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Skiing Mt. Bierstadt

Info, conditions and gear related to skiing or riding Colorado Peaks, including the 14ers! Ski/Ride Trip Reports
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Re: New Ski/Ride sub-forum

Postby dhill2023 » Mon Dec 06, 2010 11:47 am

hey my friend and i are wanting to try skiing our first 14er this year. i was thinking of doing biersadt as our first ever one, weve climbed it during the summer so we know the mountain and the area and i was just wondering if i could get some advice from someone who has done it. i was thinking of doing the west slope hopefully soon, is december/january to early in the season? we dont have sleds so i was thinking that we could drive guenella pass until we the snow stops us and from there walk/cross country ski. im not sure how long of a way it would be, do you think that would be unreasonable???? and would you say this would be a good first mountain to try our luck at? if you could get back to me on this it would be much appreciated and if you have any other advice or words of wisdom for my friend and i. you can email me at dhill2023@gmail.com
thank you
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Skiing Mt. Bierstadt

Postby USAKeller » Mon Dec 06, 2010 1:04 pm

Hi,
You replied under a topic that Bill posted to announce that he added a "Ski/Ride the CO Peaks" sub-forum to the forum. I have created a new topic for your post and titled it "Skiing Mt. Bierstadt" that hopefully will generate more responses for you. I hope that makes sense! Thanks, USAKeller
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Re: Skiing Mt. Bierstadt

Postby dhill2023 » Mon Dec 06, 2010 1:13 pm

awesome thank you very much!
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Re: Skiing Mt. Bierstadt

Postby rijaca » Mon Dec 06, 2010 1:16 pm

Not enough snow yet....
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Re: Skiing Mt. Bierstadt

Postby USAKeller » Mon Dec 06, 2010 1:33 pm

Now for my two cents about your questions...

I have skied the West Slopes on Bierstadt, and while it's a good first 14er ski descent, it usually doesn't hold much snow and tends to be pretty wind-scoured. Bill M. and I skied it in May and even then it was a rocky thin ski. I'd be quite surprised if you are able to ski it this month or next - 14er ski season usually gets going in April. Guanella Pass is closed and you have to access Bierstadt from the Grant/285 side. The winter road closure is no more than 2 miles (I think?) down the road, but skiing Bierstadt in a day is definitely reasonable.

That said, (you'll probably hear this from others as well), before you head out, you need make sure you and your partner are avalanche-knowledgeable (experience with studying terrain, knowing how to use avy beacons, shovels, and probes, etc.), and that you are comfortable skiing [almost] everything at a resort. Backcountry vs. resort skiing is a completely different ball game. Maybe you already have this knowledge (nothing was mentioned). Oh, and I do think Quandary makes a better first ski descent (easy winter access, relatively low avy danger, short mileage). These are just my opinions and hopefully other members will respond also. Hope that helps!
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Re: Skiing Mt. Bierstadt

Postby dhill2023 » Mon Dec 06, 2010 1:41 pm

would you happen to have any good links for where i could get into an av safety course?
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Re: Skiing Mt. Bierstadt

Postby bergsteigen » Mon Dec 06, 2010 1:41 pm

I skied Bierstadt last winter for my first 14er descent. It was made challenging by the lack of 'nicely continuous' snow (Check out my TR for more details). It may be best to wait for a nice spring snow.

Since I can't link the search of the TR's, here is a list of all the Bierstadt ski TR's:

otherbrotherdarryl 05/30/2010
bergsteigen 02/27/2010
JakeK 05/16/2009
benners 05/08/2009
RoanMtnMan 03/29/2008
doumall 12/24/2006

As you can see by the dates skied, mostly later in the season!
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Re: Skiing Mt. Bierstadt

Postby skiwall » Mon Dec 06, 2010 1:48 pm

The CAIC is a good resource for finding classes:

http://avalanche.state.co.us/pub/edu.php
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Re: Skiing Mt. Bierstadt

Postby benners » Mon Dec 06, 2010 1:49 pm

I'll echo the previous posts, the best time to ski Bierstadt is in April or May when we get enough wet spring snow to fill in the West Face, otherwise for most of the winter the upper 1000' of Bierstadt will typically be windblown. If you go during December/January I wouldn't be expecting to ski off the summit or really much above treeline for that matter, but then again you may get lucky. This is all assuming you even care about skiing the entire mountain, otherwise I'd say head up there whenever you want and ski what you can. You will at the very least be able to ski from treeline back down the road for just about the entire winter. Good luck!
Last edited by benners on Mon Dec 06, 2010 1:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Skiing Mt. Bierstadt

Postby dhill2023 » Mon Dec 06, 2010 1:53 pm

any advice from anyone on doing quandary peak??? enough snow this time of year???? any other advice???
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Re: Skiing Mt. Bierstadt

Postby benners » Mon Dec 06, 2010 1:57 pm

dhill2023 wrote:any advice from anyone on doing quandary peak??? enough snow this time of year???? any other advice???


I skied the East Face of Quandary on December 28th of last winter and in early January of 07' and found it to have good coverage on both trips. From a few recent photos I've seen of the East Face it's looking like it's shaping up to be in similar condition this year. At least I can say you have a much better chance of skiing Quandary continuously in December/January than you do Bierstadt :D.

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Re: Skiing Mt. Bierstadt

Postby dhill2023 » Mon Dec 06, 2010 2:02 pm

awesome!!! excited to hear that!!! an adventure up to the mountains is long overdue for my friend and i lol im thinking from what im hearing that it would be a better first time one to do rather than bierstadt, how technical would you say the skiing on it is? very steep? lots of cliffs? etc etc.... that way i have an idea of what we'll be going up against
good, better, best. never let it rest until your good is better and your better is best

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