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Mott Canyon Difficulty?

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
We'll be in Tahoe next week and we're wondering how difficult Mott Canyon is? We skied at Jackson Hole last year and we skied the Cheyenne Bowl area and the Central Chute area as well as the Hobacks (in less than ideal snow conditions) Corbetts is insane and beyond our abilities. Are there less difficult portions you can start in Mott or Killebrew and then work your way up in difficulty. We all prefer to keep our skis in contact with the snow and we're not into hucking. We're all over 45 yoa. Any advice would be great. We're staying by Stagecoach and we do like trees so any tree advice would be great. Thanks

Hear it was a little windy today.
post #2 of 22
Motts and Killebrew canyons have graduated levels of difficulty, with the easiest being the northern Motts runs and the most difficult being chutes in the south end of Killebrew. Your resume sounds plenty good enough to enjoy the whole thing.

Spend some quality time in North Bowl for trees, and if you have the necessary backcounty gear (beacon, shovel probe), you might inquire about firebreak trees gate from the top of Olympic. Heavenly has added lots of new signs to get people to the trees this year. Good for you, not so good for local secrets and stashes.
post #3 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cirquerider
Motts and Killebrew canyons have graduated levels of difficulty, with the easiest being the northern Motts runs and the most difficult being chutes in the south end of Killebrew. Your resume sounds plenty good enough to enjoy the whole thing.

Spend some quality time in North Bowl for trees, and if you have the necessary backcounty gear (beacon, shovel probe), you might inquire about firebreak trees gate from the top of Olympic. Heavenly has added lots of new signs to get people to the trees this year. Good for you, not so good for local secrets and stashes.
/signed

Start off in Mott and ride right under the left chair. If your cool with that check out some of the chutes to the right of the chair. If your cool with those head over to Killebrew. Hardest part of Killebrew = the run out at the end...you dont want to fall of that thing.

You should check out Mt. Rose if you can while your out there. Its perfect if your flying from Reno and "The Chutes" @ Rose are really fun.

J
post #4 of 22

Which of Mott's runs is the the easiest one? I'm trying to find the one that is easiest to snowboard down. Which run is the widest/flattest at Mott? Thanks

post #5 of 22

I spent 5 days in Heavenly this season and I skied the Mott Canyon the two first days. It was feasible to get down but the conditions were really bad, extremely icy on the steeps and not really enjoyable, the next day they closed the gates. I don't know how it is now after the recent storms... let us know later :)

About tree skiing the best ones for me were Powder Bowl Woods (accessed very easily from Power Bowl express, which allows you to do it many times in a row) and also the trees close to Ellie's run.

post #6 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by gr8entertiner View Post

Which of Mott's runs is the the easiest one? I'm trying to find the one that is easiest to snowboard down. Which run is the widest/flattest at Mott? Thanks

 

If you ask a ski patroller they will say they are all difficult, so  if you have to ask you shouldn't be there.  But this is because they are probably tired of packing you out when you fall and lose all your gear and slide down the mountain.

 

There are no "wide" runs at Mott, but the further you go down the gates the less steep it is and it gets a bit wider and less steep.  Try starting around gate 4 or so (under the chair line), and traverse further down towards gate 5-6 which will be a bit more open as compared to 1 or 2. 

If the snow has melted too much, this maybe closed if the stream is running through there.

 

As stated by Davi, conditions are everything.   If it is soft with new snow that will help slow you down and be much easier then if it's iced over.   You need to be at a ski level where you are comfortable ski/board a single track line if needed (like the advanced skiercross like trail home from groove chair to roundabout) .    

Also, as a boarder unstrap if necessary at the Mott lift line, the lift line can also an advanced-only adventure in itself.

post #7 of 22

I spent many many days in the last couple years in here.

 

It's not that bad, start out on the main runs, maybe take gate 3 and cut into the lower part of Bills, that's basically just a big bump run. Right under the lift is pretty mellow except the snow quality there is usually not so great. The harder stuff along the ridge usually hold the best snow, the longer you can hold out the better but watch out past the y as there are some cliffy sections. The signage for those sections is pretty good.

 

You will get a solid view of killebrew from the ridge off gate 1 at Motts, study this and you will realize that there's a main drainage there that is pretty mellow. you can get into trouble going through gate A and taking the wrong (or right lol) route. Spend enough time lapping stuff there before you comfy before progressing onto harder stuff. Honestly i feel like the harder steeper lines are easier as the snow is usually chalky and less bumpy as not as many people venture to those lines.

 

You will have to ride two chairs to lap killebrew and do a quick 5 minute bootpack or sidestep for the gate 1 terrain at motts.

 

Theres other stuff closeby and notso closeby that i aint spilling over the net but its pretty fun!

post #8 of 22

Def Mott's under chair or skier's right of the chair has really wide trees with a less steep pitch. It's not too bad, sorta like a longer version of Big Dipper Bowl. But, it can get pretty steep pretty quick and there are some crazy lines in Killebrew & Mott so scout before you go!

post #9 of 22

On March 12, 2013, I initially posted here on EpicSki, asking how hard is Mott Canyon. Yesterday, 3/12/17 I decided to enter Mott Canyon. After four years of psyching myself out of riding down Mott Canyon, I finally decided to face my fears and "get the monkey off my back"! 

 

Yesterday was a beautiful sunny day at Heavenly 51F!  After doing a couple of runs on Stagecoach, I told myself today is the day that I would ride Mott.  I went up Dipper Express, turned left toward Mott/Killebrew Canyon. For some reason, the resort created a crazy dip along the course to Milky Way bowl. After traversing past that crazy dip, I went down Milky Way and started to ride along the course to Mott Canyon. I passed a few of the gates and then I saw the Mott lift.

 

I have been snowboarding for 17 seasons. I had already snowboarded down double-blacks such as Dave's Run and Huevos at Mammoth Mountain, Squaw's KT-22, and Kirkwood's The Wall. Why was so afraid of Mott Canyon for so many years? Maybe it was because Heavenly had posted so many warning signs along Mott and Killebrew, telling people that skiers and riders have died in Mott and Killebrew in the past. The "kill" in Killebrew's name was scary enough! I had psyched myself for too many years, just reading the sign. Well, today is the day that I would overcome my fears.


So, I finally got back on my board and just went down the moguls. I was "All in!" You know what?  It wasn't bad. Maybe because it was a sunny day and I could see all the way to the end of the lift line. Looking down, I could see the moguls below. You know what? It didn't look bad. All these years, I had been psyching myself out of going down Mott Canyon. At the last second, I even had some reservations because I had been psyching myself out for so many years. I even asked a guy sitting on the chair lift if this was the easiest way. He said, yes. I looked around and told myself that I wasn't going to climb out. I had brought myself to Mott and I was going to ride down.  

 

Looking down, Mott Canyon was no steeper nor narrower than Granite Chief at Squaw (single black diamond). I had already boarded Granite Chief many times. Gate 5 (under the lift) is very short and the moguls made it easy to ride down. By the time I was halfway down, I decided I should stop to take photos of myself so that I could remember the moment. I finally overcame my fears and rode down Mott Canyon! I took a few photos and rode down to the lift. I took a few more at the bottom. I guess I waited a while cuz the lift operators asked me if I was going to go back up! LoL! I rode up with a snowman that the lift operators put on the seat next to me. I was the last person to ride back up that Sunday; it was 3pm already.

Finally, I went back up the lift with a euphoric smile on my face. I had overcome my fears and successfully rode down without any problems. I felt the victory like an NBA basketball player who just won game 7 in the championship series!  Riding down Mott Canyon was the little victory because it was actually no harder than other trails that I had already ridden. The big victory was a victory over my own fears. Even though my fears had been based on signs that the resort used to scare away beginners and intermediates, I had allowed those fears to scare me out of doing something that I could have done 10 years ago. Overcoming my fears felt like a victorious life event!  One small step in my snowboarding runs, one giant leap in my confidence!

post #10 of 22
GREAT POST! Facing our fears and conquering them is one of the most rewarding things about skiing/riding. Although you have to keep self-preservation as an important consideration if you want to stay at it for a while. I totally agree that once you've done some renowned steep, it loses a lot of its intimidation factor. But never lose respect for the mountain as it always has the final say.
post #11 of 22
There comes a time though arounds the doubleblacks that the intimidation factor should be respected as a mistake in expert terrain can be trouble esp. if you are alone.

Especially something like Mott where you cannot see where the run goes.

If you are alone, I suggest the best way to kill 2birds with 1 stone is to ask to tag along with someone who's knows the run and can show you even if it's a stranger you meet on the lift or the gate. you'll break through the fear and be safer at the same time.
post #12 of 22
I like this story too. No - preview terrain is scary.

If you decide to challenge Killebrew, be forewarned that it IS more difficult than Mott, and it has a nasty traverse exit I would not want to do on a snowboard.
post #13 of 22

This is a good year to accomplish that goal.

The snow depth tends to "soften" some of the sharp edges of a challenging area. 

 

The snaggly features are filled in with white goodness.

 

Good for you!

post #14 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdf View Post

If you decide to challenge Killebrew, be forewarned that it IS more difficult than Mott, and it has a nasty traverse exit I would not want to do on a snowboard.
 
Originally Posted by jayatpitt View Post
Hardest part of Killebrew = the run out at the end...you dont want to fall of that thing.

 

What is it about that traverse out that's so nasty? Is it just that it's flat and requires skating/poling when on skis, therefore unpleasant on a board? Or is it a knife edge thing? Or??

 

Have a few questions about the canyons - here's a section of the trail map for reference:

 

 

I've skied Milky Way Bowl and what's labeled Dipper Woods a lot, but have gotten into Mott less frequently, and always in the area around Gates 4 and 5 - haven't yet hit any of the chutes higher up on skier's right. I'm curious, if you come to Mott up around Gate 1 is there a ridge trail of sorts that runs along the top past Gates D, E and F and eventually on around to what's labeled Rim Trail that leads back down to the chair? I'd like to recon that area up top, maybe drop in somewhere, but have the option not to if I'm not feeling it.

 

Hard to tell from the map, but it appears that Sweetwater might be the least gnarly of the Killebrew options? Is that the "drainage" mentioned in post #7 above?

post #15 of 22
The traverse is long and level, on a pretty steep sidehill. Not a knifeedge. But when I did it, there were exposed rocks below it.

The entrance to the traverse was not marked either, and I had to ask another skier how to get out.

I don't think the pespective is very accurate in that map. The Killebrew exit wraps around Mott, back to its chair.
post #16 of 22
post #17 of 22
As to your other Mott question, I have not gone beyond "the y" so I can't tell you. I *think* "rim trail" must really be the Killebrew exit.

If you go in gate 1, I think I remember that you can see the chutes before you commit and back off to a higher numbered (easier ) gate. It's been a few years...
post #18 of 22

Thx for the reply. If no one else weighs in here to clarify further I can always snag a patroller sometime and try to get some info from him/her.

 

Quote:

 

So were you there for the taking of the vid? Using the trail map can you ID (roughly) from where it was shot?

post #19 of 22

Top of Ramarrah's

post #20 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by jc-ski View Post
 

 

What is it about that traverse out that's so nasty? Is it just that it's flat and requires skating/poling when on skis, therefore unpleasant on a board? Or is it a knife edge thing? Or??

 

 

I'm curious, if you come to Mott up around Gate 1 is there a ridge trail of sorts that runs along the top past Gates D, E and F and eventually on around to what's labeled Rim Trail that leads back down to the chair? I'd like to recon that area up top, maybe drop in somewhere, but have the option not to if I'm not feeling it.

 

Hard to tell from the map, but it appears that Sweetwater might be the least gnarly of the Killebrew options? Is that the "drainage" mentioned in post #7 above?

 

The traverse out of Killebrew is a single track hiking trail in the summer on a relatively steep sidehill.  The biggest problem is it goes up and down so if you are not comfortable with going at speed on an icy trail in the trees you end up polling or walking.

 

There is a large cat road going to a gun tower along the ridge from gate 1.  There are several runs and tree sections off left before the road will end just above Bills.  From there down the reminder of the ridge is a rock filled bump field for about 100 yards with other runs coming off of it to the left (shaded side of Mott).  Gates D/E/F go off to the right of this cat road / ridge and access the sunny side of Killebrew.  These are not always open since it's the sunny side of the hill and may have no snow

 

The easy part of Killebrew slope wise is the big obvious bowl.  You can't miss it. 

 

Having said this, with the exception of the well marked cliffs, the biggest part of what makes individual runs in Mott and Killebrew difficult/easy are the conditions.  Both canyons wrap completely around and you can get any exposure you want in each.  Just use some common sense when selecting a run.  For example, on a beautiful April spring day don't go on the south facing side (PineNuts) at 3 pm or in the north facing side (the 'Y') at 10 am.


Edited by bullhorn - 3/21/17 at 1:38pm
post #21 of 22

Great post, thx for sharing all that!

post #22 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by jc-ski View Post
 

 

What is it about that traverse out that's so nasty? Is it just that it's flat and requires skating/poling when on skis, therefore unpleasant on a board? Or is it a knife edge thing? Or??

 

Have a few questions about the canyons - here's a section of the trail map for reference:

 

 

I've skied Milky Way Bowl and what's labeled Dipper Woods a lot, but have gotten into Mott less frequently, and always in the area around Gates 4 and 5 - haven't yet hit any of the chutes higher up on skier's right. I'm curious, if you come to Mott up around Gate 1 is there a ridge trail of sorts that runs along the top past Gates D, E and F and eventually on around to what's labeled Rim Trail that leads back down to the chair? I'd like to recon that area up top, maybe drop in somewhere, but have the option not to if I'm not feeling it.

 

Hard to tell from the map, but it appears that Sweetwater might be the least gnarly of the Killebrew options? Is that the "drainage" mentioned in post #7 above?

Great recovery of over 10 year old thread. I have a lot of experience in Mott and Killibrew going back to when they gave you a free snowcat ride to get out of there. although probably not as much as Bullhorn.

 

Going along ridge past gate F gets you to Rocky Point which is aptly named. Some years it's difficult to get through on very steep shady skiers left and you have to go a little skiers right to get around there. The runs to the left are steep, but shorter and don't get skied as much so you can find deeper snow there after storms. The ridge doesn't connect to Rim Trail without a steep run (Promised Land to Ernie's) so not really a good option if you are not sure if you are up to it. Bill's and The Y are treacherous in 'Dust on crust' conditions. Sweetwater on map gets a lot of sun. There also was a signed run called Under The Gun that is in the same area of Killibrew (skiers right of gate 1 between? Sweetwater and Bob's Blvd). It faces a little S of E and if snow is not packed down by skiers or sun, you would only want to ski it with new snow. I like the higher exit from Killibrew, even though you often have to take off skis to get around point, as it requires no poling.

 

Selected reports with pictures:

http://www.firsttracksonline.com/boards/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=12096&p=75800 - See 2nd day of report for pictures of Boundary Chutes, Exit from Killibrew and Rocky Point

http://www.firsttracksonline.com/boards/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=12027&p=75414 - Tony Crocker and I skiing Pipeline and Boundary Chutes in late Jan 2016

http://www.firsttracksonline.com/boards/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=11393&p=71538 - Getting Under The Gun untracked on March 1, 2014

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