Big Cottonwood Canyon.

voile chargers

Altman rolled his brand new Voile Chargers over for the first time – they certainly did not disappoint.  In fact, the brew was so dry, it couldn’t even stick together under the pressure of the Chargers, and resulted in a large brew cloud!

Down at the lake, we found Ben munching on a PBJ and smiling with a face covered in powder.  He’d been sampling the brew all morning without us!  Now that our Backcountry Brewers had assembled for the day, we decided we should head back up to the top of Solitude and see what kind of snow BCC could brew up for us.

Ben took the first turn off of the summit and proceeded to get the ideal faceshot to turn ratio – 1:1.  Justin snapped this exceptional shot.

faceshot ratio

Altman took a half step down, turned around and fired away, while I followed in Ben’s powder turns.

wide angle

We all to quickly reached the bottom of the gully, and reskinned for another lap.  Altman caught us in the re-skin process, and proceeded to take a picture of one of the loveliest  mustaches in the ‘Satch.  If I do say so myself.  Feel free to object, if you dare.


We nearly ran back to the ridge for another lap.  Again Ben dropped in quicker then a ‘bro shuffles down the high T and sunk into even drier, lighter, and more freshly brewed powder.

Justin caught wind of what Ben was up to and figured he’d splash him with a taste of his own brew.

brew splash

Not to be stuck on the ridge spectating, I layed a double whammy on the two photographers.   I don’t even know what a double whammy is, but damn does it feel good.

single whammy

Justin sniped another of me enjoying the brew.

single whammy

On the schuss out to the road, Ben found one last nook of snow that needed to be tested, and test it he did.  Showing us what it takes to be the star of VTah 5.

brewing it dry

Day one of dry brewing was so much fun that we decided it wouldn’t hurt to dry things out some more.

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Read about the author:   Porter Haney
Enjoy this TR? Read another: TR: Stowe 3/1/08


  1. Dwyer
    wrote on January 4th, 2011 at 7:33 pm  

    Was the mountain from the third day Stowe?

    • Ben
      wrote on January 4th, 2011 at 8:34 pm  


      but which summit? (hint: it rhymes with lore-head)

    • Anonymous
      wrote on January 5th, 2011 at 8:32 am  

      more bread?

  2. Adrian
    wrote on January 4th, 2011 at 10:54 pm  

    That couloir for day 3 looks super rad, although that skin track is rather intimidating.
    It also looks like some solid schawcking about, very reminiscent of the east…

  3. Tom
    wrote on January 5th, 2011 at 12:11 am  

    Awesome pics and good riding. The final couloir would have been better (for riding down), faster and safer to bootpack, no?

    • Porter Haney
      wrote on January 5th, 2011 at 12:15 pm  

      Hey Tom, I’m not convinced of that. With the depth of the snow it was certainly faster to put the skin track ladder in. Possible it would have been better skiing to only have a boot pack in. Also, possible that it would have been less impactful on the snow to boot pack, but I think that’s certainly up for discussion.

      Great pictures on pure light. Where are you based in Utah?

  4. K_C
    wrote on January 5th, 2011 at 1:21 pm  

    That ‘stache almost didn’t fit in the cooler

  5. christian
    wrote on January 5th, 2011 at 6:55 pm  

    port, we shouldn’t be able to see your teeth when you smile. let that lip wig run wild.

  6. rat-a-tat
    wrote on January 6th, 2011 at 5:51 pm  
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