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Trails for touring practice?

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Trails for touring practice?

Postby GregMiller » Thu Nov 29, 2012 1:02 am

So, two winters ago, after being practically lapped by skiers on Sherman, I decided I needed to get into this ski mountaineering thing. I gave last winter a pass, because money was tight, and, well, the snow wasn't that great. So, this year, I have the gear (boots, bindings, skis, skins, avy gear), but I need to start practicing with it before I start looking at mountains or even think about taking AIARE 1 (which I plan on doing in January-ish, but only after I am comfortable on my gear).

So, any zero-avalanche-danger trails that have snow that'd be good to get some miles in on? (even ones that should have snow later on, I know it's not been the best season so far)

Or, anyone willing to drag along an AT newb? I'm good on hard blues and easier (non-moguled) blacks inbounds.
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Re: Trails for touring practice?

Postby EatinHardtack » Thu Nov 29, 2012 1:19 am

You can always practice touring at Abasin, Breck, and probably other areas that I can't think of off the top of my head. Both have uphill access. Just read their rules before going. Safe and easy.

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Re: Trails for touring practice?

Postby GregMiller » Thu Nov 29, 2012 1:22 am

Yeah, I was actually planning on heading up to Winter Park, that's where I have a pass to, but I'll look into them too. Thanks!
Still Here
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Re: Trails for touring practice?

Postby USAKeller » Thu Nov 29, 2012 6:37 am

Butler Gulch near Jones Pass also has some great easy touring terrain.
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Re: Trails for touring practice?

Postby mtnfiend » Thu Nov 29, 2012 7:30 am

farcedude wrote:Yeah, I was actually planning on heading up to Winter Park, that's where I have a pass to, but I'll look into them too. Thanks!


WP isn't so friendly to uphill traffic, well at least on the Jane side. I've received a stern talking to by the patrol director for going up hill.

If you can walk, you can skin, so there's really no need to practice skinning for the sake of skinning (albeit there are a few things that improve efficiency). But if you must practice, the east side of berthoud pass is not avy terrain (but be mindful, the slopes dropping to the north and south are however), and would make for fine training ground.
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Re: Trails for touring practice?

Postby Cruiser » Thu Nov 29, 2012 8:49 am

2nd on Butler Gulch. That's a great spot to go and get your bc kit dialed in. Nice rolling climb with low to no danger below treeline. It's close enough to town to be able to just run up there for a couple of hours without having to burn a whole day.

FWIW, I disagree with mtnfiend about skinning technique. Go ask any of the rando racers if skinning technique matters. It does. Granted it's not tremendously complicated, but good skinning technique yields efficiencies that can potentially lead to more summits or more powder turns. There's no reason not to practice, particularly right now when there's no real bc skiing to be done.
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Re: Trails for touring practice?

Postby leggaj5 » Thu Nov 29, 2012 8:53 am

Thanks for starting this thread, farcedude. I'm in the exact same boat as you.

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Re: Trails for touring practice?

Postby shaunster_co » Thu Nov 29, 2012 8:55 am

I might suggest the old Hidden Valley ski resort in RMNP as well. I used that area to dial in modifications / adjustments on gear. You can still find the old Hidden Valley trail maps online when it functioned as a ski area which will give you an idea. Basically though, everything above Trail Ridge Road is black, and below is blue or green. It's a good area to do beacon practices and get your stuff dialed in.

Re: Trails for touring practice?

Postby lodgling » Thu Nov 29, 2012 9:13 am

WP isn't so friendly to uphill traffic, well at least on the Jane side. I've received a stern talking to by the patrol director for going up hill.


WP/MJ now has a written policy re: uphill traffic so you shouldn't get any flack.

http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=winter%20park%20uphill%20access&source=web&cd=8&ved=0CFkQFjAH&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.winterparkresort.com%2F~%2Fmedia%2F5b578130d58145ec94d02cb20643570f%2Fmountainaccess.pdf&ei=z3q3UImzFcf3qQGHmIDIDw&usg=AFQjCNFNTQs2bKOcQaOiw5kDeAYdF7yfQQ

I did some skinning there yesterday for some exercise. But until a little more terrain opens, I wouldn't do it on a Sat/Sun.

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Re: Trails for touring practice?

Postby SolarAlex » Thu Nov 29, 2012 9:23 am

hey farcedude, me and a buddy are going to skin at abasin tomorrow afternoon... you are welcome to join us. ill be taking my splitboard out for the first time, so it should be good for a laugh.

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Re: Trails for touring practice?

Postby powhound » Thu Nov 29, 2012 10:31 am

Another option while the coverage in the backcountry is still sketchy, is to go to a resort...at night. You'll need a good headlamp...and a bright moon helps. I use a Mammut X-zoom...throws a beam out 300 feet. (I think Mtn.Gear has them on sale now.) As far as I know, once the lifts shut down, the slopes are all yours, as long as you stay away from the active snowcats and snow guns. Early season may have some restrictions. May be worth a phone call first. I did this (Breck) for my first time on AT skis and it was a very cool experience having the slopes all to myself.

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Re: Trails for touring practice?

Postby GregMiller » Thu Nov 29, 2012 12:10 pm

SolarAlex wrote:hey farcedude, me and a buddy are going to skin at abasin tomorrow afternoon... you are welcome to join us. ill be taking my splitboard out for the first time, so it should be good for a laugh.


SolarAlex, I might take you up on that, if they're open for uphill - they say on their website that uphill access is closed today:
http://www.arapahoebasin.com/abasin/snow-conditions/runs.aspx#uphill-access

leggaj5 wrote:Thanks for starting this thread, farcedude. I'm in the exact same boat as you.


leggaj5 - Care to go check out Butler Gulch with a fellow newb sometime?
Still Here
been scared and battered. My hopes the wind done scattered. Snow has friz me, Sun has baked me,
Looks like between 'em they done Tried to make me
Stop laughin', stop lovin', stop livin'-- But I don't care! I'm still here!
Langston Hughes

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