[+] Another sunny blue-sky day in Colorado. We got out for an early run this morning, and tried out a new line (for me at least). Great line, but the snow is getting a bit hammered by now (by the sun and other skiers). It’s been a strange last few weeks weatherwise… one good storm, lots of sun, and it has felt more like spring than summer. Where did winter go? Come back, winter!
[+] Skier: Paul Mcelrea.
[+] Rider: me. Photo by Jonathan Esper.
In my last post I was worried about the rain in Ouray. No matter. Up higher the mountains got smothered with snow, and today fellow photographer Jonathan Esper and I took our splitboards out to harvest some of the powder. After several weeks of clear warm weather, it felt great to ride ~20″ of fresh fluff.
Today it’s been raining in Ouray. I know crazy weather is common in Colorado, but RAIN IN JANUARY? That’s just wrong. The good news is that the latest avy observers are reporting that it is snowing up high, and the wet snow is bonding well to the old surface. I hope it gets colder soon.
I had a great weekend with some friends at their backcountry cabin in the San Juan Mountains south of Telluride. The cabin’s a real gem, situated in a rugged San Juan setting surrounded by prime ski terrain. Cecily’s parents are avid skiiers and they built this cabin back in the 70’s when it was somewhat reasonable to do such a thing. Nowadays we can only dream of building a little cabin in the high country like this… there’s just no more places to do it, and too many regulations (though this is probably a good thing). But I digress…
It’s about five miles along a snowed-in road to the cabin, and we loaded up some sleds with all our gear and beverages to pull behind us on our way up. We left after dark on Friday, so it was a big surprise to wake up on Saturday to the magnificent vistas all around. We had incredibly warm and sunny weather the whole time, and the snow has become so stable that for the next few days we skiied/rode borderline springtime lines… a nice treat in January, though I do hope it snows again soon.
I’ve posted my best photos from the trip on my gallery site, but here are some more of the hiking and riding photos.
[+] Today we splitboarded up the same mountain for the third day in a row, but this time we dropped off the backside, went up a neighboring peak further up the valley, and slammed the best line of the year so far – very steep, and very deep. Here’s Parker McAbery blasting into a steep chute.
At 6:00am this morning, I met up with 12 friends in Ouray to head out for a day of cat-skiing in the mountains near Purgatory. Packed in four vehicles, we headed up Red Mountain Pass in the darkness and dumping snow. Several miles up the pass from Ouray, my friends in the lead truck noticed a set of tire tracks disappearing off the road into oblivion. Anybody who has ever driven the pass knows how scary steep and treacherous this road is – in places carved through sheer cliff mountainsides. A closer look down into the canyon revealed the dim glow of headlights in the bottom about 400 feet below.