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Colorado Backcountry: Loveland Pass

lp-down lp-snow

Finally we find our way into some backcountry action up on Loveland Pass. First we decided to stop at the East Portal switch back for some jibs. The "Malay" kink rail we brought up to the pass a few months ago is still there along with some other jibs. As of now, there are a couple of tree rides, a long single tube rail, small single tube rail, wood table, and some other junk. After burning an hour or so we decided to try out our luck and do some hiking. After flagging a west bound pickup truck down we were on our way to the summit, once there we decided to hike the boot pack up the ridge and drop from there. CIAC reports moderate avalanche danger for the Northern mountains, so we dig a small pit to verify. Conditions OK, we drop in about mid-way through the Loveland Ridge avalanche path, great pow lines down! 8-10" powder near the top of the divide, on top of a nice pre-season base. Once in the trees we make our way to the LP hut for a smoke break, be careful not to drop too far skiers left when descending or you'll get stuck near the creek. Either way, you can't really go wrong at LP- most lines will take you back to your car or the East Portal lot. Updates from Berthoud Pass and Cameron Pass during the holiday.

Colorado Snow Conditions: Copper Mountain

copper

Friday we decided to head over to Copper and check out the scene, damn was it Saturday we thought? Tons of vacationers and holiday traffic made it feel almost like the weekend. With 4" fresh the previous day we figured we could find some hidden powder stashes in the trees, the only good stuff we found was off the T-Bar lift. With the masses of people over on the American Flyer side of the mountain we did a few laps on the Super Bee, snow was OK up top but hella icy down at the bottom. This side of Copper tends to be less crowded with slightly harder terrain. We broke for lunch at Endo's Cafe and made our way to the park. I was disappointed to see the same features in the pre-season park. Copper needs to change this crap up once in a while, keep it fresh! By mid-day the snow around the mountain and park started to loosen up, all on top of a 36" mid-mountain base. Think Snow!

Colorado Snow Conditions: Keystone

keystone-ganjala keystone-preseasonpark

So we hit up Keystone instead of Breckenridge, and it turned out to be a pretty nice day. As we hit Georgetown we could see that it was snowing up near Loveland Pass, a few inches fresh! Tempted to stop and hit the jibs at the base of the pass we motored on to Keystone, scoring some killer parking right next to the River Run gondola. We decided to take the lift up and drop the back side towards North Peak, had some nice powder turns down. 2" fresh natural and a few inches of man made over a 31" base on most of the runs, we ended up at the Santiago lift heading up to the Outback. We did laps down Elk-Run and surrounding trails for most of the morning. On Elk-Run snowmaking was in progress leaving some really fun kickers and jumps all over. We broke for lunch and decided to head over to the terrain park, Keystone still has the pre-season park going but its pretty sick. At the park we found something for everyone, multiple boxes, roller coaster rail, flat rails, and a snow skate park. The A51 Park lift wasn't running due to snowmaking operations, so you'll have to use Peru Express. Look for more updates later this week.

Avalanche Conditions: (CAIC)
Northern Mountains: considerable (w/ pockets of moderate below TL)
Central Mountains: moderate (w/ pockets of considerable TL and above)
Southern Mountains: moderate (w/ pockets of considerable TL and above)

Colorado Snow Conditions: Berthoud Pass/Mary Jane

fresh-pow bp-summit

For all of you local to Colorado this blog may be of some interest to you. I will make an effort to update my personal blog space with snow reports, avalanche conditions and trip reports from around Colorado. This weekend we are being lazy, decided not to hike in the backcountry due to the considerable avalanche danger from the recent storm/wind on Thursday and Friday. We spent Sunday riding at Mary Jane/Winter Park, I was pretty surprised at how low-key the MJ side was. The place wasn't super crowded and we found some really nice snow in the trees. As of Sunday they are claiming a 37" base, mostly natural snow. After lunch we decided to head over the the WP side and find the park, this sounds much easier than it is. WP has a small pre-season park up and running off of the Prospector Express lift, it's a long adventure of lifts and catwalks to get over to the park from the MJ side. Once there, we found: small box, large up to flat box, flat rail, rainbow, flat to down rail, large flat rail and a med trap rail. The lower half of the terrain park had a couple of medium size tables and 2 large tables. Be sure and start the trek back over the the MJ side around 3pm, you could get stuck on the wrong side when the lifts close. Check back for a report from Breckenridge or Beaver creek later this week.

Avalanche Conditions:
Northern Mountains: considerable (all aspects and elevation)
Central Mountains: considerable w/ pockets of moderate (-TL mod)
Southern Mountains: considerable w/ pockets of moderate (-TL mod)

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