As it turns out, I’ve gotten pretty lazy about writing posts for many of these tours. I may go back and write some short posts, just don’t hold your breath waiting.
Colorado has an incredibly complex snowpack. that’s something I am still adjusting to, and have aired on the timid side while I learn more about getting out in the Colorado backcountry. What that means is there are TONS of incredible lines that I am itching to get out and ride, though for now most remain the exciting backdrop in the photos I post. This list will grow and it will get more exciting. Have patience.
Indian Peaks Wilderness
- Broken Pole Zone (1/24/15)
- A dense glade, a couple miles back along a cross country trail. Fun adventure for a day with high-avy danger
- East Portal
- This is essentally a whole area in itself. After an annoying approach in on a summer hiking trail, you hit a lake surrounded by some chill tree skiing. Above the trees are some alpine faces that beg to be skied all winter (and often are), though I’d recommend waiting till the snowpack stabilizes. Beyond the initial zone, you can crest a ridge and descended into the next bowl over. A bit more of an alpine feel, with some serious ski mountaineering objectives. Radio Beacon Peak stands out as an exciting zone with a handful of distinct lines that allow you to get as scared as you want.
- Honestly, I’ve never been. I hear it’s super low angle and makes for a nice dawn patrol zone.
Rocky Mountain National Park
- Suntop Mountain (June ’14)
- Bear Lake TH – Dream Chutes, Powder Pocket, Home Run, and Terrain Park (1/25/15)
- Dragon Tail Couloir
- Possibly the most iconic line in the park. Drops right down into Bear Lake, so you’ll have a huge crowd watching you come down. Worth doing once, then I’d suggest one of the many other equally aesthetic lines that is way less crowded.
- Banana Bowls
- So. Much. Fun. Low enough angle to stay safe in the heart of winter, but with enough of an alpine feel to keep it enjoyably. I’ll go out here any day of the week and have a good time.
- Notchtop Peak and the couloirs
- Fun objective – took a couple of tries to actually get conditions that were safe to ski, but it is a full-value line that sees far less traffic than the always popular Dragon Tail.
- Ptarmigain Galcier and Fingers
- At first I saw this as a consolation to Notchtop, but now think it holds it’s own merit. These lines are fun. Big open faces that are begging for you to make some GS turns down.
- Butler Gulch (Dec ’14)
- Mt Trelease (Nov ’14)
- Butler Gulch (March ’14)
- Watrous Gulch (The Secret Stash)
- Second Creek
- Moonlight Bowl
- Floral Park
- This is quite possibly the most documented backcountry zone I know of, so I’m not going to spend a ton of time talking about all of it here. Go explore and have fun!
- Loveland Pass
- No Name Drainage (Trees of Many Names) (Jan ’15)
- Vail Pass
- A bit of a drive from the front range, but totally worth it. There’s an endless amount of terrain out there and the approach is totally manageable (though your snowboarding friends might hate you a bit.
- Mayflower Hill (Jan ’15)
- Humbug Drainage (Half Dome?) (Jan’15)
Do yourself a favor an make this trip happen. Quite possibly the most amazing winter in the mountains I’ve ever had.