Backcountry Skiing Grab Bag

Post by blogger | March 6, 2007      

A couple of things to cover today. First, a few more photos from last weekend.

Colorado skiing.
Saturday we opted for resort skiing at Aspen Highlands (staying away from the backcountry because of high avy danger), but still hiked the famed Highland Bowl for a bit of exercise and avalanche spotting. Sure enough, looking southerly from the top of Highland Peak you could see these major natural releases off the east side of Highland Ridge. They ran thousands of feet to the valley below and were sure killers similar to the one that got an avalanche class student a few years ago.

I saw quite a few friends at Highlands. It was fun doing the hike with Ward, a well known and liked Aspenite who does computer work for 10th Mountain Huts along with many other clients. I saw long time friend P. Bingham at the summit — we had a good laugh joking around about my old nickname of the “avalanche magnet” as sure enough there I was, and there were a few avalanches a short distance away. Hopefully that distance will not decrease.

Overall it was good to see so many people enjoying the new snow where the ski patrol had made it safe — and good not seeing any tracks leading out into the backcountry where the avalanche conditions were definitely not appropriate for anything but tedious “avoidance” route finding. People are listening to local avalanche reports and making appropriate plans for the day. As long time local and rescue expert Steve Crockett and I spoke about the other day, there are a LOT more people backcountry skiing, but no big increase in avalanche accidents. Proof that someone is doing something right, and kudos to all the volunteers who have worked so hard for so many years with avlanche safety education.

Colorado skiing.
I’ve forgotten how to eat on the cheap, but when I visited the on-mountain restaurant I was re-educated by this young man who was feasting on crackers and small canisters of condiment peanut butter, enhanced by honey and jelly packs. We did buy some hot cocoa, as this creates a more ethical environment for condiment dining. Good to know some of skiing’s most important traditions are alive and well.

Update, March 7, the CODE Jeep is sold! Chris says “now I’ll build an even better Jeep!” That’ll be interesting, perhaps I can convince him to include a ski rack.

Springtime, so here we go with something only semi-skiing related but some of you more automotive minded blog readers might be interested in. My friend and website client Chris Overacker, owner of CODE4x4, is selling his totally tricked out Jeep YJ Wrangler. If you’re looking for a real recreational rock crawler that also serves as a trail jeep and somewhat of a daily driver, at $15,000 this is one of the best deals I’ve ever seen. You’d spend twice that to build one this good from scratch. More, this is a professionally built rig with none of the hacker junk you’ll frequently find on “built” jeeps for sale. Write a check and you’re ready for turnkey Moab fun! Info here.

Colorado skiing.
CODE YJ in action.


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3 Responses to “Backcountry Skiing Grab Bag”

  1. Mark Worley March 6th, 2007 5:44 pm

    That’s a nice Jeep. Condiment dining is not something I’ve tried, really, but I can understand the need. Glad you all stayed safe with the avy danger in the extreme range.

  2. Dave Salibury April 3rd, 2007 11:18 am

    Trip reports all all fine and dandy… but are much more useful if you mention the snow _conditions_! 🙂 Seems Aspen’s had an average winter, so the snow pack may not be around for all that long. Anything corning up yet? I’m just on a mission to find where all the snow.. oh..oh.. ha..ha… he… he.. is.

  3. Lou April 3rd, 2007 11:29 am

    Dave, we do indeed have an average snowpack and a warm spring. It’s melting out low fairly rapidly, but up high we have some good corn skiing in the making. As always, I’d say the key is to ID routes where you can start at higher trailheads, or plan on doing some dirt hiking or dry gated road travel.

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