Skiing a Peak: What it takes

Info, conditions and gear related to skiing or riding Colorado Peaks, including the 14ers!
Forum rules
Please do not use this forum to advertise, sell photos or other products or promote a commercial website. For more details, please see the Terms of Use you agreed to when joining the forum.
Post Reply
User avatar
bergsteigen
Posts: 2359
Joined: 6/14/2008
14ers: 58 52 18
13ers: 519 100 18
Trip Reports (233)
Contact:

Skiing a Peak: What it takes

Post by bergsteigen » Wed Apr 14, 2021 12:09 pm

It has come to my attention that the younger generation is unaware of what it takes to ski a peak, thinking that you can leave skis hundreds of feet below a summit (not even brining skis to summit) and then count it. So let’s go back to the beginning with the originator of this gloriously hard, but so gratifying sport!

14er Ski Ethics (Rules) by Lou Dawson:
For his project (and for subsequent projects) Dawson defines a ski descent of a fourteener as skiing "the best (most often the longest) continuous descent available on an average snow year, almost always from the exact summit, with the exception being the few fourteeners (such as Wetterhorn and El Diente) that have rocky summit blocks or boulder caps that were never known to be in skiable condition prior to the project. "
"Since you're skiing natural snow, some descents might have gaps where you remove your skis and move a few feet across rock or tundra. Again, if you're up there on an average snow year with decent coverage, such maneuvers are legit so long as they are not excessive. But, and this is the big BUT, if I'm on a peak with bad coverage because it's too early in the year or a drought, and I have to connect snow patches that would otherwise touch each other, then I don't count it as a descent of the peak. Instead, I go back again and again 'till I get it right. To me this is a critical part of my standards, because doing otherwise would allow me a sort of 'post modern' style of ski mountaineering wherein I could claim a descent of a peak even if I skied a few hundred feet of snow on the thing in the middle of summer. I don't think people would buy that, and it just wouldn't feel good."
A lot of what makes this project so difficult, is waiting for conditions to be good. There have been drought years where very few ski descents were even possible, because there was no snow off the summit. Finishers have had to wait multiple years to get Crestone Needle in skiable conditions!!! This is all part of the game. Patience is a virtue. It is not enough that you could ski the peak IF it was covered in snow, you have to wait!!! Period. End of story. It isn’t skiing a patch of snow on a mountain. It’s “skiing a peak”.

So who makes the rules? Why, those who have finished the list in good form and have been recognized by their peers:

CF846676-1442-4A72-A48F-0A29156F2581.jpeg
CF846676-1442-4A72-A48F-0A29156F2581.jpeg (168.03 KiB) Viewed 730 times

Who are those who are working hard and following the rules:

47960A28-E97B-4091-98B1-FF9B38ACBA82.jpeg
47960A28-E97B-4091-98B1-FF9B38ACBA82.jpeg (178.77 KiB) Viewed 730 times


We all climb, hike and ski for our own reasons. If you do not wish to follow the community rules, by all means do your thing - but keep your list private, that way you don’t claim something that isn’t true. If you think the community doesn’t care, just search for Kedrowski’s attempt to ski all the 14ers in the fastest time, having not waited for a skiable line and also not summiting the peaks in questions. We were not amused!
"Auto racing, bull fighting, and mountain climbing are the only real sports ... all others are games." - Ernest Hemingway (or was it Barnaby Conrad?)
Your knees only get so many bumps in life, don't waste them on moguls!
“No athlete is truly tested until they’ve stared an injury in the face and come out on the other side stronger than ever” -anonymous

http://otinasadventures.com @otina
User avatar
HikerGuy
Posts: 965
Joined: 5/25/2006
14ers: 58
13ers: 193 8
Trip Reports (6)

Re: Skiing a Peak: What it takes

Post by HikerGuy » Wed Apr 14, 2021 12:42 pm

I don't skimo, but I would agree with the above assessment. To claim to be a finisher, you would have to meet the standard set by those before you. For example, if one planned to claim being a ski finisher in the future, one should probably not put a little red skier icon next to a peak on their public list if they down climbed from the summit of a peak that has been historically skied from the summit.

However, does the ski icon on this site indicate a valid ski from the summit or is it also a way for someone to track which peaks they have skied, but maybe not necessarily in a qualifying manner to claim completion? I've always assumed the former, but not sure if that is stated anywhere. I also think I know what you are referencing and it does appear incongruent to me.
User avatar
lodgling
Posts: 492
Joined: 6/21/2005
14ers: 58 57 2
13ers: 18 1
Trip Reports (11)

Re: Skiing a Peak: What it takes

Post by lodgling » Wed Apr 14, 2021 12:47 pm

Not sure what led to this but some of us take this skiing stuff pretty seriously :lol:

Personally, I think people should feel free to use the checklists on here however they see fit, but for anyone has hopes of making any claims about being a "ski finisher," Otina's post is important.

Also keep in mind that the ethics for particular peaks evolve over time (or finishers attempt to evolve them over time). For instance, Lou's quote below refers to El Diente as one of the ones that isn't thought of as skiable from the summit. That is definitely no longer a commonly-held belief, for example:
(insert shameless plugs for El Diente edit :-D



and shameless plug for Wilson Group TR :-D)

Also, the ski list is now generally accepted to include the 58 named 14ers, but that was not always the case.
User avatar
bergsteigen
Posts: 2359
Joined: 6/14/2008
14ers: 58 52 18
13ers: 519 100 18
Trip Reports (233)
Contact:

Re: Skiing a Peak: What it takes

Post by bergsteigen » Wed Apr 14, 2021 12:56 pm

Rob, I figured it was time for a refresh of the rules as I had a discussion about this on a recent ski TR, where the peak wasn’t even close to being “in”.

I go by the list of 54 ranked peaks, even though I have done some unranked peaks. Otherwise we’ll be just like the winter list adding on North Massive.
"Auto racing, bull fighting, and mountain climbing are the only real sports ... all others are games." - Ernest Hemingway (or was it Barnaby Conrad?)
Your knees only get so many bumps in life, don't waste them on moguls!
“No athlete is truly tested until they’ve stared an injury in the face and come out on the other side stronger than ever” -anonymous

http://otinasadventures.com @otina
oldmanforest
Posts: 35
Joined: 3/12/2020
14ers: List not added
13ers: 9

Re: Skiing a Peak: What it takes

Post by oldmanforest » Wed Apr 14, 2021 1:04 pm

Gatekeeper-steigen, until these people make some kind of claim of being a finisher, I wouldn't let other people's checklists on a public website make you feel like you need to lecture them about what they're allowed to check as skied or climbed or anything else. I think we'll all just continue to mark whatever f***ing peaks off our lists that we want to, if that's okay with you. Or not.

A 14ers.com checklist is not some kind of official finisher list writ in stone. There are no "rules" that dictate what peaks others are allowed to mark off their personal lists or whether to keep them public or private. "But I DID ski 58 peaks and they DIDNT but they marked that they DID and that's not FAIR!" Guess what, you're about the only person on the planet who gives a f**k.

The absolute pettiness and hilarity of someone looking at that list and caring enough to pre-emptively encourage random users not to claim finisher status, to self-importantly remind them of "THE RULES", and to suggest that maybe they should keep their dinky little lists private while the real bergsteigens keep theirs public, as if yours are somehow more valid or important in any way, is just fantastic.
User avatar
gb
Posts: 911
Joined: 12/12/2006
14ers: 56 54 6
13ers: 67 61
Trip Reports (26)

Re: Skiing a Peak: What it takes

Post by gb » Wed Apr 14, 2021 1:09 pm

bergsteigen wrote:
Wed Apr 14, 2021 12:56 pm
Rob, I figured it was time for a refresh of the rules as I had a discussion about this on a recent ski TR, where the peak wasn’t even close to being “in”.

I go by the list of 54 ranked peaks, even though I have done some unranked peaks. Otherwise we’ll be just like the winter list adding on North Massive.
Yeah, it's still 54. Maybe someday I'll climb and ski Kit Carson's subpeak, whatever it's called :lol:
User avatar
bergsteigen
Posts: 2359
Joined: 6/14/2008
14ers: 58 52 18
13ers: 519 100 18
Trip Reports (233)
Contact:

Re: Skiing a Peak: What it takes

Post by bergsteigen » Wed Apr 14, 2021 1:10 pm

oldmanforest wrote:
Wed Apr 14, 2021 1:04 pm
Blah blah blah chaos
Dude. These people can still do whatever they wish with their lists. Just letting them know that they will be called out (or at minimum asked) if they didn’t do something they claimed to do. It’s called integrity. I know the younger gen doesn’t seem to get it.
"Auto racing, bull fighting, and mountain climbing are the only real sports ... all others are games." - Ernest Hemingway (or was it Barnaby Conrad?)
Your knees only get so many bumps in life, don't waste them on moguls!
“No athlete is truly tested until they’ve stared an injury in the face and come out on the other side stronger than ever” -anonymous

http://otinasadventures.com @otina
User avatar
lodgling
Posts: 492
Joined: 6/21/2005
14ers: 58 57 2
13ers: 18 1
Trip Reports (11)

Re: Skiing a Peak: What it takes

Post by lodgling » Wed Apr 14, 2021 1:11 pm

Whoa, oldmanforest. I think I'll stay out of this one. But to those that have any dreams of being a "ski finisher," Otina is providing a valuable service. You don't want to go back an re-ski peaks (unless they're the good ones). This reminds me that I have an old draft TR that I should finish up.

As far as 54 or 58 I will certainly defer to gb (in my Challenger report I refer to it as a "almost mountain")(insert shameless plug for that TR too.)
Last edited by lodgling on Wed Apr 14, 2021 1:18 pm, edited 2 times in total.
User avatar
Carl_Healy
Posts: 118
Joined: 7/29/2020
14ers: 17 2
13ers: 8 1
Contact:

Re: Skiing a Peak: What it takes

Post by Carl_Healy » Wed Apr 14, 2021 1:16 pm

Water skiing Chasm Lake doesn't count for Longs?
If you can't run, you walk
If you can't walk, you crawl
If you can't crawl, you find someone to carry you
a forest
Posts: 81
Joined: 6/3/2005
14ers: 16 1 2
13ers: 3

Re: Skiing a Peak: What it takes

Post by a forest » Wed Apr 14, 2021 1:43 pm

Hell yeah Jarrett and Marc - http://14ersnowboardproject.homestead.com/
User avatar
aholle88
Posts: 224
Joined: 3/24/2015
14ers: 57 20 23
13ers: 177 17 4
Trip Reports (11)

Re: Skiing a Peak: What it takes

Post by aholle88 » Wed Apr 14, 2021 1:52 pm

I have Castle checked on my box, and I didn’t ski it from the summit. Oh dear no, are the checkbox police going to fine me?!

In all seriousness, who cares UNLESS said person is claiming to be a finisher, then is when it matters. I believe in the ethics 100% to be considered a true finisher. But I also believe people can consider what they want (within reason) when not staking any claim to fame or whatever. When I skied Castle, it wasn’t in from the summit, but I still skied from above the N couloir and the entire length of it back to below 12k. So for myself, because I have no intention of finishing, I skied Castle. If I decide to actually finish the list (unlikely because I’d rather seek out neat routes and/or good snow), I would go back and ski it from the summit. Heck, I want to anyways because the east face is a super cool route.

I decided that I didn’t want to finish long ago. I think it was an outing on Bross. I poled my way 100+ft off the summit, walked another 200ft on foot, and then rode the S gully. Thought to myself how dumb it is to do that just to count it as a summit ski. And decided I wouldn’t finish and would go by my own personal rules similar to Lou minus the summit part (must summit with skis, must ski the longest most continuous line available, must be at least near the summit as a starting point, **not miss any important features of the mountain or ski descent**). Example, I wouldn’t count skiing the bell cord as skiing Maroon because the upper face is a huge part of what makes that descent cool and unique. But if it’s just a few hundred feet of flat nonsense that you aren’t skiing, it doesn’t really matter IMO.

For the most part, on all the peaks I’ve skied, I have done from the summit just because I do believe in the ethics, but sometimes it’s just not worth it to care. For instance, on Hope. I topped out of the couloir and got hit with 50+mph winds, crawled to the summit with my board and all, crawled back to the top of the couloir, strapped in and rode some great snow down to 10.5k. Do I count that? Sure. I skied the entirety of the line of importance, from near the summit, and all the way down to 10.5k. If I want to consider myself a 13er skier finisher, would I go back and do it from the top, yes. But I’m still checking that box because I skied it by what I consider to be a real descent (again, poling across a couple hundred feet of flat nonsense is dumb, has nothing to do with ski ability or skiing the mountain, I just wanted to be out of the horrendous wind while transitioning).

But I guess I’m just a lousy fraud. Gosh darn it!
User avatar
bergsteigen
Posts: 2359
Joined: 6/14/2008
14ers: 58 52 18
13ers: 519 100 18
Trip Reports (233)
Contact:

Re: Skiing a Peak: What it takes

Post by bergsteigen » Wed Apr 14, 2021 1:56 pm

lodgling wrote:
Wed Apr 14, 2021 1:11 pm
Whoa, oldmanforest. I think I'll stay out of this one. But to those that have any dreams of being a "ski finisher," Otina is providing a valuable service. You don't want to go back an re-ski peaks (unless they're the good ones). This reminds me that I have an old draft TR that I should finish up.

As far as 54 or 58 I will certainly defer to gb (in my Challenger report I refer to it as a "almost mountain")(insert shameless plug for that TR too.)
I posted this for those people who may have flubbed or will fake a ski descent, thinking they won’t finish, and then they do. No one wants to go back and repeat a ski (I do because it’s fun), because it’s out of condition, but that’s the game. Ski it till you get it right.

gb - The Kirk Couloir on that sub peak is actually a worthy steep ski!

I’m not going to let a whiny hikeneer dictate skier ethics, that’s for the ski community to decide. But the winter/frozen 14er peeps can chime in with how they expect their rules to be followed - cause they do!
"Auto racing, bull fighting, and mountain climbing are the only real sports ... all others are games." - Ernest Hemingway (or was it Barnaby Conrad?)
Your knees only get so many bumps in life, don't waste them on moguls!
“No athlete is truly tested until they’ve stared an injury in the face and come out on the other side stronger than ever” -anonymous

http://otinasadventures.com @otina
Post Reply