3.20.2006

Skiing Double Feature

Originally we were supposed to have a group of us climb Mt Antero to try and sneak another 14er into the calendar winter. That didn't work out due to snow. The good news is, snow means good skiing! Saturday I went up to Beaver Creek, where I started the day on a few of my favorite runs and then decided to go exploring a few places that I hadn't yet tried. Both areas are backcountry areas that are just beyond the border of the ski resort and technically are located in the Holy Cross Wilderness area. They filter directly back into the resort via a creek bed though, so getting lost is not a worry, just keep going down hill! The runs turned out to be really nice, and the creek bed is wide enough to comfortably make turns. In spring when the snow starts to melt it could be a problem though, even Saturday there were a few places where I could see the creek, but they were easily avoidable.

Sunday I headed to Vail where Saturday's snow had been kind enough to deposit 7 inches of powder. A good portion of the snow fell after the evening's grooming so even the groomers had a nice coating of about 4 inches of snow for all to enjoy. After those started to get tracked out I headed to a few tree runs and mogul runs that had good snow, and then went over to the Back Bowls. The main parts of the bowls were tracked out, but there was a few good runs in Skree Field at Blue Sky Basin to be had. As usual runs with cliff bands at the top scared people off and held the good snow later in the day. Some of the afternoon sun had baked a couple of the runs and the snow on those runs was crusty, but sticking to more north facing runs that stay in the shadows worked out nicely. Even as the afternoon hours rolled in I was able to get some fresh tracks by hiking about the lifts in the Mongolia Bowl. It was now only 1.30 and I had already had a good 15 runs for the day. Surprisingly the lift lines weren't bad, and I was in the single line whcih had virtually nobody. Usually people cheat and split up and ride the single line to get up faster, but it seemed yesterday most of the people in groups stuck with the regular line. I hardly had a wait all weekend! The last run of the day I tried a new run, Mudslide. Its one of the frontside chutes that are under the Vista Bahn and is one of the steeper runs on Vail. The top of the run is an old washout with exposed roots and a bit of a cornice. You have to jump off a 2-6 foot drop to get in, and the entire run seems like its an old landslide. In fact you can see it from town, and in the summer its just a gully of dirt in an otherwise tree covered slope.

Its snowing again today, and hopefully we will build back up to our earlier season depths as we enter the home stretch. While you back home are thinking Spring (especially with the official start right around the corner), we still have 5 more weeks of ski season to enjoy!