(Last Updated On: March 19, 2014)
The sky was the Colorado endless blue and the day was warm and carried the scent of approaching spring. But, the wind cooled the air and carried plumes of snow high above the alpine peaks, like fairies dancing in the sky.
Frank making quality turns in the Pencil.
It was a day destined for oxymorons. Spring-like conditions and stability that told us to stay high on the peaks, but the high-powered gusts and wind-loaded slopes told us to seek shelter. These were our thoughts when we met Colin, visiting from the Front Range, at the Kebler Pass trailhead.
Deciding upon a line to ski this day was a bit tricky. We decided that Axtell would be our zone and drove snowmobiles across the base of it to give us a better idea for conditions. The area we were hoping to ski was inevitably wind-scoured; something we wanted to avoid. So, we turned around, and I spent time gazing at the plethora of lines available on the mountain. A line called the Pencil looked stacked with snow and particularly inviting. We agreed to ascend the regular Axtell route via the ridge to the Pencil to get a closer look, knowing that a few treed bowls accessed earlier on that ridge could be alternative options to descend if we didn’t like the conditions.
Though the snow was wind-affected, the conditions in the Pencil were decent, and we enjoyed out turns down this wonderfully aesthetic line.
Conditions were great for sledding, so we played a little on the way out. A little icing on the cake. Frank.
Though conditions were transitional and wind-affected, we still enjoyed the day. Something about being in the mountains under a bluebird sky and descending a beautiful line creates a happiness that is hard to top. High pressure is here. Bring on spring 🙂