Boot “Hacking” and Colorado Spring Skiing

Post by blogger | February 16, 2005      

You’ve got to give the New York Times props for trying to cover adventure skiing. But they need an editor who knows something about the sport (I might need such an editor as well — but that’s another story.)

Past NYT articles have called backcountry skiing “off road” skiing, and In a recent article about frontcountry adventure skiing at Whistler (I don’t like calling it backcountry skiing when it is not), the writer called hiking sans skis “boot hacking.” Funny, but come to think of it, during some climbs (and boot fitting sessions) I’ve felt like a hacker, so perhaps her glitch was by intent. The article goes on to describe how Whistler manages their terrain to give people some sense of adventure, but not snuff them in the process. Included is an avalanche gun hidden in the trees, ostensibly so the skiers wont see the offensive machinary and thus harsh their “backcountry” groove.

Now for something excellent: I’ve long been a proponent of enjoying Colorado backcountry skiing during our lengthy and more avalanche safe spring season. At Colorado’s high altitudes, spring snow lasts a long time, and morphs into the legendary corn snow surface that’s so easy and fun to climb and backcountry ski.

Most of our resorts and backcountry hut systems close well before our true spring snow season begins, as the popularity of skiing during that time wans (things like Moab mountain biking begin to tempt).

But I’ve always hoped a few more Colorado skiers would get it, and perhaps someone would open a high altitude backcountry operation to help with the spring corn-snow harvest. The California Sierra has a similar spring season, and the Tioga Pass Resort provides accommodations in the middle of their vast corn fields. We need something like that here in the Centennial state.

This spring, Steve Kress will open a new business called Ski Colorado Adventures. He will use the vast alpine terrain of Red Mountain Pass in southern Colorado for April and May springtime backcountry skiing extravaganzas. Finally — someone gets it! I hope he gets enough customers… Article about Steve’s outfit is here. Apparently he needs help with his web marketing, as I couldn’t find his website. If anyone knows his URL please email me. Or perhaps this is just a dream?

Announcement department: A new store in Glenwood Springs, Colorado is specializing in consignment used outdoor equipment, with an emphasis on ski and climbing equipment. Even if you’re from out of town, they’re worth contacting if you’re on a budget mission, or have a pile of stuff you need to sell. The Gear Exchange – 970-945-8500 (no website).


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