4.03.2006

Another Typical Spring Weekend

April is here, only a handful of ski days left! Saturday I headed out to Vail. Conditions were okay, but it was a bit colder overnight and during the day than it had been later in the week and it got a little crusty, particularly in areas that had been sunbaked the day before. There were still a few good areas around, mostly on northeast facing slopes that were protected from the afternoon sun. The winds were back to normal, so unlike the week before I was able to ski in the Blue Sky Basin area, got some good steep runs in on Skree Field and Lovers Leap, and finally landed the 5' cliff band at the top of Skree Field without falling. Too bad no one saw me! Thanks to it being late season and a little crusty out there was hardly anyone there all day. No lift lines, except for a few of the most popular chairs on the front side, but even those weren't that bad. Pretty soon all of the tourists will be gone until summer and things will get really dead around here. At least there won't be any lines at the grocery store!

Sunday my friend Drew and I went hiking again, we thought about skiing Beaver Creek but decided that if the snow was as crusty as the day before it wouldn't be worth it. I heard from some people that were up that it was a mixed bag, so probably better that we passed. Instead we took our snowshoes up to Tennessee Pass and hiked the trail that leads to Vance's Cabin. Vance's is one of the 10th Mountain Division huts, an interlinked system of backcountry cabins that can be rented out in winter. You basically hike or ski from a trailhead into the backcountry to these secluded cabins. We didn't hike the whole way to the cabin (about 3 miles), instead we turned around after about 2 miles. All in all it was about a 2 hour round trip, through forest and snow covered meadows. There were some great views along the way, including Mts Elbert and Massive in the distance, and the nearby Ski Cooper ski area. Cooper (not to be confused with Copper) is only about a 400 acre resort with no hotels at its base. It falls under the "Colorado Gems" category of ski areas, tiny uncrowded resorts with no glitz.

Now that the air is warming up and the sun is out later (7.30pm!), I may even be able to start biking after work again. Most of the forest service roads I like to mountain bike on are still snowed in, but the paved paths are open and ready to go!