(Last Updated On: November 3, 2009)
Last week’s snow sparked a desire inside of me to get out and play in the backcountry. But, my knee is still not quite where I want it to be. At this point, I feel like I could get up any mountain just fine be it skinning or climbing. I know I could slide my way down the mountain on skis, but I also know I couldn’t do it in the style I want. Early season backcountry is full of hidden obstacles and even more variable conditions than usual, so I’ve decided to steer clear of real backcountry skiing until I have built more confidence in what I can do with my newly built knee.
So, in order to quench my craving for some backcountry action, I decided to try my luck on cross-country skis. Cross-country skiing is something I basically grew up doing. My dad bought me my own cross-country skis when I was only 5 years old. He envisioned me trekking in the snow with him for hours. In reality, it lasted more like minutes. But, it grew into something I enjoyed as I grew older.
But, cross-country skiing is something I generally left behind when I moved to Colorado over 14 years ago. Honestly, I’m not even sure what happened to my equipment. Since moving to Crested Butte, I’ve been wanting to break out the cross-country skis again. After all, my back yard is a snowy playground all winter long. This weekend, I finally got around to doing this thing that I’ve been wanting to do for so long. I requested a long-term rental of skis, boots, and poles from CB Sports and off I went to have some fun in the snow.
Bellview, as seen from Gothic Road.
Crested Butte is surrounded by dirt roads, most of which are closed in the winter an make great cross-country ski havens. Gothic Road is one of these, although cars can still drive the snow-covered road for a little while longer this season. I parked in the town of Gothic which is a ghost town in winter.
Upon putting on the skis at the car I was immediately reminded how these slippery sticks cause even the most coordinated athletes to feel like drunken cartoon characters spinning on ice. I nearly toppled over after my second step away from the car. But, I quickly found my balance, and off I went.
Before leaving the winter “ghost-town”, I passed this Forester.
Seeing this carnage made me happy I did not attempt to take my own Forester up the hill of death that flows out the west end of Gothic.
A couple of college kids who were gallivanting about on their snowboards took this picture of me, at my request.
View of Mount Crested Butte.
The day was warm and snow was melting. It felt more like spring than fall.
It was a good solo day out and I’m looking forward to sliding around on these slippery sticks again soon 🙂 But, first, Mother Nature needs to remember she turned it to winter here. The 55-degree temperatures she brought today must have been a momentary lapse in her memory!