(Last Updated On: March 21, 2016)
The San Juans are far and away Colorado’s largest mountain range. Despite the vastness of the range, however, it’s starting to feel like a second home as I continue to explore the range. One blank spot on my map, however, was the Telluride area, where my ski adventures include only the Wilson group of 14ers and the San Joaquin couloir. So when Brittany suggested skiing the Sheep chute near Lizard Head Pass, I was as excited to add another piece of the San Juan puzzle as I was to ski a classic line. We made our way towards Sheep Mountain’s summit, with the Wilson Group and Lizard Head behind:
From the top, the peaks of the island lake group, such as Vermillion and US Grant, looked close enough to touch. We’ve skied in that area before, but we accessed it from the Silverton side. As is often the case in the San Juans, the driving distance between areas may be hours, even when the mountains and distance connecting them are not.
The couloir begins near the summit and we were greeted with carveable chalky snow. Frank:
Brittany’s first turn in the same spot:
Not surprisingly, after weeks of dry weather, the snow was variable, though there were some nice recycled powder sections. What was surprising was how many marble- to baseball- sized rocks had blown into the couloir during all the wind we had during February. Thankfully they were more annoying than damaging to our skis. Frank:
So there you have it, another piece of the San Juan puzzle. On the way home, we drove through Ophir- another place I hadn’t been to but will now need to return to. The San Juans have been missing out on the snow lately, but the conditions are holding up well and the dreaded dust has been minimal thus far. We’ll be heading back some more…
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