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Uphill Access/Skinning Inbounds Locations

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Uphill Access/Skinning Inbounds Locations

Postby Snowgirl » Wed Feb 16, 2011 7:37 pm

Hello all,
I'm looking to train for some upcoming mountaineering/telemark races (and spring 14er descents!!!) and besides the requisite weekend backcountry time, I was looking for a location close to the front range that I could hit up after work (from Boulder/Denver, mostly Boulder)
Some research I already did:
A-Basin + Loveland both allow uphill after-hours skiing. Winter Park, at certain times. All three of these are a little far.
Eldora, absolutely not.
I would like a location where there would be a: enough snow for a decently long skin, b: a fairly open trail for the descent (because it will probably be done in a headlamp) and c: within an hour of Boulder/Denver.
I tried to call Echo, no luck so far. Are there any backcountry areas that people train on or feel meet these requirements?

At the moment, it looks like Jones Pass? may be the best option. Thanks in advance for the suggestions!
Such things for example as the grasp of a child's hand in your own, the flavor of an apple, the embrace of a friend or lover...sunlight on rock and leaves, the feel of music, the bark of a tree, the abrasion of granite and sand, the plunge of clear water into a pool, the face of the wind--- what else is there? What else do we need?
--Edward Abbey

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Re: Uphill Access/Skinning Inbounds Locations

Postby ajkagy » Wed Feb 16, 2011 7:49 pm

places near boulder just to name a few, None of which require touching I-70. Many of them offer a great after work tour when dark and a short drive.

brainard lakes area
jenny creek trail
lost lake trail (near eldora)
4th of july trail
east portal trailhead
mammoth gulch road
st. vrain creek road
sourdough trailhead (access north to brainard lakes area or niwot ridge)
allens park ski road

Also, RMNP has endless amounts of skinning options that don't require you to drive to I-70
http://www.resortbeta.com - An interactive ski/snowboard experience for all your favorite ski resorts.

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Re: Uphill Access/Skinning Inbounds Locations

Postby coloradokevin » Thu Feb 17, 2011 5:23 am

I don't know what kind of terrain you are looking for, but here are a few ideas that might suit your workout needs (none of them are very technical ski runs, but they can still get the legs pumping):

The Steven's Gulch Road isn't a bad place to get a quick workout close to town, and I head up there quite a bit this time of year. At least from where I'm at in Arvada, it's less than a 45 minute drive and the TH is right at I-70 this time of year. You can gain about 1,500 vertical feet just getting to the summer trailhead, or continue to climb towards Grays/Torreys from there.

I try to pick areas with minimal avalanche danger when I'm skiing alone (as I often do on weekdays). In my opinion the avalanche danger isn't too big of a concern on the Steven's Gulch road to the summer trailhead for Grays/Torreys, though the avy terrain on the side of Kelso Mountain does directly impact the standard summer climb route if you're heading for a summit.

I should also mention that there are two large slide paths that intersect the road between I-70 and the summer trailhead. But, I think it would take a full-path slide for either of these chutes to impact the road. Plus, you're only exposed for a very short distance as you cross the end of the run-out zone on each of these two paths.

I also ski a lot up in the James Peak Wilderness from the Moffat Tunnel TH. The trail that leads to Heart Lake makes for a nice ski workout, with minimal slide hazard for most of the route. From my place it's about a 35 mile drive to that TH. I imagine the distance would be similar from Boulder.

Although Loveland Ski Area does have a policy that permits uphill skiing, I don't know that they often allow this practice during the hours when the resort is open. Last season I called them and was told that the resort was open for uphill skiing, and that I would be permitted to do so during normal operational hours. When I got started a ski patrol guy quickly (and politely) informed me that they were not allowing uphill skiing during most of that season (oh well, I had a pass anyway, so the drive wasn't a total loss). Though I haven't tried it yet, I hear that A-basin is much more relaxed about their uphill skiing policy.

Since you mentioned Echo Mtn, I should probably also mention the Chief Mountain Trail. This trail starts just above Echo Mountain, and makes for a short stiff climb of about 1,000 vertical feet. The summit provides a great view of Mount Evans, and the skiing is good if the snow hasn't been blown away above treeline. The disadvantage to this area in winter is that the trailhead is unmarked, and can be a bit hard to find if you don't know where it is located. On the other hand, if someone has skinned the route before you, you'll just need some basic directions to get there.

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Re: Uphill Access/Skinning Inbounds Locations

Postby Snowgirl » Thu Feb 17, 2011 11:37 am

Thanks for the excellent suggestions! Now the fun part, checking them out and reporting back! I appreciate the input.
Such things for example as the grasp of a child's hand in your own, the flavor of an apple, the embrace of a friend or lover...sunlight on rock and leaves, the feel of music, the bark of a tree, the abrasion of granite and sand, the plunge of clear water into a pool, the face of the wind--- what else is there? What else do we need?
--Edward Abbey

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Re: Uphill Access/Skinning Inbounds Locations

Postby MtnHigh » Thu Feb 17, 2011 1:08 pm

If you are looking for any uphill races to test your stamina, check out these fun events:

Vail Mountain Uphill this Saturday February 19th at 7:00am

http://www.imathlete.com/events/VailMountainWinterUphillRace?z=1297969491105

or America's Uphill in Aspen March 12 at 7am

http://www.imathlete.com/events/VailMountainWinterUphillRace?z=1297969491105

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