It’s been a busy week. Most of our Denali crew got out last weekend to do some gear testing and winter camping practice with all of the new toys we have seen rolling in lately. Most of us skied some laps at Ajax (Aspen Mountain) on Sunday as well. But I can tell you what I’ve really been looking forward to was guide training for Aspen Alpine Guides this week.
Ron Rash led the troops up to Benedict huts on Monday morning, followed by a Crossfit workout at Roaring Fork Crossfit that night. Tuesday we had planned to go into the sugar bowls to do some exploring, but opted for powder laps on the untracked, unopened Buttermilk ski area. The plan for Wednesday was to go for a long tour to the Friends hut and back, but with the new snow totals measuring in feet this week, we called that off due to avy danger. Instead, Caleb Wray (from the Denali crew), Ashley Carruth (who I will be doing the Grand Traverse with) and I headed to Marble for some exploration and training.
We left Carbondale with temperatures around -13 F at 8 am, and arrived in Marble with them still in the negative at -3 F. That didn’t matter anymore though, we had 2-3 feet of new snow to play with. The avalanche forecast was at considerable so low angle trees were the only thing on our plate for today. The old rotten snow from a month or so ago is very faceted, making the entire snowpack unstable. Shooting cracks, woompfs, and shifts were the norm for the leader. Good thing we were hanging out on the low angle stuff.
The 2 feet of snow at the car transformed to 3 ft deep 600 ft above the car! Faceshots were as plentiful as smiles despite the fact that the temperature never got out of the negative today. The skiing was the best of the season so far, and I am sure there is plenty more to come! Cheers!
(Guest Blogger Jordan White finished skiing all 54 Colorado fourteeners in spring of 2009. He’s a committed alpinist and ski mountaineer who always keeps his eyes on the Seven Summits. Jordan blogs here.)