Suddenly Last Sunday — Vail Pass, Uneva Peak

Post by blogger | May 12, 2009      
Backcountry Skiing

Backcountry Skiing

Key in Colorado at the moment is to start any backcountry skiing from as high an altitude as possible. Around here we’re limited by a bunch of closed roads, but it’s actually a fairly short drive to Vail Pass on Interstate 70, so we headed over there this past Sunday to see what Uneva Peak was like. Near total whiteout and a chilly breeze kept us from the summit, but a few laps in the trees harvested spring powder on top of a firm base.

I’d anticipate this new layer of snow providing excellent skiing over the next several days, until it melts down to the dirt layer again. Cloudy weather today, so that might delay the surface melting and give us good conditions this weekend. Till then, a few photos that capture some of the stormlight.

Backcountry Skiing

Lisa headed up, with her CAMP Campack X4 800, an amazingly nice rucksack that combines lots of volume with feather weight. Reviews soon.

Backcountry Skiing

It's always fascinating how you can be in a whiteout above timberline, then get down in the trees where light is bouncing around and thus see quite well. Such light makes for nice photos along with tasty turns. Uneva Peak is on the north side of I70 at Vail Pass. You can access a bunch of alpine terrain up there, but also ski some old logging areas and burns that provide a huge amount of underutilized backcountry skiing. With the present controversy surrounding our pine beetle infestations and overdone fire suppression, along with logging-as-sin views, I'm always amused when we have a good day in an area that's been provided by loggers or flame. Indeed, being out there on the land sure puts things in perspective.

[gmap name=’mymap’ lat=’39.55695′ lng=’-106.19614′ zoom=’13’ maptype=’g_hybrid_map’ desc=’Uneva Peak.’ width=’525′]


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7 Responses to “Suddenly Last Sunday — Vail Pass, Uneva Peak”

  1. Bill May 12th, 2009 11:17 am

    Hey Lou,

    I have been trying to get ahold of you with little luck. I just picked up a pair of what I think are brand new Emery Energy’s.

    E-mail me, so we can get this into the binding museum.


  2. Dave Field May 12th, 2009 12:33 pm

    Interesting, if you click on the Google Map to zoom in, a grey line titled “McGillan Street” appears from the rest area parking and extends to the top of Uneva Peak and then chases the divide north for many miles. What’s that about?

  3. Lou May 12th, 2009 2:54 pm

    Some Google mistake. Despite rumors to the contrary, Google is not god (grin).

  4. Markian Feduschak May 12th, 2009 7:38 pm


    Glad you enjoyed our neck of the woods. I’m not certain I would characterize the Uneva Peak area as underutized. I have been touring the area for 15 plus years and appreciate the amount of use it receives. Great access for shorter tours with moderate vertical.

    I would, however, strongly encourage as much usage as possible on the “south” side, where snowmobiles and skiers alike are welcome to roam:)

  5. Lou May 12th, 2009 8:21 pm

    Markian, I’ve been going there more than 20 years and though use has grown, I’m still surprised how few people go there instead of the south side.

  6. Derik May 13th, 2009 12:45 pm

    The “North” side is one of my favorites. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone over there. Tracks for sure, but not people. (caveat: I go in the early A.M.) Great spot to link up as long or as short of a tour as you could want.

    But the rest of you should really stay on the South side ……. 🙂

  7. Lou May 13th, 2009 12:49 pm

    In my experience, most backcountry skiers will follow a snowmobile track rather than making their own trail. That’s always been interesting to me (grin).

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