Mary Ellen Gulch is located near the top of American Fork Canyon. Resting as the gulch next door to Snowbird's Mineral Basin, this area see's some skiers and lots of snowmobiles. The terrain here is definately "big mountain skiing" at its finest. With over 2,500 vertical feet of options it is no surpise that Snowbird Ski Resort is in the works of taking this gulch for their ski operation. For now though it remains a backcountry and snowmobiler paradise. The access is either super easy (with a snowbird pass) or super long (without a snowbird pass) but the terrian that Mary Ellen contains can make any skiers day.
Skiing West Miller Hill. The top of what some would call Marry Ellen Bowl
Getting Up There
There are 2 ways to get to Mary Ellen Gulch.
1. The easiest of the 2 would be to start at Snowbird. Ski down Mineral Basin past the lowest chairlift. Go past a bridge until you hit the boundry rope and start the short but steep uphill skin to the ridge.
Skinning up to Mary Ellen Gulch
2. The harder and forever approach is from Tibble Fork Reservoir in American Fork Canyon. Trust me, this route is a better exit rather than entrance. Oh and it is VERY FLAT till you reach Mary Ellen Gulch.
Troy skinning along the Mary Ellen ridge line
Decent Route Descriptions
There are several runs in Mary Ellen Gulch to choose from........
1. The Double Y Chutes
Also known as the "Outhouse Chutes" this pair of chutes can be seen from Snowbird. Dispite how many looks these chutes get from the saftey of Snowbird, they never see much traffic throughout the year. This is just one of the reasons why the Double Y Chutes are the "gem" of Mary Ellen Gulch.
The Double Y Chutes
2. The Mary Ellen Super Chute-
Depending on the snow year this chute can be tricky to access but is totally worth the struggle. Starting out skinny, the chute opens up becoming a true "super chute".
The Mary Ellen Super Chute
3. West Miller Hill-
Worth your time if your in the area. Skin to the top of Miller Hill and drop where ever you like. Be aware though, the Wasatch Powderbirds love to ski this hill.
West Miller Hill.
4. Ellens Knob-
This knob is quite popular with the Wasatch Powder Birds and snowmobilers so if your looking for fresh tracks this one is better saved for late April early May.
5. Mary Ellen Bowl-
In Mary Ellen Gulch this bowl is definatly conditions permiting. Usually best to takle this one in late spring when the snowpack is deep and stable. Look for the fattest chute and watch out for all the cornices.........This area has tons of them. Plus make sure you ski this one early in the spring. I have watched several wet avalanches from the saftey of Snowbird Ski Resort on many occasions.
The top of what some would call Marry Ellen Bowl Troy skinning along the Mary Ellen ridge line with Marry Ellen Bowl in the background
Avalanche skills, avalung, beacon, shovel, probe, partner and common sense. Skis are highly recommended.