We get out on our backcountry skis whenever we can, and lucky for us, that’s quite often. Years ago we were able to ski tour spring corn-snow for weeks in our home mountains, the Elk range of the Colorado Rockies. Now a dirt layer usually blows in during April. The “snirt” causes lots of problems — weak layers in the snowpack, destruction of our corn cycle and accelerated spring runoff. This year we were hoping it wouldn’t happen but sadly it has. The snirt creates a grabby snow surface that’s no fun to ski. So when a spring storm deposits a few inches of fresh snow over the muck layer, we check avalanche conditions and if it’s safe, we get out to ski before it melts down to the dirt. Recently we were able to catch it. Snowpack was surprisingly solid and we enjoyed every turn. Check out our photo essay on some of our better backcountry days all year.