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Colorado Backcountry: Berthoud Pass

berthoud booter lines

Berthoud Video 11/24 - (right click - save as)

Got to the summit of Berthoud Pass yesterday around 6:45am, bluebird conditions as the sun was rising. No one else around, I geared up and started hiking the boot pack west from the summit parking lot. After 30 minutes or so of hiking I reached the west ridge summit where the old lift towers used to stand. I decided I was going to drop into the first creek area and hitch hike back up to the summit. Above tree line, there is still plenty of little powder stashes and fun spots to rip. I dropped down northwest into the first creek drainage, the snow was good and I found nice spots in the trees with a foot or so of pow untracked. Good coverage almost everywhere, 6-8" pow in most spots still, foot or more in the trees. Once you get back into tree line you need to head skiers right and follow the tracks or you end up dead end at a nice cliff line. The snow below tree line was really tracked out and hard pack, so I made my way to the hitch hike point and waited for my friend Sarah on her way up from the Winter Park side.

berthoud booter lines

Colorado Backcountry: Loveland Pass Trees

berthoud booter lines

Loveland Pass Trees Video - (right click - save as)

Spent the last 3 days riding endless pow up on the pass. The north facing trees are completely going off right now and there is still plenty of fresh tracks to rip. We started early Friday morning, met up with Tele Adam at the first lot around 6:45am. After a beacon check we quickly got our gear and started to hitch, took a warm up lap down the main chute and it was awesome. 3-4" fresh and lots of wind blown snow the conditions weren't bad at all. After another lap or two we decided to start hiking the ridge from the pass summit. Bailey (Adam's dog) lead the way and we followed his boot pack toward the ridge. We decided to play it safe and ski the mellower lines near the first sadle. Keeping an eye on each other and the dog we dropped one at a time down the north facing fingers out on to the ironing board. The snow was really nice above tree line and we easily had deep turns all the way down to the flats. Back down at the car we hitched up again and made our way further along the ridge, hitting each little pow gulley. After 4 laps hiking the ridge, Adam took off and I did a few more tree runs.

berthoud booter lines

Colorado Backcountry: Gear Checklist

I've tried, used, and broken a lot of gear over the years. The checklist below serves as a guide for the gear I pack on backcountry snowboard day trips. Of course, if you are doing over nighters or multi-nighters you would opt for a larger pack and include items like your thermarest and sleeping bag. The gear below has always worked great for me and it's dealt with my abuse well. I use this stuff 2-3 times a week and it never lets me down.

SNOWBOARD - Unity Origin, or Capita Swallow Tail for the steep and deep. Make sure the board securely fastens to your backcountry pack.
SHOWSHOES - Use to break trail in deep snow, useful for long slog approaches. Break these out when you start to post hole. Purchase largest size available, I use ATLAS 1230. Rated at 175lbs - 250lbs.

BACKCOUNTRY PACK - Osprey switch 25+5 backcountry snow pack. With this pack you can keep your shovel assembled and have easy access to your probe and snow study gear.
TREKKING POLES - Get something light and adjustable. You'll use these alot
during slog, ascent, and snowshoeing. Make sure they attach to your pack. I use Leki Ultralite Ti Air-Ergo.

Colorado Update: Winter Is Back!

The snow gods have been very good to us the last couple of weeks. Over the weekend of Nov. 5th-6th we recieved a huge dump of about 15" setting up a nice base on top of the snow fall from October. On top of the previous week's wetter snowfall, Summit County and the surrounding resorts recieved almost 40" of fresh powder. Starting Nov. 12th, Loveland Resort was reporting 5" new at 10,500ft. The 13th, came with another 8" fresh and lots of wind. The 14th another 8" dropped over night and we rode beautiful bluebird knee deep conditions at the Pass. Yesterday, we woke to another 10" fresh on the slopes and very cold temps. Took Tuesday off and went up to Copper Mountain, with clear skies and summit temperatures of 7 degrees F, the powder was super light and blower. We did lap after lap on the Excelerator in deep powder, the crowds weren't very bad at all because it was so cold. Happy to report that Copper has top to bottom skiing open with many trails and acerage open. The park is stil the same as last week with a bigger quarter pipe. Winter Park, Breckenridge, Keystone, Loveland, and Arapahoe Basin are all reporting new terrain and lift openings after this weekends storm. Most resorts are reporting almost 40" base and its only November! Our original plans were to head to the Pass yesterday and get some more backcountry in but CDOT never opened the gates.

Colorado Backcountry: Avalanche Conditions

Loveland Pass - CDOT Avy Blast [Video/]

Loveland pass was closed all day today due to avalanche danger. The storm over Colorado has produced heavy snow and lots of wind. Sustained gusts of up to 45 mph on Loveland pass record by the CAIC weather station. Backcountry users should be very careful in the up coming days and keep careful eye on the large wind load slabs forming. Bring your gear and wear your beacons.

Due to the pass closed, we ended up riding at Loveland Resort. The wind was bad but the snow and crowds were great. No waiting in line, they had Chair #2 up and running but it was winding as hell up near the summit. Chair #1 is running as well and we had lots of fresh snow to shred all day. Around 9:30am, patrol lifted the ropes on Knix Knox and we had a few laps of really deep heavy pow.

By close of day, Arapahe Basin reports 14", Copper 13", Loveland 12", and these reports came in at 2:00pm MST. Breckenridge and Keystone are also open with plenty of fresh snow. Tomorrow should be pretty sick snowboarding.

Check video clip link above, it shows Loveland Pass early as we wait for CDOT and crew to blast the Seven Sisters chutes.

berthoud booter lines

Colorado Winter: Photo Spread & Colorado Update

Colorado Update

Date: 11/4/05-11/6/05

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