The deep, dark, northeast facing trees that begin atop TV Mountain (the peak directly apposing Snowbowl’s lodge) are one of Snowbowl’s best-kept secrets. There’s plenty to go around in here and this spot is relatively easy to get to, even for the casual off-piste’r. You’ll almost certainly need a lift ticket to get to this one, so this jaunt is best saved for an on-mountain day preferably on the heels of a recent storm. Regardless of your timing, no other spot on or near “the Bowl” holds untracked turns as long as this one.

You’ll begin your jaunt when you leave the ski area boundary and head into the trees right where a bowling ball would go if it were rolled down upper Spartan. Look for tracks leading into the trees at this location and you can carry a bit of speed heading in. This trail has been thinned out significantly over the years and the further you can ski in the less you’ll have to walk. Many skiers will even take this route and skate their way for a distance to catch a well-traveled traverse line into “TV Trees.” This can work well if you’re short on time, but the route can be a bear, depending on conditions. If you’re looking for the best bang-per-calorie just unclick, toss your gear over your shoulder, and bootpack your way up. You’ll be glad you made the extra effort to get to the top and forgo bringing your climbing skins, the trail is usually a mess. Plus, it’s arguable whether a perfect skin track would be faster anyway.

Typically this is a 40-45 min hike depending on your pace or concern for getting first tracks. You’ll switch your way up the ridge and eventually reach the flat top where you’ll pass several big antennas and various broadcasting–related buildings. This being the oh-so-clever reason for the “TV” Mountain name.

At this point, you’ll need to make a decision about which way you want to head down. There’s “Power Line,” an open clear-cut route that heads (you guessed it) beneath a set of power lines. There are also dozens of additional fall line options as you work your way further south along the ridge that directly faces the Snowbowl Lodge below. There isn’t a bad line in here but there are plenty of obstacles (big fallen trees, tight drainages, big rocks, etc.) depending on exactly where you wind up. The best, and worst, part of this area is that once you’ve found the perfect line, it is almost impossible to retrace your steps back to that exact same spot.

If you feel like you’re getting lost, just keep heading down. Unless you’ve gone way too far south on the ridge, everything empties out above the lodge or on one of the lower T-bar serviced runs above the parking lot.

Ross Peterson


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