May 3 2013

Mayday! Mayday!

A snow beard in May?

A powder beard in May?

My trip to Alaska let me know my knee was ok and got me pumped for the rest of the season. The only problem was that it had not been snowing much in Colorado and last year there was no snow after mid March so there were lots of fears that 2013 would be a repeat. However, if there’s one thing we know for sure, it’s that nobody knows what mother nature will do. This year in Colorado, she decided to play a mean trick and wait till most resorts closed before turning on the snow spigot. The biggest snow cycle of the year started the day after Vail shut down for the season and continued till they reopened a week later – the first time they’ve done that in 26 years. I was lucky enough to catch the reopening which was quite spectacular and like all good days at Vail, very well attended as you can see from the photo below.

3 feet of untracked tends to draw a crowd

For those who can’t bear for the season to end both Loveland and A-Basin stay open till at least May and tend to do well in spring storms. This year has proven to be a stellar example as Loveland has received over 100 inches since April 1st – no fooling! I was fortunate to catch three days during that stretch – all of which were at least a foot with the last on May 2 being a 17″ in 24/24″ in 48 extravaganza. I was too busy snarfing powder to take many pictures but did record the clip below for authentication purposes.

So sadly it seems like another season has come to an end (at least the powder chasing part). This one had it’s ups (BC, Alaska, powder days in May) and downs (MCL tear, another below average snow year for Colorado) but all in all just thankful that I get to play in the first place. And hell, October is just 6 short months away…


Apr 27 2011

Springtime in the Rockies

Going...

going...

gone...

When I was up in Alaska, everyone kept telling me that I would now be ruined for skiing anywhere else. But for me the exact opposite seems to be true because as with any true addiction, a good dose just makes me want more. Fortunately for me, this April in Colorado has been stellar and provided me with numerous opportunities to get fresh fixes. Yesterday it was Loveland’s turn to deliver the goods – when the morning report said 8″ overnight and snowing hard (16″ by lunchtime) I called everyone on my list but no takers so was forced to shoot the following video of myself just to prove how good it actually was.


Jan 19 2011

I-70 Savior – Loveland saves the day 1/18/11

The (patient) powder hounds reap their rewards

Any skier who has spent a  winter in the Denver/Boulder area is almost certain to have has an I-70 horror story. For a front range skier there’s no escaping the terrain trap that is the main thoroughfare through the mountains. When I woke up Tuesday morning to find out that Vail had called 16″ and Breckenridge 26″ (roll eyes here) my first thought as always was “time to get moving”. My second unfortunately was “better check on I-70” and sure enough it was closed. I had planned to go to Vail with everyone’s favorite forecaster Joel Gratz who immediately suggested we leave right away and take 285 to get around the closure but this had the potential of breaking my hard and fast rule that I must spend more time on the hill then in the car on any given ski day.

Does this look familiar - I-70 Georgetown exit

Since only a relatively small portion of the road was closed (Georgetown to Silverthorne) we decided to take a chance and head up hoping the road would open by the time we got there. No such luck however, so we sat in the car for two hours searching the web in a futile attempt to get some info all the while being greatly entertained by the CDOT phone road report which told us that the road was closed so we “should plan accordingly” without giving us any indication of why it was closed or when by chance it might reopen.  Just as we were about to give up and head home the road reopened and now our only option for first tracks was Loveland.

Who needs a queue when there's powder to be had

We certainly weren’t the only ones whose plans had changed to Loveland but news of the road closure had discouraged a lot of folks so while they were quite a few powder hounds out, there was plenty to go around. Loveland had also called 16″ but with the high winds the day before (a 100 mph gust was recorded the previous morning)  I assumed the snow would either be in Kansas or heavily wind packed so was very pleasantly surprised to find a legitimate foot plus of high quality Colorado snow. In the last year, Loveland has opened almost the entire East Wall you see above the tunnel which has steeps, cliffs and lovely glades so we spent most of the day there getting fresh tracks and face shots as evidenced by the video below.

Loveland Powder Day

The Loveland ski patrol did a hell of a job getting things open considering they were also stuck in traffic and opened all of the ridge by mid day. There was quite a crowd hiking up the hill and they were all rewarded for their efforts. They say good things come to those who wait and on this day that was certainly the case…