Colorado Powder Frenzy

Post by blogger | December 10, 2009      

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. 


Ashley charges through a clearing. This girl rips.

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. 


Jordan goes for some early season air.

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. 


Caleb finds the break.

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!


Jordan loving life.


Ashley gets some.

(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.)


6 Responses to “Colorado Powder Frenzy”

  1. Brandon Chalk December 10th, 2009 10:52 am


    Nice write-up buddy! Glad you guys got after it. It also sounds like the Denali training is going well. I have a good feeling your trip will be successful.


  2. Erin Wray Armstrong December 10th, 2009 11:01 am

    So this is where all the snow was – nice work! I am so jealouse of my brother’s day job!!!

  3. Caleb Wray December 10th, 2009 11:11 am

    Fun day guys. Not too often us tall guys get that much snow in the face. Glad we were able to find suitable terrain. The snow pack was as fragile as it gets. Click click whumpf, click click whumpf.

  4. Gael Stahl December 10th, 2009 11:54 am

    I heard last night you had a lot more coming last night. Enjoy weeing and hearing what you’re doing with what you have already. Caleb, U want a close up of you wearing a snow mask. You and Jordan keep this coming, you Denali bounders

  5. Jordan December 10th, 2009 12:41 pm

    Fun day guys.

    As far as the Crossfit stuff goes, this guy Vinnie who owns the place is a pretty cool dude who got hurt while trying to open up the gym. He has some pretty serious medical bills piling up. There is a benefit for him at the Viceroy on Wed the 16th of December from 4-9 pm if anyone is in the area. Let me know if anyone desires more information.

  6. Ashley December 10th, 2009 7:08 pm

    No doubt on the sketchiness of snow pack! But AMEN to the ample supply of freshies 🙂 It was a fun day in Marble- thanks to two fellow snow savy ski partners!

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Welcome to Louis (Lou) Dawson's backcountry skiing information & opinion website. Lou's passion for the past 50 years has been alpinism, climbing, mountaineering and skiing -- along with all manner of outdoor recreation. He has authored numerous books and articles about ski touring and is well known as the first person to ski down all 54 of Colorado's 14,000-foot peaks, otherwise known as the Fourteeners! Books and free ski touring news and information here.

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