Sneffels Ski

Colorado,Yankee Boy, Gilpin Peak,San Juan Mountains,Sneffels Range

What better way to cap off a memorable winter season in the San Juans than a spring descent of Mt. Sneffels, the monarch of the Sneffels Range.

Skinning up Yankee Boy Basin

My partner for the day was Karl, our new friend from Germany who we randomly met and skied with the previous day. We left the truck at sunrise in order to get up and down the mountain before the hot May sun nuked the snow.

Colorado,Mt. Sneffels,San Juan Mountains,Sneffels Range, Lavendar Col
Climbing up the Lavendar Col on Mt. Sneffels – May.
Colorado,Mt. Sneffels,San Juan Mountains,Sneffels Range
Hiking to the summit of Mt. Sneffels (14,150 ft.) – May.

What a glorious day to be up high in the San Juans! There’s no denying by now that Mt. Sneffels has to be one of my favorite peaks in the world.

Colorado,Mt. Sneffels,San Juan Mountains,Sneffels Range, skiing
Karl Trellinger skis down Mt. Sneffels.

And there’s no better way to enjoy a favorite peak than to ski/snowboard down it!

Colorado,Mt. Sneffels,San Juan Mountains,Sneffels Range, skiing
Skier: Karl Trellinger.

Still Going

Hiking by Teakettle Mountain

At the end of May we’re still enjoying great snow up here in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado! Here’s a few shots from the weekend.

snowboarding,Colorado,San Juan Mountains,Sneffels Range
Rider: Mikel Goicoechea.

Mikel made the journey down from Boulder and as usual he brought his good snow karma with him. We repeated a big route in the Sneffels Range that Charlie and I rode a few weeks back.

May powder

Showers on Saturday night dropped about 7 inches of snow in the high country. Sure, we’ll take some powder turns in late May, why not?

snowboarding, Colorado,Mt. Sneffels,San Juan Mountains,Sneffels Range

Snowboarder: Mikel Goicoechea.  Mt. Sneffels in the background.  May.

skiing, Colorado,San Juan Mountains,Sneffels Range
Skier: Claudia Brauer.

Sliding Around in the Tetons

Wyoming, Tetons, sunset

This last week I was up in Jackson Hole, Wyoming hunting spring snow in the mighty Teton range. Though the weather was a bit more unsettled than we could have hoped for, we still managed to slay two really nice long lines. Here’s a few shots from the trip.

Static Peak,Tetons,Wyoming, skiing
Buck Mountain (11,938 ft.) dominates the scene atop Static Peak.
Static Peak,Tetons,Wyoming, skiing
Skier: Jake Evans.

4+ inches of fresh powder coated this entire cruisey 4,000 vertical foot descent. Spring skiing at its best!

Tetons,The Jaw,Wyoming, skiing
Skinning up towards The Jaw.

With long, tedious approaches and massive vertical rise, spring ski touring in the Tetons is a demanding endeavor.

Grand Teton,Tetons,The Jaw,Wyoming

The Grand Teton (13,770 ft.) as seen from the summit of The Jaw (11,400 ft.).

Tetons,The Jaw,Wyoming, skiing
Skiing down and dodging wet slides on the steep open face of The Jaw.
Tetons,The Jaw,Wyoming, skiing
Skier: Jake Evans.
Wyoming, Yellowstone, Huckleberry Hot Springs
Prints Available

Our last day in Jackson Hole was spent checking out the impressive National Museum of Wildlife Art, followed by soaking our tired legs in some wild hot springs up towards Yellowstone. What a nice way to end the trip!

(Back in May 2009 I spent a week riding a bunch of big lines in the Tetons; see those photos here).

Day 7

Cirque Mountain,Colorado,San Juan Mountains,Sneffels Range, skiing
Skinning up high in the Sneffels Range – April.

Today marks my (and also Charlie’s) seventh day out splitboarding in a row. This last week since the big dump has been one of the best continuous stretches of snowboarding that I can remember… and it’s not over yet!

Cirque Mountain,Colorado,San Juan Mountains,Sneffels Range, Teakettle, Potosi Peak, April

Arriving at the summit!

Today we climbed and rode down another big 13er in the neighborhood.

Cirque Mountain,Colorado,San Juan Mountains,Sneffels Range, snowboarding
Charlie Bartosek riding amongst the giants.

P e r f e c t  snow conditions today – old powder in the transition to pure spring corn snow, soft and smooth for high speed carving.

Backcountry snowboarding in the San Juans, Colorado

Riding Gilpin

Colorado,Gilpin Peak,San Juan Mountains,Sneffels Range, skiing
Skinning towards our destination: Gilpin Peak (13,694 ft.), San Juan Mountains, Colorado.

During yesterday’s splitboard tour, I could see that the big north couloir of Gilpin Peak was in the best shape I’ve ever seen it, full of smooth snow without any chunder. This line has been on my wish list for years, and Charlie, Dan, and I decided to come back today to track it up.

Colorado,Gilpin Peak,San Juan Mountains,Sneffels Range

Colorado,Gilpin Peak,San Juan Mountains,Sneffels Range, snowboarding
Rider: Charlie Bartosek. Backdrop: Mt. Sneffels.
Colorado,Gilpin Peak,San Juan Mountains,Sneffels Range, skiing
Skier: Dan Chehayl. Backdrop: Teakettle and Potosi.
Colorado, San Juan Mountains, Sneffels Range, skiing
Skier: Claudia Brauer.

San Juan Surfing

Colorado,Red Mountain Pass,San Juan Mountains, snowboarding
Alex Hotze carves a wave in the San Juan Mountains, Colorado.

After the 16″ dump over the weekend, it has just kept on snowing here in the San Juans, for a total of 30″ of fresh snow by Wednesday! Of course I’ve been out every day shredding every inch of the powder. Spring powder fever has a similar intensity as early season powder fever, except that this time of year the stoke comes from knowing that it’s all going to melt soon.

Colorado,Red Mountain Pass,San Juan Mountains, snowboarding
Alex Hotze slaps a cornice in the San Juans – April.

We lapped this perfect, long heel-side snow wave several times; I almost felt like I was in Costa Rica.

Backcountry skiing in the San Juans, Colorado
Claudia’s digging the wave too!

Skinning in a blizzard

Is it April? Or February? I can’t tell the difference.

Backcountry snowboarding in the San Juans, Colorado

Carving Too Hard

This Week of Skiing in the San Juans

Backcountry skiing in the San Juans, Colorado

Here’s a few photos from three ski days this last week here in the San Juan Mountains, Colorado.

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

The spring skiing has been great lately, with smooth corn snow and some of the higher pass roads getting plowed out enabling easy access into the high country.

Backcountry skiing in the San Juans, Colorado

Matt and I climbed and skied/snowboarded a huge face that I’ve been eyeing for years.

Backcountry skiing in the San Juans, Colorado
Skier: Matt Wade
Backcountry skiing in the San Juans, Colorado
Skier: Matt Wade

Backcountry skiing in the San Juans, Colorado

Then a potent storm rolled into the mountains this weekend, dumping over 16 inches of fluffy powder. Woohoo!

Backcountry skiing in the San Juans, Colorado
Skier: Dan Chehayl

Possibly the deepest snow of the year so far… It felt less like skiing and more like swimming through clouds. Too many face shots to even see where we were going!

Backcountry skiing in the San Juans, Colorado
Dan busts through a powder pillow.

This winter refresh should provide another week or two of excellent skiing and splitboarding… if my legs can keep up!

Friday Corn

Colorado,Red Mountain Pass,San Juan Mountains,skiing
Skier: Claudia Brauer.

On Friday, Claudia and I got back out into the mountains to enjoy some more turns. Monday’s foot of fresh snow had baked down to about 3-4 inches of old powder corn snow (For those who don’t backcountry ski, “corn” snow is snow that goes through multiple melt/freeze cycles, resulting in a firm but smooth snow surface that softens up nicely by around noon on a sunny spring day. In my opinion, it’s the next best thing to fresh powder!)

Colorado,Red Mountain Pass,San Juan Mountains,skiing
Skier: Claudia Brauer.

I took Claudia up to one of the taller peaks around. It was Claudia’s first time skiing corn snow, and she rocked it!

Backcountry spring skiing in the San Juans, Colorado

We skied/snowboarded from the summit down a beautiful long untracked line, then skinned back up to the high ridge and scored a nice long bonus descent down the front side. What a day!