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Beginner BC Routes

Info, conditions and gear related to skiing or riding Colorado Peaks, including the 14ers! Ski/Ride Trip Reports
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Beginner BC Routes

Postby 2005trek1200 » Wed Oct 27, 2010 1:24 pm

I’ve done some searching around and am not really finding what I need, hope some of you guys can help.

I am just starting with BC skinning/skiing. I am a very strong skier (expert? Eh, I don’t like that label, but ill hold my own at resorts) and am very fit (I am a bicycle racer in the summer). But I have zero BC skinning and skiing experience, just moved to CO a few months ago.

I am looking for some routes that have acceptable coverage right now to practice skinning and if they have a small boot pack of some sort, that’s good too. I do not have avy gear yet, ok I have a shovel, nor have I taken the class yet.

I am open to do the routes alone or with someone. In fact, I am looking to get out early sat morning (oct 30th) if anyone would like to join me and/or teach me a few things.

This in all in preparation to hit a lot of 14ers over the winter.

Thanks for any help.

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Re: Beginner BC Routes

Postby Carl » Wed Oct 27, 2010 1:32 pm

Check out the east side of Berthoud Pass. The large open area between the trees directly above the parking lot is not avalanche terrain. It's a good area to practice skinning and it's just steep enough to be able to ski back down. If you head into the trees on either side, you can quickly find yourself in avy terrain, not to mention it's thin in the trees right now. There is enough snow up there now, barely, but as things warm up the next couple days this may change.

A pic (not mine) from back when there was a lodge and ski lift.
Image

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Re: Beginner BC Routes

Postby shaunster_co » Wed Oct 27, 2010 1:35 pm

Loveland Pass and Iron Board, Preacher (areas on the sides of Loveland Pass) are great areas to get accustomed to. Hiking the ridge from the Summit of Loveland Pass (heading west - all the way around) has some great drops. Depending on the loading, watch the cornices. I'm sure you have seen it, but that area funnels down to the parking area on the side of the road and you can take a mtn taxi (hitch hike) back up for another run.

Another great area is the former ski area at RMNP [Hidden Valley], hike up to Trailridge Rd. Berthoud Pass is another. All are great places to do pre-season stuff.

Hope that helps.

~shaun

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Re: Beginner BC Routes

Postby Carl » Wed Oct 27, 2010 1:38 pm

2005trek1200 wrote:This in all in preparation to hit a lot of 14ers over the winter. Thanks for any help.


I'll also add that 14er skiing is an activity mostly reserved for the spring, for good reasons.

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Re: Beginner BC Routes

Postby 2005trek1200 » Wed Oct 27, 2010 1:50 pm

thanks guys..also wondering if st. mary's galcier/james peak is doable this time of year.

I'll also add that 14er skiing is an activity mostly reserved for the spring, for good reasons.


yeah i know what your saying there...wondering if their are any big mountain descents that are doable in winter.. like grays/toreys or something? in addition to that...what kinds of places are you guys skiing mid-winter? is it always to berthoud/CP type things or...?
Last edited by 2005trek1200 on Wed Oct 27, 2010 2:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Beginner BC Routes

Postby shaunster_co » Wed Oct 27, 2010 2:02 pm

2005trek1200 wrote:thanks guys..also wondering if st. mary's galcier/james peak is doable this time of year.

I'll also add that 14er skiing is an activity mostly reserved for the spring, for good reasons.


yeah i know what your saying there...wondering if their are any big mountain descents that are doable in winter.. like grays/toreys or something?


There are, but definitely have at minimum at beacon, probe, shovel and Level One.

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Re: Beginner BC Routes

Postby burnindaylight » Wed Oct 27, 2010 2:17 pm

Although it may not be useful for early season skinning/skiing when there is minimum snow coverage, Powder Ghosttowns is a great "guide book" for beginning backcountry skiing. The book does a good job of discussing how the given terrain mitigates avalanche risk (as in blue runs are generally less than 30degs and therefore generally not prone to avalanching) so you can choose wisely where you go. Plus it is cool to go see old ski resort areas and learn the history.

Bent Gate probably still has used demo beacons left too ($290 for a Pieps last time I checked).

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Re: Beginner BC Routes

Postby gsliva » Wed Oct 27, 2010 2:26 pm

Don't forget huts.org . Some pretty easy ones and great training. +1 on the beacon, training, and shovel.
Live for the Climb and the search for commitment.

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Re: Beginner BC Routes

Postby clemsonmtneer » Wed Oct 27, 2010 8:49 pm

Check out Butler Gulch (near Jones Pass, between Empire and Berthoud Pass). A good, fairly long tour with plenty of nice descent options. I was up there yesterday morning and it was deep!

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Re: Beginner BC Routes

Postby Carl » Wed Oct 27, 2010 8:54 pm

burnindaylight wrote:Bent Gate probably still has used demo beacons left too ($290 for a Pieps last time I checked).


Bent Gate is out of the used Pieps (an otherwise good suggestion and great beacon) but there is a BCA Tracker in the 14ers.com classifieds for $200. :mrgreen:

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Re: Beginner BC Routes

Postby COBuckeye » Thu Oct 28, 2010 11:42 am

clemsonmtneer wrote:Check out Butler Gulch (near Jones Pass, between Empire and Berthoud Pass). A good, fairly long tour with plenty of nice descent options. I was up there yesterday morning and it was deep!


Can you give more details on how to get there, where to park, etc?
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Re: Beginner BC Routes

Postby Eaglevu » Thu Oct 28, 2010 12:01 pm

Here's my 2/100ths of a dollar, for a newbie XC skier. Stay below treeline, and on gentle slopes.
That is, until you have mastered your skiing technique. Try the nordic centers. like Eldora, Frisco, Breckenridge, & Frasier (Devils Thumb & Snow Mountain). The Montezuma area (E. of Keystone) has good starter terrain, like Peru Ck, Deer Ck, & St.John/Hunkidori Mine. Also, the smaller ski resorts, like Eldora & Ski Cooper are great places to practice your XC downhill skills. You will need it, on the steeper & higher trails.
-Eaglevu
(Member of the "EVEREST IS TOO D_MN HIGH!" party.)

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