jp's blog

Colorado Backcountry: Berthoud Pass - Current Creek Headwall

Current Creek Headwall 12/10 - (right click - save as)

We had huge plans to slog up to the hut after work on Friday, camp the night and ride bright and early. We got to the current creek parking area around 5:30pm and started to gear up, it was quickly apparent that there was no way we were hauling up all the firewood we brought. We cut the load in 1/2 and piled it into the duffle bag, I took first shift dragging the thing though the pow and up the trail. Dragging this US Marine corps duffle bag through the snow with 50+ lbs of firewood was not easy, we were about to give up and Alex had the idea to strap it to his snowboard. 500ft later, that wasn't working. We decide to forget the wood and try and find the hut, it's around 6:30pm, 5 degrees F, we start the hike up the trail. Navigating via GPS through waist deep snow it was a long journey. We learned a lot of things about our gear that night and never made it to the hut. We got within 300ft and decided to turn back. It was almost 8:30pm and we still had to hike out. Plan B, camp out at Mary Jane lot and have a nice fire -- attack in the morning.

Backcountry Gear: iPod Video Review

Picked up a 5th Generation IPOD 30GB Video last Friday night on the way back from the mountain. My mini-disc has been failing bad lately and the batteries haven't lasted more then an hour in years. I figured it was time to upgrade and enjoy shredding to music once again. Got the shiny new IPOD home and started to load my music collection, snowboard vidoes and charge the battery. All charged up I figured I was ready to go, went riding Saturday and the damn battery only lasted 2 hours. I was pretty upset, and decided to start doing some research on the web about the IPOD battery. Apple claims I should get 14 hours of continous use. Started surfing the web and the Apple discussion forums and noticed a lot of people with the same problem. It turns out that the battery meter on the IPOD is approximate, it needs to be calibrated in many cases. To do this it is recommended to do 2-3 full charge/dis-charge cycles on the battery. This allows the battery to condition itself and the IPOD will calibrate the meter automaticly. After the first chrage/dis-charge cycle my IPOD lasted 14 hours! Running for 14 hours straight shuffling music and watching a few videos I was very impressed. Some additional tips and tricks to maximize battery life are to turn off the EG, set Backlight to 2 seconds, turn off alarms, delete clocks, and not skip/rewind tracks. Way to go Apple! I'll be doing another cold weather battery test this weekend while snowboarding.Overall I'm very happy with the video IPOD, the sound quality rocks, videos are super crisp and fun to watch. Battery life is good once you condition the thing, the enclosure seems pretty durable. Check out the links below for battery information and other tips & tricks.

Colorado Backcountry: Loveland Pass & Arapahoe Basin

Saturday at 6:30am the pass was still closed, so we decided to head over to Arapahoe Basin where they have gotten 32" of fresh in two days. Saturday we got 3rd chair on Pallavicini and we were graced with 14" fresh. The riding was out of this world, deep powder everywhere. It was really fun to have another resort day, I love just messing around run after run, hitting rails, buttering down the mountain. The crowds weren't as bad as I expected either for a huge powder day. Noon comes around and we break for lunch, Alex hooks up some killer burgers and snacks. From the basin lot I kept a close eye on the Loveland pass traffic, around 12:30 it opened up so I made my way over there.


Colorado Update: Copper Mountain

Copper Mountain Snow Report

Wow, today was sick. Got up to Copper super early because the pass was closed and was it worth it! 12" new this morning on top of 8-10" they got yesterday, we got 3rd chair on the Super Bee lift as it was opening for the season. Lots of deep powder all around the mountain and tons of terrain open. Spalding Bowl is open and Resolution lift is running. The T-Bar and most other lifts are running and more openings coming soon. It snowed off and on most of the day today, forecasts are calling for another 4-8" by tomorrow morning. Heading up to the pass (if it opens) to do some backcountry tomorrow and probably over to Keystone for some night jibbin. Will update after this weekend with some pictures and video hopefully.

Colorado Backcountry: Loveland Pass


Alex, Mike and I got up to the first switch back on the pass around 6:30am Saturday morning. Loveland Resort reported 2.5" over night and the pass had a little bit more. Disappointed by the lack of snowfall we slowly dawned our gear, did a beacon check and waited for a hitch. First lap down by 6:45am, it was better then we expected. 4-5" in most spots and quite a bit more wind blown in areas. We took a few more laps in the main gulleys and then started up a shuttle when rides got slow. We shuttled the lower areas and found lots of nice stashes in the north trees and a good 5" fresh on top.

The areas that see less ski traffic had deep snow and we even found a sweet little pillow line down deadwood creek. It was off and on greyday all day with light bursts of snow, on Sunday it didn't get above 9 degrees F. We took our time each lap and shot some pictures. Alex really killed it on the action shots, nice work! As you can see from the pictures we had a great time riding the steeps, schwacking the trees and slashin up the gnar. 10:30am rolls around, Mike decides he's had enough and heads home. Alex and I got a couple more laps in and took off around noon trying to beat the I70 traffic mess. We left really early from the Eisenhower tunnel area and still got caught in traffic.

Colorado Backcountry: Interactive Backcountry Map

This map uses the google maps API and generates an html page based on the spots we love in the backcountry. You can click on the map marker and view the info window which contains data about the way point, weather, snow conditions, and trip report links. This is in proof of concept mode and will be continually developed. Most of my points are setup, although some of the info window data is not correct. My idea behind this is to have an interactive map of locations we've hit, places we want to go, and any other information useful for checking out backcountry locations. Check back as this is completely beta right now, we will be adding more waypoints and lots of data. In addition keep an eye out for interactive maps with Colorado snotel data, and avalanche conditions. Map, Satellite, Hybrid, LANDSAT7, Topo, and JPL Global Mosaic overlays available. Click the above map image or use the link on the sidebar to navigate to the map.

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