Back in the saddle again – Berthoud Pass 11/12/10

Welcome to "Hell's Half Acre" 11/12/2010

As much as I enjoy summer and mountain biking in the beautiful Colorado Rockies, I’d be hard pressed to not trade it all for one good powder day – that’s why they call it an addiction. So when I saw shots of knee deep snow from a late October storm floating around the internet I knew my mountain biking days were numbered. In particular I heard rumors that Berthoud Pass was once more open for business and after a warmup day at ABasin earlier this week, I decided it was time to see if the rumors were true.

It sure felt like winter...

I had heard from my favorite weather forecaster that while there was good exercise to be had at Berthoud, I shouldn’t count on a big powder day. Thus when I casually headed down the first run with sunglasses on I was pleasantly surprised when my first big turn blew up enough snow to blind me the rest of the way. Thanks to Hell’s north facing exposure the snow stays soft for a long time and because it takes some effort to get there, there is generally untracked left when you arrive. Today was no exception as that old good time feeling came flooding right back – back in the powder again.

Ah, the blessed virgin...

Of course, one good turn deserves another so we were raring to get some more as soon as we could overcame the biggest challenge of the day – procuring a ride back to the parking lot. Winter Park not yet being open is a double whammy; more locals on the hill combined with reduced traffic over the pass means the thumb line tends to stack up and pickup trucks with friendly drivers are your only hope. Eventually our ship did come in and round two was even better than one as we now knew what to expect and this time I had my goggles on for greater viewing pleasure.

I'm the little red dot between the trees - happily contemplating my future...

This is not to say that there were no rocks or hidden obstacles – my copilot Mike was rudely tripped up and I added a few new scratches to the bottom of my board but certainly nothing to keep us from seriously considering not taking a third run in the sweet early season powder. Since Hell’s was so good we didn’t consider going elsewhere although they were tracks headed out in every direction. As John Candy once put it “when something works for me I stick with it” so back up to the top of Hanging Meadows we went for one more photo session.

Hanging ten in the Hanging Meadows

The third time was definitely the charm as well I’m sure the  fourth, fifth and sixth times would have been had we had the legs and time to hike it again, but we were more than satisfied with what the snow gods had given us this day.  After all it’s only early November and while I’ve ridden Berthoud in October before, the last two years my board didn’t even come out of the closet till December so I’m counting my blessings.  Once again, I got a little taste of heaven in Hell’s Half Acre!

9 Responses to “Back in the saddle again – Berthoud Pass 11/12/10”

  • There is PLENTY of good snow out there Says:

    […] on Friday, before this latest series of storms, the Gluten Free Snowboarder found some sweet turns up on Berthoud […]

  • nyles Says:

    hey I met you guys up there on friday! I was the kid in the blue pants and black jacket. hopefully I’ll see ya around berthoud, fun times are still to be had!

  • Jean-Francois Says:

    Just got back from Berthoud — yep, it’s all there! Great start for the season.

  • Geoffrey Gilbert Says:

    Fantastic pictures, particularly the fourth shot of you playing the role of the red dot is Colorado gorgeous. It reminds me of the first time I climbed Everest without oxygen, a jacket or a conscience.

  • Shaun White Says:

    What’s a little powder in the eyes? Didn’t seem to bother Al Pacino in Scarface. Glad you got an early run in this season, grizzled veterans need to warm up. In the future, how about a few pics of some Board Bunnies?

  • Jerry Hoffman Says:

    Bradley, Awesome early season pow. Thanks for the taste.

  • Wendi Gilbert Says:

    Just incredible.

    I personally don’t know anyone that does what you do.
    It must be such a thrill.

    keep the photos coming !

  • Dave Says:

    Damn, I thought opening weekend at Breck had nice snow, but that looks ridiculous! With the storm coming this weekend through Thanksgiving, where are you going for the best snow, Brad (if you are willing to divulge that info, that is)?

  • bgilbert Says:

    Debating between Wolf Creek (big southwest storm coming in) or maybe opening day at Beaver Creek on Wednesday (or both). I’m headed out of town for Thanksgiving but if I wasn’t I’d be thinking about Aspen or Steamboat who both open this week. I’m very partial to opening days – it’s the only time you get to ski your favorite runs without bumps or tourists on them…

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