Spring Snow in the Ruby Range

Colorado, Crested Butte, Ruby Range, Augusta Mountain, May

Southeast face of Augusta Mountain (12,559 ft.)

The ski area of Crested Butte oftentimes suffers from lower-than-expected snowfall amounts, but just 9 miles to the west/northwest the Ruby Range gets hammered with some of the highest snowfall totals in Colorado. All winter long I’ve gazed wistfully at the snow-smothered Ruby Range peaks, tantalizingly out of reach for those of us without snowmobiles. In late May now that much of the lower access roads have melted out, yesterday I finally had the chance to get out for a spring descent up in these mountains. Daniel and I hiked up and skied/rode down Mineral Point, the prominent pyramid-shaped peak visible up valley as you drive into the town of Crested Butte.

Colorado, Crested Butte, Ruby Range, Purple Mountain, May

The south face of Purple Mountain (12,958 ft.) in late May, begging to be skied.

Later in the afternoon back in town sipping beer in the sun, I gazed up the valley at the peak we just descended, pleased to finally be thinking “I just rode that!” instead of “I wish I could ride that!”

A Taste of Haines

My buddy Mikel is working on the official video, but in the meantime here’s a quick cut of some of my own GoPro helmet-cam footage from our recent heli snowboarding trip in Haines, Alaska. The title of this video could also be: Steeper Than It Looks. 😉

On many lines in Haines the terrain oftentimes rolls off over knolls and you can’t always see what lies ahead. Sometimes the guide would be below on the walkie-talkie guiding us to the correct spines to drop in on; but mostly you just take it as it comes, making split decisions along the way. So much fun!

Heli Bumps in Haines, Alaska

Alaska, Haines, Takhinsha Mountains, skiing

Unknown skier skis a spine in Haines, Alaska.

Alaska, Haines, helicopter, Takhinsha Mountains

Alaska, Haines, Takhinsha Mountains, skiing

Bernie from Austria skies a spine on ‘Hangover’.

Alaska, Haines, Takhinsha Mountains, snowboarding

Snowboarder: Bert Shultes.

Alaska, Haines, Takhinsha Mountains, snowboarding

Snowboarder: Bert Shultes.

The glaciated and snow smothered Takhinsha Mountains near Haines, Alaska are amongst the most impressive mountains on Earth in the eyes of a skiier or snowboarder. In March 2016 I joined three friends for a week-long trip to Haines to go heli snowboarding in this legendary big mountain riding mecca. With perfect powder and stable avalanche conditions, we scored 4 days of good weather and a total of 18 lines — each line between about 3,000 to 4,500 vertical feet. The trip was a lifelong dream for me, and a pinnacle in my 20+ years of snowboarding!

>> SEE LOTS MORE PHOTOS HERE! <<

Ouray Powder

Colorado,San Juan Mountains,skiing, aspens, powder, January, Don Moden

Skiing deep powder in an aspen forest – January.  Skier: Don Moden.

Colorado, and most of the west for that matter, has been getting pounded by a powerful winter storm these last few days. This last weekend we did a quick trip to Ouray to catch up with some friends and get out for some backcountry powder turns.

Backcountry skiing in the San Juans, Colorado
Skier: Claudia Brauer.
Backcountry skiing in the San Juans, Colorado
Skier: Don Moden.

Although we were both a bit sad to leave, after two great days of skiing we hightailed it through the blizzard back to Crested Butte, where two feet of powder blanketed the Butte by Monday!

One Fine June Day

On Wednesday Claudia and I went for a ski in the morning, and a wine hike in the evening!

Mt. Sneffels, Sneffels Range, San Juan Mountains, Colorado, Gilpin Peak, Potosi Peak, June, 14er, panorama

Looking at the south side of the Sneffels Range in early June.  Mt. Sneffels (14,156 ft.) is just about in the center; Gilpin Peak to its left looks bigger from this perspective but only because it’s closer. Potosi Peak is off to the right, and the town of Ouray way down the right side valley.

Ouray, San Juan Mountains, Colorado, panorama, June

Enjoying some wine from a nice vantage point over the town of Ouray (7,792 ft.), San Juan Mountains, Colorado – June.

Mayuary

Colorado,Red Mountain Pass,San Juan Mountains
Frosty Ironton : Prints Available

A frosty May 23rd morning that looks more like February or March!

Colorado,Red Mountain Pass,San Juan Mountains, skiing

Skier: Claudia Brauer.

During most of May, storms from the southwest have been lining up back to back pushing moisture into Colorado. Though it’s been raining quite a bit in the valleys, all that moisture has fallen as snow in the mountains, where it has often felt more like February than May in the mountains! We’ve been enjoying some great powder lines during the last few weeks; see more ski photos below! Continue reading “Mayuary”

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