January 04, 2009

Backcountry Weekend

Yes, the snowpack here in Colorado is quite unstable, even by Colorado standards. Fortunately, these conditions don't prevent backcountry skiing, they simply play a larger role in dictating where it is safe to go.

On Saturday I ventured with Dane, Andy, and Dave to Mayflower Gulch near Hoosier Pass. Although it hadn't snowed for several days, it had remained cold since the previous storms, causing the old snow to ski like fresh powder. It did snow about 4 inches while we were skiing, but that was not nearly enough to account for the 12"+ that we were sinking into.

Andy having his way with the powder

The lone telemarker

Dane floating high on his split board

We ended up making laps in a patch of trees near treeline for about 5 hours - all of us with stupid grins that couldn't be wiped from our faces.

On Sunday, Andy and I were joined by Ben and Sean. After driving towards the town of Montezuma and discovering there wasn't enough snow, we backtracked to Mt. Quandary, where we had been 3 days ago. We knew the snow was good at and below treeline from our previous experience, so we went back in search of more powder.

We found what we were looking for.

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