Colorado Backcountry: Bard Creek Dawn Patrol

Saturday Mike and I met up early. Dawn patrol and scouting for new locations was the plan, we had started hiking by 5:45am. Mike had scoped out a line last year on Mt. Bethel and the ridge to the northwest behind it. We didn't have enough time to make that but we decide to head back into the drainage and see what we could find. Mike had to be on his way out by 10am so are options were limited. We followed the creek back up into the basin and noticed some really nice north facing bowls with open trees and tons of powder. We pointed the snowshoes that direction and started breaking trail. We zig zagged back and forth up through the trees toward our destination, once at the top we geared up, did a quick beacon check and rode down to find a nice spot to dig a pit. Around 11800ft we found a spot for the pit, open trees, north facing, and around 32 degrees slope angle. 4-5 layers, we saw the same conditions as the previous week at Loveland Pass. 2-3ft of depth hoar, below a very weak layer about 3" thick. On top of that, various layers from the storms cycles and large slabs. We got easy shears on the layer roughly 18" below the surface. We decided to ski the mellower slope angle and denser trees to our left vs. the open bowl. The snow was deep and really fun, a bit heavy but you can't complain about powder. Back down in the drainage basin we started the hike out, happy to have found a great new spot. We wished we could have stayed longer and explored some more of the terrain. All in all we logged about 5 miles total and fresh tracks all the way back down.

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.

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