Colorado Backcountry Powder at its Best

Post by blogger | December 17, 2007      

Got out yesterday to enjoy our amazingly stable central Colorado backcountry snow. While pockets of instability no doubt exist, much of our mid-alpine snowpack is a bonded birthday cake topped by fluffy cotton candy — yielding that blissful experience that’s said to be addictive as crack cocaine (and sometimes just as dangerous). Yesterday in the Marble Peak area between us and Crested Butte, we were able to whiff the delicate elixir with nary a consequence but a discernible rise in endorphin levels.

Black Diamond Verdict backcountry ski
Couldn’t decide which photo of Dave I liked best, so here’s a pair. My wife and son were there too, but they’ve been my photo victims so much I figured a new face would freshen up Wildsnow a bit. Besides, a red jacket is to a camera what iron is to a magnet.

Black Diamond Verdict backcountry ski
Another angle. Dave is riding Black Diamond Kilowatts and shouldering a Dakine Tactic pack we’re reviewing. Perfectly red jacket is a Cloudveil.

This was my first effort at ski photography using the diminutive Canon A720 rather than my A640. I’ve really come to like the A640 firmware hack as it provides a real-time histogram for checking exposures while using manual mode. The A720 doesn’t have a firmware hack yet, so to check histo I had to keep switching to view mode — a real pain on top of fiddling with all the other settings in an LCD that’s really tough to see in bright light. On top of that, the 720 continuous mode is noticeably slower than that of the A640, as is the cycle time between shots when set to single shot. A faster memory card might help with that, so we shall see. One thing though: the A720 6x telephoto zoom is indeed the ticket.

It’s a fun challenge to get decent ski shots with a point-and-shoot, but I’m thinking for the next day of this quality I’ll lug my Canon Rebel and enjoy using the automatic follow focus it provides, as well as its faster frames-per-second.


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12 Responses to “Colorado Backcountry Powder at its Best”

  1. dave downing December 17th, 2007 9:39 am

    Lou. you should have zoomed in more on the second picture to see my pearly whites. Then you could have sold it to ChapStick®, and maybe pulled in a new sponsor 😀

  2. Lou December 17th, 2007 9:42 am

    Sorry Dave, next time (grin).

  3. jess downing December 17th, 2007 12:36 pm

    Nice shots, wish i could have gone. Stupid cough…

  4. El Jefe December 17th, 2007 3:06 pm


    Hey got a question here for ya. I was reading my new Backcountry Mag the other day. They have an article in there re: gear; specifically clothing, and what a few of their writers/testers wear. Now I know you are a lover of the Cloudveil product……which i also think is great, but if you had to pick a “go to” jacket, pant, and lets say, glove….what is choice for a day in the backcountry. skin up/ ski down.


  5. Njord December 17th, 2007 8:36 pm

    It is HIGH time that I got home… looks like things are GREAT right now!

  6. Lou December 18th, 2007 7:36 am

    Njord, you are correct in you assessment.

  7. Kimmers December 18th, 2007 1:51 pm

    I’d love to hear Dave’s opinion of the Killowatts…………

  8. dave downing December 18th, 2007 6:27 pm

    Hi Kimmers.
    I must admit I haven’t had a ton of time on the kilowatts yet, only a few days, but so far I’m really enjoying them. Definitely stiffer than my **cough** pocket rockets **cough** So far they’ve been stiff enough to hold a stable edge whenever I need, be it big turns or last second slashes to cut speed. But they didn’t punish me in my softer-than-the-axon boots (though it was PERFECT snow, see pics above). I’m looking forward to the season ahead in all the conditions i can find. I’ll keep you posted.

  9. Shakee December 19th, 2007 3:18 pm

    Good thing you guys skiied it when you did. Went up today to see all of the cross loaded slopes. It seems that when the wind blows that hard (and that long) from any direction other than west, the entire area tends to avalanche HUGE! Could be dangerous just driving up that road.
    I am sending this because of a strange occurence happening in that area. Right before the alley chutes, there is a sign warning about the ensuing avalanche danger on the road (NO STOPPING OR STANDING- NEXT 1/4 MILE.) The sign is on a large wooden post. On the drive up the other day, the sign was turned backwards so that you could not read it. After skiing the sign was back to its regular position. Today it was turned around again. There are no footprints anywhere in the snow around the sign. The sign is way too big to move on its own. We are guessing that some kind of spirit must be giving us the green light to travel in avalanche terrain. SPOOKY- but I think he is on our side.

  10. Lou December 19th, 2007 8:45 pm

    El Jefe, we’ve got our “best gear of 2006/2007” list coming soon, it’ll answer your question. ‘best, Lou

  11. Lou December 19th, 2007 8:46 pm

    Shakee, that’s pretty funny about the sign. I think it’s becoming sort of a folk icon for skiers up there.

  12. Hawk Greenway April 8th, 2008 1:52 pm

    Lou, I’m trying to get a 7th Braun Hut approved near taylor pass. We need support letters to convince the Forest Service to allow the NEPA process for a special use permit to go forward. It’d be like the Friends hut, no road, closed in summer, etc. I’ll send contact and information to your e-mail contact. Hawk

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