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Hi everyone, Tyler here (one of the WildSnow Denali expedition members). We’re trying to give Lou some time to get his camper review kicked out (it’s a cool camper, but doesn’t qualify as “sick” yet because he doesn’t have the speakers installed), so here is a TR from a few days ago.
With a powerful winter storm blowing through the Aspen area last Friday Nick, Colby and I decided there would be enough snow up high for a weekend powder reconnaissance mission in the Elk Mountains of west central Colorado. We decided to head for the Pine Creek drainage, a tributary of Castle Creek above and south of Aspen.
We were able to spin, power slide and generally rally our front wheel drive sleigh (TAV) up to the trailhead. (eat your heart out Lou – 35 mpg and still able to plow through hood deep snow 😉 With only a few inches of snow down low we decided to stow our skis and save the early season damage to our skins. After boot packing in snow ranging from ankle to waist deep we switched to skins just before reaching Cathedral Lake.
The upper slopes of the surrounding peaks looked a bit too wind scoured to allow for more than a couple turns. We decided to poke around just below the lake and found an awesome shot that led us through some interesting terrain.
After a few hundred vert we reached Pine Creek and began the postholing-bushwhack back to the summer trail. After another 2 miles of hoofing it we arrived back at the sleigh ready for the exciting drive out.
We were all more than impressed with the snow conditions up high in the central Elk Mountains. It takes a bit of snooping around to find safe spots with enough coverage. We all agreed it was a lot of walking for 20 minutes of skiing. Oh well, It should be easy for this group to chalk up days like Saturday to Denali training.
Tyler Christoff grew up ski racing. He raced at Syracuse University, making Nationals multiple years. A few years ago he moved to Aspen to pursue a different sort of skiing. Tyler has rapidly grown into a strong mountaineer, and has the perfect form that most skiers only dream of. He is one of our favorite ski testers since he hits backcountry skiing regularly.