Every time my skiing takes me around Flagstaff and Empire Canyon, I always make a point, on my way back to Silver Lake and Snow Park, to ski Ontario Bowl or the adjacent woods. I find it a great alternative to the Ontario or Hidden Treasure runs that are widely used by all the other skiers. If I decide to ski the Bowl, I will rarely hike to its very top from the entrance gate located off the Ontario run, but rather catch the traverse found on skier’s right, at the top of Hidden Treasure. This access gives me all the choices I want while saving me both time and effort.
Like most skiers, I often traverse all the way to the main bowl that offers the most open terrain and then ski down to the bottom of the Ontario run before catching the Judge lift, or why not, riding again Quincy for some additional laps. There are however two notable alternatives to the main bowl and one of them is the expansive wooded area, called “DT’s trees”, that stands to the skier’s left and can be accessed from the beginning of the access traverse. This section, where the trees are gladed well enough to allow turns in most directions, is quite sheltered, keeps the snow fresh longer and offers an infinite array of runs that are never the same. The only trick is to maintain a diagonal direction so as not to “run of out trees,” something that can be easily mastered after just a few descents.
My favorite line however is located on the edge of the trees and on the ridge portion that separates the trees from the bowl. While this run may get bumpy at times (a price to pay for its popularity) it’s always fun and varied as its grade changes all along the way, keeping the itinerary interesting. It ends up by funneling into the trees and lands somewhere above the Quincy chair. So if you didn’t know the Ontario Bowl and its multiple options, make sure to keep them in mind on your way back from Flagstaff and Empire; soon you’ll consider it your “dessert” too, after a long and fun-packed ski day!