Our Christmas Vacation

Post by WildSnow.com blogger | December 27, 2007      

We backcountry skied our solid Colorado snowpack 4 days straight over Christmas. All in the West Elk Mountains a bit northwest of Crested Butte. Had some fun with the point-and-shoot digicam. Check it out.

Colorado backcountry skiing
The atmosphere was doing crazy things up there, with storms moving in and out along with nearly single digit temps. December light is always spirited, with the sun low in the sky almost all day, creating rake light with long sunsets and sunrises.
Colorado backcountry skiing.

I can’t write enough about how impressed I am with our snowpack. November scared me, as it looked like the early season snow we slogged during our elk hunt was turning to sugar that would eventually try to support a slab — and of course fail into deadly snow slides (as is happening in Utah and Montana). We’ve still got a bit of that condition up above timberline, but much of the early sugar snow got burned off or matted down before we started our huge series of December dumps.

Now, as shown in the photo to right, in many areas we have a six to eight foot snowpack that’s nearly solid marble from the top to the ground. It’s almost surreal having a snowpack this good in Colorado. It kind of throws you off. You know you can go more places and do more things, but years of caution habits are hard to reconcile. My take: stick with the program, use the good habits, only creep up to the edge a bit closer. So that’s what we did, and it was good.

Colorado backcountry skiing

Colorado backcountry skiing
Lisa turns in December light.

Colorado backcountry skiing
At the cabin, even the Scrabble game was in the mood.


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2 Responses to “Our Christmas Vacation”

  1. Chad December 28th, 2007 2:44 pm

    I’m also very impressed with our snowpack here in Elks. I have been Digging pits regularly when I get out on McClure Pass, and there just doesn’t seem to be many weak layers. You are correct. Don’t let it lure you into a false sense of security. Stick to the programm and have fun all day long!!

    Did you use the new sled for access over the holiday?

  2. Louie December 29th, 2007 9:43 pm

    We did use our sled to get in there, and my Dad got it stuck! I thought it was invincible, guess not.

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