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The amount of snow in Montezuma Basin, Colorado is of historic proportions. Pack is easily 48 inches overall, with areas of six or more feet in the lee of the classic fetches that build the “glacier” we ski on in the summer. Up there yesterday with my son Louie and his buddy Jason from high school.
|Yours truly getting it done. I guess the knee surgery worked — after going through that last summer I figured all you blog readers would allow me a shameless brag shot.|
|Louie Dawson gets away from his homework for a few hours. We got in two laps on the lower ‘Zuma headwall, kinda tired from the long slog up from below timberline. We skied all the way back down to our truck. Though most of the return on the jeep road was pure survival, we did get a few bonus turns here and there and only hit a couple of rocks.|
|Jason Caudill (16 years old) gets his just reward for the big slog. He kept looking around in awe during the climbing, saying things like, “We’re blessed to live here.” Nice to see a kid who was born in the mountains not take them for granted.|
|Obligatory trophy shot. Oh yeah!|
|The 4-wheeling required for this trip was a gas (pun intended). We chained up the front wheels of the Silverado and went gonzo up the Pearl Pass road. Punching out the deeper snow required sawing the steering, turning the wheels rapidly left and right to make progress through deep drifts. Sort of like mudding, only white. Big rooster tails of snow fly up by the windows, and you whip the steering just in time to avoid going off a cliff or t-boning a spruce. The trick is to know when to quit and park, otherwise you get to spend the day digging instead of skiing (unless you’ve got a winch, and we don’t).|
|Parking spot gives an idea of how plentiful the snow is. This location is down around 10,600 feet. A guy with chains on all four drove a bit farther.|
|At timberline on the way up. Coverage is amazing, we were able to ski the road all the way back down to parking though the southerly facing areas lower down will require a bit of foot travel after a day or two more of sun. Mountain in the background is Mace peak.|
WildSnow.com publisher emeritus and founder Lou (Louis Dawson) has a 50+ years career in climbing, backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering. He was the first person in history to ski down all 54 Colorado 14,000-foot peaks, has authored numerous books about about backcountry skiing, and has skied from the summit of Denali in Alaska, North America’s highest mountain.