|Charlie (left) and Dwight Butler, owners of Wasatch Touring.|
For Dwight Butler, it all started with a snowstorm. "My brother [Charlie] and I hopped on a plane with a couple of friends from high school to ski Utah’s famous powder snow. It was April 1968. The headlights illuminated nothing but snow flakes as we made our way up Little Cottonwood Canyon. By the time we arrived at the Peruvian lodge, the road up the canyon was closed. As the avalanche danger grew, the Alta village closed, and interlodge was put in place. We spent our first day at the Peruvian Bar soaking up tales of deep powder skiing and watching Alf and Svere Engen share old-time ski movies. The next morning, the canyon was still closed. The mountain was all ours – with 48 inches of snow in the last 48 hours! This was a classic Wasatch snowstorm. We were changed that day, as we bounded through over-the-head champagne powder. Growing up in Minnesota, we knew about cross country skiing but only in the rolling terrain and on the frozen lakes. During breaks from college, we would make our way back to the mountains at every opportunity. Our search for untracked powder led us to ski touring, using light wood skis and leather boots to find skiing that could only be accessed by human power. Charlie had an idea that would change our lives forever – return to Utah and open a backcountry specialty shop with rental skis that would allow us to share with others the thrill of skiing in the Wasatch backcountry. In the fall of 1972 we loaded a Chevy panel truck and moved to Salt Lake City to open Wasatch Touring, the first backcountry ski shop in the state of Utah. This yearning to return to the mountains and share more adventures charted our course for the next four decades.First we only sold Nordic skis and closed the shop in the summer. We worked construction to make ends meet but continued to explore Utah’s diverse landscapes with bikes, kayaks and backpacks. After three winter seasons, we made the decision to stay open year round. A demo fleet was established in every sport so that we could test out what was new each year and share the fun with others. With the help of a knowledgeable staff and tools, we developed a shop that can service repair & fit almost everything we sell and use to access our local trails. Over the years we have seen the styles and gear change. What has not changed is the Wasatch Touring mission: 'To share the joy of exploring Utah’s trails, rocks and waterways.' Our passion for outdoor adventure, our commitment to the community and our love affair with Utah will continue."
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