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.

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.
http://unitysnowboards.com
http://capitasnowboards.com
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.
http://www.atlassnowshoe.com/products/

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.
http://www.ospreypacks.com/
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.
http://www.leki.com

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.

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