(Last Updated On: June 2, 2017)
A mid-May storm hit Colorado hard, dropping as much as 48″ of powder up in Rocky Mountain National Park. Here in Crested Butte, however, we mostly missed out on the big storm, with only a few inches to speak of. Fun skiing, mind you, just not as deep as other places. Tom Runcie was looking to get out as well, and originally we were considering a return trip to the San Juans thanks to the awesome access. Then we found out that the storm had temporarily closed the Yankee Boy road at the “overhang waterfall”, so we nixed that idea. I’m too spoiled in that area, so I don’t want to walk any extra miles when access is usually so incredible. Then we found out that Harmel’s (the start of the Doctor Park bike ride) had gotten a foot of fresh- and that’s an area that doesn’t usually get much snow. So if Harmel’s got that much snow, surely Taylor Park got hammered as well.
We made it to within a half mile of our intended trailhead, and rather surprisingly ran into a solo snowboarder. The new snow made travel very efficient, and we flew up the peak in no time. We had great views on one of those perfect, ultra-clear Colorado days. Castle and Cathedral:
Tom cruising up the ridge:
We were shooting for a ~2,000 foot line on the north side, but amazingly a solo telemarker had skied it the day before. I can picture this skier in my head- I bet they’ve skied the same line on many a late spring powder day. I bet he (or she) would be just as surprised to see our tracks up there. Tele tracks:
Thankfully this face has a ton of options. The next line, which I’d skied before, looked wind affected. We kept moving down the ridge until we found a spot that looked perfect as far as the snow conditions. We weren’t sure if it would go, but we decided to give it a try. There was a Blizzard at the top:
We had found the powder we were seeking:
I remember this wind feature down on the apron from the last time I skied this area. It’s the perfect spot for going fast- so fun!
Tom (@tomruncie) did a quick Instagram video:
Our route ended up being a steep and exposed one. It isn’t often that I wonder if something had been skied before, but an obscure line on an obscure mountain in an obscure area, with nice clean lines nearby? Maybe. Who cares, though.
Looking back at the face. The telemark skier’s line is prominent, while the route we took doesn’t look like it would go cleanly at all from this vantage point. Such a good zone!
All in all, that was one of my favorite days of the year- in late May! This is such a good zone when the timing is right. If you’re wondering where it is- well, buy the book next fall 🙂