TR – Montezuma Basin, Colorado

Post by blogger | October 29, 2010      

Okay you guys, yeah, turns were made. Montezuma basin (between Crested Butte and Aspen), be there this weekend and join the crowd. Road is snowmobile-able if you truck up a mile or so from the pavement. Hard core sledders could ride up above timberline (on the road of course, which is legal, please stay out of cherry stemmed Wilderness to either side). Skiing on the permanent snowfield was knee deep recycled pow. It’ll get tracked up but still ski well. Beware of rocks when you’re off the snowfield. Wear knee pads and helmet if you tend to bring that stuff (wish I’d brought mine instead of leaving on the sled).

Backcountry skiing in Montezuma Basin, Colorado.

Yesterday, Scott N. backcountry skiing in Montezuma Basin, Colorado. We made a couple of laps on a short section of turns. Just a mellow non-epic day with high quality snow. Cover on the approach road is thin, but we were able to ski back down below timberline to the snowmobile. It might be getting kind of thin on the road by tomorrow, but the upper skiing should still be good. Storm coming on Saturday might renew it, and Sunday or Monday could be the days, though avy danger could increase if we get a real snowpack up there. Click image to enlarge.

Backcountry snowboarding in Colorado.

Funny thing, more snowboarders showed up yesterday than skiers. Yikes, they're taking over! But this gal made everyone else look bad, eh Arabella!

Powder skiing in Montezuma Basin.

Ran across some guy named Ted. I think he couldn't stay away because he loves 14ers and nearby Castle Peak attracts him like a magnet. Perhaps that's why he's skied them all.

Ski touring in Colorado.

Ted, heading up. Click image to enlarge.

Montezuma Basin backcountry skiing.

Scott took this pic of me heading up for another lap. Wind was blowing the snow around, stinging my face. Reminded me of somewhere in Alaska.

Backcountry powder skiing in Colorado.

Ted sent over this pic of me getting some, if I look like I'm telemarking it's because one ski base had a big chunk of ice on it, as I was later to find out. Got lazy, didn't wax my boards.

Oh, one other thing, a few trees have fallen over the Pearl Pass approach road. Bring a chain saw or at least a hand saw if you’re going mechanized.


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12 Responses to “TR – Montezuma Basin, Colorado”

  1. Wick October 29th, 2010 10:05 am

    At a boy!! …good to see the “lake effect moisture” hit there too! Yeah Ted!

  2. Lou October 29th, 2010 10:11 am

    A realization hit me yesterday. Been working WAY too much!

  3. Bar Barrique October 29th, 2010 9:24 pm

    “Been working WAY too much” Yeah; it’s easy to get sucked in by all the little demands of life, and, forget about the more important things, like skiing.

  4. John Gloor October 30th, 2010 8:54 am

    Lou, if I did not want to bang my sled up on shallow rocks, is the road up to the Mace hut still drivable with chains on all four? I have not been up high since the last storm.

  5. Lou October 30th, 2010 9:09 am

    Hi John, probably not unless you want to spend some time busting snow. The rock banging ends after the big avalanche meadow, so it’s a pretty short stint. But it does bash the skis a bit. I went slow and my carbides are worn out anyway, so I wasn’t too worried. Someone parked at the avalanche meadow and they didn’t even have chains, so you could probably get there and unload your sled, then you’d have very little rock banging.

  6. Gaybe October 31st, 2010 8:47 am


  7. ted mahon November 1st, 2010 10:48 am

    Looks like your second lap was as good as our first. That was fun up there.


  8. Matt Hart November 3rd, 2010 8:11 pm

    winter is here! love that black & white photo scott took.

  9. ScottN November 4th, 2010 11:57 am

    Thanks Matt! Although, I think Lou doctored it up a little bit with the black and white effect. Check out Ted’s site for some great pics too (click on his name above) of our first turns of the season.

  10. Lou November 4th, 2010 12:02 pm

    Every good photographer needs a lab rat (grin).

  11. Erik S May 25th, 2011 8:58 am

    I’m planning to ski Cathedral Peak/Pearl Couloir this weekend, snowpack permitting. I’m thinking about camping near Cathedral lake, then going up and over the Slate mountain ridge to access Montezuma Basin then ski Conundrum Couloir the next day. It seems “Google-Earth” feasible, but is it real-life feasible?

  12. Geof April 11th, 2012 10:21 am


    What is the word on the basin conditions this season? Road drivable at all yet? Thanks for the beta!


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