Earlier this winter I said that a wormhole had brought Hokkaido to Colorado, for the last three days the wormhole briefly reopened. April has left us on a note of killer pow skiing.
The last day of April sounds like the time to corn harvest up high and head for 'big lines', but after a cold snap and a dash of winter in Lake County, I met up with some friends to lap it up on some favorite local tree runs. The last few days have been some of the best turns, most fun, and best vibes of the season.
Four days ago I parked at Officer’s Gulch and went exploring with my friend Justin. This place is down right spooky most of the winter, but in the spring there are some of the longest roadside runs in state right off an easy-to-get-to I-70 exit. We wandered up and up and up some more until we found ourselves on a ridge 3000 ft above the car. Wouldn’t ya know it, winter waiting for us right there.
For the past three days I have been in a patch of mountains at the intersection of the 10-mile-Mosquito, Sawatch, and Gore ranges. Often overlooked by those driving by and absent from any internet forum or guide book, this has become my favorite place to ski in Lake County (…I know, if anyone asks, there is no good skiing in Lake County…).
Two days ago my friend Rohan and I headed out in a break in this weekend’s storm for a couple hours of just perfect skiing. Rohan moves fast to say the least, but I was psyched to get in two long runs and traverse a through three drainages in about an hour and half car-to-car. It was fast, fun ski-touring.
Yesterday, I met three friends in the parking lot at 830. Ben was on his way to Moab and we convinced him it was worth stopping to get a late April pow day; Katie and Savannah were training/ mountain-ing before heading up to AK in a couple weeks. They drove up from Boulder and hadn’t seen the zone before. We spend the next six hours feeling a bit like we were getting away with some sort of robbery. A foot of light cold-smoke sat on top of a carvable spring base.
Today I met Katie and Savannah in the parking lot at 11. Sure, we got a late start (in part due to the dog poo i had to clean off my carpet...Ziggy is feeling much better now...), but the sun was out and we knew there was still good snow to be had. As soon as we got to about 11,500ft, the wind began to rip! With east-facing windslabs forming before our eyes, we ducked into a north facing line and found more of that awesomeness that has made this such a rad week. Two laps in, we started working back towards the car. Breakable slabs to south facing spring mush—spring had returned to its normal order, the wormhole gone again.
I am leaving Leadville for the Last Frontier in a month, and this might have been my last day of true winter touring in Lake County for some time. I am sure I will get in plenty of spring skiing, but the pure type-one-fun of pow laps just can’t be overstated. I am so lucky to have had such an awesome back door these past few years. I will miss it dearly. Thank you Leadville, and don’t worry, I know I’ll be back to check on things…
Today’s Apres Ski Suggestion:
1.5oz from that leftover red wine in fridge
1.5oz simple syrup
2 dashes bitters of choice
Slice of orange
What should we call it?