3.27.2006

Definitely Spring

Ahh yes, Spring in the mountains, probably one of the most inconsistent times of year weather-wise. I guess its the same anywhere, but here it can really play havoc on snow conditions. One day its soft, the next day its ice. Take this weekend for example.

Saturday my friend Drew and I decided it would be a good day for a nice snowshoe hike. I suggested going to Mayflower Gulch, an area he had never been and one I wanted to check out for some potential spring skiing. The day was pretty warm and definitely sunny. After about 20 minutes of hiking (without hats and gloves) we decided we were still warm and ditched the jackets too. It was probably in the mid to upper 40's with a bright warm sun. Glad I had the sunscreen on or I would be a lobster right now! It took about an hour and a half to hike up the road to the old abandon mine camp. There were several old buildings here, some in reasonably good shape. The one even still had an intact roof, that was covered in a thick blanket of snow. Above us in the basin below Villa Ridge were several snowmobile and skier track, definitely a place I want to come back to with my skis some time. It looks like a lot of fun. After our hike we headed to Frisco for some barbeque for lunch, that place will definitely be added to my "have to eat there again" list! Back home the thermometer read 55 degrees, a beautiful spring day for sure!

Sunday was another story, I awoke to it snowing sideways out side, in fact my car was plastered with snow on one side, and snow free on the other! It was a very windy day as a powerful cold front came through (you got it today) dropping temps by 20 degrees and accompanied with 25 mph winds, sometimes gusting to more. In some parts of the front range the winds were over 50! Despite the wind I still headed over to Vail for some skiing. At Vail the winds were wrecking havoc on the mountain and several chairs were closed for the day due to the winds, particularly in the Back Bowls and Blue Sky Basin. I stuck pretty much to the front side all day, and primarily skied runs that were narrow or in the trees to try and stay out of the wind. The one "open" run I took down Faro was brutal! I think i got some windburn from it as my cheeks and chin are still red today. The snow conditions were also tough, as parts of the mountain were very icy, others were getting the benefit of wind deposited snow, and the parts that had not been previously sun-baked the day before (mostly the trees) were still soft and fluffy. It was still a fun day, but definitely one in which greater care needed to be taken skiing, especially in the parts that were icy. Ahh, spring in the mountains!