The calendar says it’s still fall. But, around Crested Butte, it’s winter. Some hail, “Oh, winter came early this year!” But they forget that this is normal for us. Winter comes in October most years, with the exception of the last three falls which have been irregularly warm. Admittedly, I’d be okay riding my bike through the end of October without the snow flying. But, I’m always embracing the season we we’re in. And right now, we’re in winter, whether the calendar says so or not.Read more
Ski season began with a bang for us this year. With consistent weekly storm patterns, snow has been gathering up high for the last few weeks. Although still relatively thin, the snowpack is deep enough to not worry too much about hitting debris underneath. Furthermore, it’s supportable and bomber. We’ve never seen anything like it this early in October. That’s why we skied lines this day that we did not touch last year until April.Read more
Mount Edwards is one of those peaks that even many backcountry skiers haven’t really heard of. Accessed from the same trailhead at Bakerville as Torreys, Grays, and even Grizzly Peak, Mount Edwards sits in the shadows of these classic peaks. But, Mount Edwards can hold its own, and the lines that it offers can arguably be better than what’s offered on its sister peaks. Certainly you’re bound to see less people on Mount Edwards too.Read more
I have a long history with Mount Rainier. I was just 14 years old when our plane flew alongside her and I was mesmerized – so much that I decided I wanted to go to college in Seattle, just so I could be close to Mount Rainier. But, after visiting the University of Washington campus and being disappointed, I set my sights elsewhere and ended up in Boulder. Still, Mount Rainier hung in my mind. My dad and I eventually climbed her in the mid-90’s, fully guided with RMI. The famed Dave Hahn was our lead guide.
But, then became a ski mountaineer and my eyes gazed back to Mount Rainier. I needed to ski her. Two previous volcano-skiing trips to the Pacific Northwest were fruitful, but did not give ample opportunity for skiing Rainier. After missing last ski season due to injury, and coming back to a rather mediocre season in Colorado, I needed something. I needed a big goal, something that would be the highlight of my season. I decided that would be Rainier.Read more
From this angle, the couloir on Savage Peak practically looked vertical, not to mention it had a giant runnel running down the middle. We continued towards the summit, though no one was quite certain they would actually ski it. The good news on the ridge was that I foundRead more
The thrill of skiing off-piste into the great white wilderness is what the Alps offer best. Ungroomed slopes give the exhilaration which the tailored ones do not. Documentaries often show skiers and snowboarders descending huge mountains swiftly, jumping off the edge of a cliff, and disappearing into the powdery white.
The good news is that the Alps offer something for everyone. While more advanced ski mountaineers can head for bigger lines, people with little backcountry touring experience – can also ski ungroomed slopes. So, if you plan to visit a European alpine country anytime soon, read on!Read more
Marjorie’s was good. We knew that another lap or two in Marjorie Bowl would be the best skiing, but we’re suckers for a good aesthetic line. So even though Shit for Brains couloir looked a little worse for wear, we decided to head up it for our second lap of the day.Read more
What we found actually surprised me. With the low snow, I was expecting pretty technical conditions in the steep upper portions of the bowl. Surprisingly, the low snow conditions made a planar face, rather than flutes and spines like we normally get.Read more
Keller Mountain is one of many Gore Range peaks that beckon backcountry skiers from CO-9, south of Silverthorne. A north-facing couloir strikes down from Keller Mountain’s ridge, and I studied this couloir every time I traveled between Steamboat and back. I meant to ski the Keller Mountain North Couloir a few years back while researching routes for our guidebook. But, the timing never quite worked out. So, there it stood – waiting. But 2018 is a good year for the Gore Range. And it was time to go ski that line that struck me during all those trips to the northern part of our state.Read more