Backcountry skiing on Independence Pass, Colorado is better then we expected the severe drought winter to provide. A bit more walking on dirt than normal, but this in places that are only “access” trails anyway. Quite a few of the good skiing lines are in, only most are narrower and some not starting from normal high points. Some lines are not in. I’d predict it is not going to last much longer — a few more days unless we receive more cold weather and perhaps snowfall. Facet piles lurk everywhere so if temperatures warm be careful of your slope angles and sun exposures. Snowpack was quite supportive this weekend, not sure how much of that was “eggshell effect” from the cold night before. Perhaps we’ll find out over the next few days.
We BBQ’d as well. As expected, not a whole lot of people ski touring. Saturday, we hung out at the trailhead with about a dozen worthy souls who were rewarded with burgers.
Well, the skiing was good Saturday and so was the trailhead barbecue, so we headed back up there yesterday (Sunday) and did a repeat since we had plenty of burger patties, buns and cooker fuel left over from Saturday. Much to our surprise, more people showed up and we had quite a soiree.
What struck me about everyone, is what a wonderful, friendly and interesting bunch of people our Colorado backcountry skiing devotees are, and how appreciative of what we’ve got.
We do have it good around here in central Colorado. Not too crowded, zillions of acres of legal Wilderness where we are the privileged ones allowed to go there with our chosen mode of transport, and a wonderful springtime corn snow season nearly every year due to our high altitudes. While winter access to non-resort high country is indeed limited, once our passes and highcountry become more accessible in spring we have an amazing window of opportunity, sometimes for up to 8 weeks, when the quality of our backcountry skiing experience rivals that of anywhere in the world.
The informal springtime barbecue on Independence Pass is becoming quite the tradition. Looking forward to next year!