I was skiing alone, coming back into Little Cottonwood Canyon from Cardiac Bowl after a long and very enjoyable morning of skiing mostly north and some east facing classic Wasatch powder. I gained the ridgeline at the Little Superior Buttress, and decided to make my descent from just above it. As I removed my skins up on the ridge, I examined the slope below. The initial portion of the run dropped about 100 feet south east facing before opening up into a broader bowl above a rock band. My intention was to make my way skiers left over to the frequently skied fin that drops from just below the buttress. As I gained the more south facing open bowl above the rock band, I noticed a large number of roller balls and debris coming down from above. The next thing I knew, I was in the middle of a large wet slab avalanche. I suppose the release knocked me down, but at first it seemed like the slab was moving slowly. it started gaining speed as it carried me towards a funnel through the rock band. Unfortunately I was on my back with my legs and skis above me. I was unable to move to right myself and I realized I was going over the rock band, headfirst. The snow was so dense that I easily floated on top. It was like riding a 2 foot thick churning carpet of roller balls and slush. I believe it protected me from the rocks as I went backwards over the probably 20' rock band. It certainly cushioned the blow as I came down on the slope below. Once over the rock band, the slide continued to gain speed. I had only one ski and one pole still with me, but I managed to get an edge into the sliding snow. I fought hard with the remaining pole and my free arm to get off of the slide to skier's left, just before it poured over the choke of a second and slightly taller rock band. For what seemed like a really long time, more than a minute for sure, the wet slide just kept pouring down from above and through the choke. With the slide over, I waited for the adrenaline rush to subside somewhat and determined that I didn't have any serious injuries. I dialed 911 to alert Alta Central about the slide and that nobody had been buried in it. As I down climbed the rock band, kicking toeholds into the remaining snow, I punched through a few places to reveal a virtual waterfall- 3-4" of running water below the snow surface. Another 200 feet or so below, the slide had come to a stop in a broad tongue of debris 2-3 feet deep. My lost pole and ski were easily retrieved from their final resting places atop the debris pile. Making my way down to them, the bed surface was a moistened, but still bulletproof sun crust- completely scoured of the weekend's new snow. It wasn't until the low angle apron just above the road that I ever noted the snow surface to be getting damp and manky.
Forecaster Note: It's unknown if this was a wet loose sluff, or perhaps a slab. So we've classified it as a Storm Snow slide.
I doctored it to show where I got swept and where I managed to get off it. I think a whole lot of snow came down from the rocky face below the Buttress.