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Early Season Skiing

Info, conditions and gear related to skiing or riding Colorado Peaks, including the 14ers! Ski/Ride Trip Reports
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Early Season Skiing

Postby amill46 » Sun Nov 28, 2010 5:48 pm

I realize it is still very early in the backcountry season which means spotty coverage and istability. I was wondering though if any one had and recommendations on good places to ski right now with low angles that typically have pretty good coverage (I know this varies year to year depending where the storms hit from). Anyway just looking to get out there this a couple times in the next few weeks and any suggestioins would be much appreciated! Thanks in advance.

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Re: Early Season Skiing

Postby GerryRigged » Sun Nov 28, 2010 8:42 pm

Read the St Marys snow conditions thread.

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Re: Early Season Skiing

Postby weissea » Mon Nov 29, 2010 6:27 pm

Hit up Berthoud Pass. Good coverage on the old low angle ski runs below tree line that you can see from the parking lot. They are safe(r) and fun. Plus easy access and a quick hike/skin. Went today and there was a bunch of fresh snow on top of a crust from the weekend on top of a pretty good, consistent snowpack. And its still snowing.

I haven't taken my Avy 1, but I did dig a pit (NW facing below treeline @ ~25 deg angle) and found just the one crusty layer under the new snow and below it was a nice solid pack without any noticeable layering. There was also no noticeable surface hoar. This was very different from the 2-3'' of surface hoar in a pit my friend dug on Vail Pass last week. I skied some steep stuff near Hell's Half Acre and my new-snow slough was sliding pretty loosely over the crust layer. Kinda scary but I don't think there was much likelihood of a slide going all the way to the ground.
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Re: Early Season Skiing

Postby markyv » Sun Dec 05, 2010 7:13 pm

FWIW a compression test right at tree line on the NW slopes of east brainard last week took 21 hits before some cracking and 27 hits before failure.

Re: Early Season Skiing

Postby Bean » Sun Dec 05, 2010 7:16 pm

Anyone have any more details than the news is reporting on the Dry Gulch slide?
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Re: Early Season Skiing

Postby Jim Davies » Sun Dec 05, 2010 9:27 pm

CAIC has a preliminary report up. Very terse.
http://avalanche.state.co.us/acc/acc_report.php?acc_id=220&accfm=off
Preliminary Information: Two skiers were involved in an avalanche on Mt. Trelease. One was caught and killed in the slide. Early reports indicate the victim took a long ride through timber. CAIC staff will visit the site on Dec 6 and post more information as soon as possible.
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Re: Early Season Skiing

Postby coloradokevin » Thu Dec 09, 2010 4:41 am

Rather than starting a new thread, I thought I'd revive this one.

Anyone know how (any) of the Front Range areas are looking for some ski touring right now?

Berthoud?

James Peak Wilderness from the Moffat Tunnel side?

Mt Evans area?

Indian Peaks?

Glacier Gorge/Bear Lake areas of RMNP?

Anywhere else?


I'm thinking of heading up in the next day or so, as I need to test out my new AT boots. But, I don't want to be boot-packing for three miles to find snow.

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Re: Early Season Skiing

Postby COBuckeye » Thu Dec 09, 2010 8:40 am

coloradokevin,
I have been skiing at Berthoud for the past 5 weeks and the snow is great (with a bunch more forcasted for Friday night). There are plenty of low angle turns to be had if you want to stay ultra safe, as well as a lot of more challenging stuff. I don't believe you will be disappointed with Berthoud (unless you are trying to avoid crowds).

As for James Peak, three weeks ago there was nearly continuous snow from the summit to the car (with a few hundred yards of bootpacking along the flat tundra above the glacier), but I would not say this snow was great by any means (very hard wind hammered). This may have changed over the past three weeks.

Basically, if you are looking for a great tour, go James Peak, if you are looking for a great ski, go Berthoud.

Hope this helps.
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Re: Early Season Skiing

Postby tylermacguire » Thu Dec 09, 2010 4:52 pm

Bean wrote:Anyone have any more details than the news is reporting on the Dry Gulch slide?


Some details and pictures here:

http://www.powdermag.com/features/on...-deadly-slide/


My thoughts are with all of those who were affected by this. Be safe out there!

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Re: Early Season Skiing

Postby coloradokevin » Fri Dec 10, 2010 12:19 am

COBuckeye wrote:coloradokevin,
I have been skiing at Berthoud for the past 5 weeks and the snow is great (with a bunch more forcasted for Friday night). There are plenty of low angle turns to be had if you want to stay ultra safe, as well as a lot of more challenging stuff. I don't believe you will be disappointed with Berthoud (unless you are trying to avoid crowds).

As for James Peak, three weeks ago there was nearly continuous snow from the summit to the car (with a few hundred yards of bootpacking along the flat tundra above the glacier), but I would not say this snow was great by any means (very hard wind hammered). This may have changed over the past three weeks.

Basically, if you are looking for a great tour, go James Peak, if you are looking for a great ski, go Berthoud.

Hope this helps.


Thanks for that info, it did help! I went to Berthoud today, and had some nice skiing up there. I was originally planning to head up Second Creek, but ended up just playing around in the area near the pass. It looked like there was pretty good coverage in most places, though there was still some windswept areas high on Colorado Mines Peak. Nevertheless, the snowpack was very skiable lower on the mountain.

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