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!
Today we climbed and rode down another big 13er in the neighborhood.
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.
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.
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.
We lapped this perfect, long heel-side snow wave several times; I almost felt like I was in Costa Rica.
Is it April? Or February? I can’t tell the difference.
Here’s a few photos from three ski days this last week here in the San Juan Mountains, Colorado.
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.
Matt and I climbed and skied/snowboarded a huge face that I’ve been eyeing for years.
Then a potent storm rolled into the mountains this weekend, dumping over 16 inches of fluffy powder. Woohoo!
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!
This winter refresh should provide another week or two of excellent skiing and splitboarding… if my legs can keep up!
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!)
I took Claudia up to one of the taller peaks around. It was Claudia’s first time skiing corn snow, and she rocked it!
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!
As we drove home from our recent desert road trip, the rain we passed through in Utah had turned into snow when we reached the San Juans in Colorado. Despite my desire to rest after our big trip, I knew I couldn’t pass up a beautiful spring powder day!
A fresh foot of powder blanketed the San Juans on Monday. What a great welcome home to the mountains – just like last time we returned from the desert!
The snowpack was sturdy after the previous warm days melted the various snow layers, followed by cold nights that froze it solid again. The new snow came in wet, bonded well to the surface, and then became blower powder on top. Perfect conditions for riding some bigger, longer lines up in the high peaks!
We skied/snowboarded through this big gully I’ve had my eye on for years, followed by a second lap up high again.
Yesterday a brief storm hit the San Juans with several inches of snow along with howling winds. Today we ventured up high to see what kind of powder we could find amongst the wind-scoured terrain. Expecting the sunny warmth of March, we were greeted with chilly 16ºF temps and gusty breezes in the morning. Burrrr!
Of the three lines we skied on various aspects, the second was the one, with about four inches of fresh snow topping the perfectly smooth southern crust – kind of like riding powder on top of a groomer. Not quite the motherload of all powder lines, but a worthy find nonetheless.
Driving back home from our trip to the Canyonlands last Friday, we entered the world of winter again – the clouds and rain that passed over us in the canyons had blanketed the San Juans in a fresh dump of powder. My friend Dan called me that night to see if I wanted to go ride in the morning. I was fairly exhausted from our backpack trip and said no… then I thought “who am I kidding?!” of course I’ll go!
Although I had been a bit reluctant to leave the desert, I quickly forgot about all that once I was making powder turns and pillow drops!
Winter is not over yet…