Curt Honcharik, Jozef Sibik and I went up to RMNP for some backcountry skiing on Sunday. I’m certainly eager to go ski the steeps, but have been very cautious lately with the snowpack. Curt and I skied/boarded 25 degree slopes at Jenny Lind Gulch last weekend; our snowpit showed lots of instability. After hearing about the massive accident at Loveland on Sunday, our caution was justified and we decided to keep to moderate slopes.
We had a great day of skiing on the East Bowl of Flattop, also known as The Drift. Creamy snow, plenty of sun, and not too much wind. We dug a pit just above treeline at 11,300′ on an east aspect, in the sastrugi, just out of curiosity. Snowpack was about 6 feet deep to the ground, and comprised of 4′ of bombproof windslab on top of a foot of icy crusts and thin softer slabs, with a foot of facets near the ground. Overall I was surprised by how quickly the snow from earlier this week had consolidated, both up high and in the trees on all aspects…but it’s still a winter snowpack though, so be careful out there folks. We spent an hour practicing with beacons at the end of the day.
My condolences to the families and friends of Saturday’s slide.
Went backcountry skiing today in Rocky Mountain National Park’s Mario Gully. There was about 12 inches of new snow, with drifting of 2 feet in many areas.
Got a quick ski in before work this morning. Headed up to try a new descent (for us) on the side of the dream dome on Hallett Peak in Rocky Mountain National Park. Instead of heading the whole way over to Mario Gully, you stop short. The trail contours right around the end of thedream dome then opens up to the left. We broke trail from before Dream Lake and had about a foot of fresh powder to ski. Perfect conditions. Warm day with snow falling.
Went skiing yesterday at Hidden Valley in Rocky Mountain National Park. Coverage was the best I’ve seen it there – no concern about hitting rocks or dry patches. Unfortunately, it was pretty wind scoured, icey, and rutted out. We skied the old lift line, which was pretty good – the further up you go the better the conditions. And we skied the main line over to skier’s left (skinner’s right). Above the road was hard crusty wind slab mixed unpredictably with soft wind-deposited pockets and a bit of sastrugi.
We went skiing yesterday (Dec 29) at Rock Creek in Allenspark. It was icey and rutted out by snowshoers, snowmobiles, and other skiers. Pretty crappy skiing conditions. We’re getting snow right now in Estes Park, though, so hopefully it will get a nice covering.
We hit the hills on Christmas day. Planned a really short day, just a quick jaunt into the Terrain Park above Dream Lake. The beautiful sun and dead calm lured us higher, and we skied a perfect pitch of boot-top powder in the early afternoon shade of Chaos Canyon. Conditions were great. I’ve never seen so little wind in the Park. It’ll be sure to return soon, though!