It’s all good in the Rockies with tons of snowfall this year because we can’t seem to get enough of it. But that begs the question; how long into the summer can one ski, without having to travel to another hemisphere to do it?
When the ski lifts turn their lights off come late spring, it signals something more in Colorado. Backcountry skiing during the winter consists of a stagnant wave of snow set in motion by a skier’s turn. But come spring, the melt-freeze cycle turns that snow into something as dense as your grandma’s fruitcake, and much more enticing. Spring is the time to take advantage of backcountry skiing, as the risks of avalanches are much less. And the Loveland Pass is a good place to do it. If you’ve yearned to take advantage of Colorado’s best, worst-kept secret, then here’s a backcountry guide to help you access The Pass safely and like a pro.
The Loveland Pass is located on US-6. From Denver, take I-70 W to US-6 W. Park your car in the parking lot across from the Continental Divide sign and follow others’ tracks to hike in (no more than 100 yards).
Always bring a shovel, probe and beacon for backcountry skiing, and ski with a friend. Tell others of your plans too.
The terrain on the front is about 800 vertical feet and requires solid intermediate skills. For the most part, by hiking in no more than 100 yards you should be okay, just follow the tracks of other skiers. About ¼ of a mile out is what’s known as “Idiot’s Cornice” and you should avoid this as it poses the greatest risk for avalanche (five people died there in 2013). Safety tip: don’t hike in more than 100 yards, and ski or ride near tracks of previous skiers.
Hitchin’ a Ride:
The front side funnels down to US-6 (represented by a circle on the map above), and hitching a ride back up to the top is half the fun. Wait times can vary, but a ride always comes along ready and willing to drop you back off at the Continental Divide parking lot. Look for trucks, as they’re pretty much always willing to let you ride in the bed. You can also go up with a group of people (three or more) and alternate driving up and back so that you won’t have to wait.
Go during a full moon for moonlight skiing.
Have fun, be safe and let us know how it goes in the comments below.
Why I Ski
by Allison Howe
The day that Emily conquered Mad Wolf is a day that I will never forget. As a coach, I take pride in her accomplishment while marveling at the courage of an eight-year-old girl who could not make a parallel turn at the beginning of the winter months. By March of that ski season, Emily was on fire—skiing the expert only terrain of the Challenger Lift at Big Sky and taking a run on the tram with her peers in stride.
Mt. Abram has recently been plagued by an unfortunate string of tragedy, from the lodge destroying fire in July to the present day warm weather afflicting the Northeast. However, Mt. Abrams and its owner, Matt Hancock, are confident that their luck will turn around and they will have another record breaking season for 2011/2012. Hancock views the mountain as a,”place for people to get away from the grind, enjoy time outdoors with friends and family and do it at reasonable prices,” and fantastic deals are definitely easy to find at Mt. Abram this winter. From two-for-one lift tickets on Thursday to Caravan Car Load Friday, discounts on a variety of lift tickets abound at Mt. Abram.
This winter, trade in the skis for a sled and be whisked off on an adventure of a lifetime. Cruise through beautiful snow-blanketed woods led by a team of gorgeous sled dogs, watch in awe as the team gracefully races through trees, over hills and speeds through valleys. It’s truly a one-of-a-kind experience. After a thrilling day with the dogs, let the welcoming staff at the Mahoosuc Inn treat you to two special evenings beside the fire, under the stars and bask in the soothing serenity of the forest surrounding the White Mountains.
The Muddy Paw Sled Dog Kennel in Jefferson, New Hampshire is offering a fantastic two-night adventure opportunity this winter. The first night is spent resting and relaxing at the tranquil Mahoosuc Inn. The following day guests are treated to a warm, hearty breakfast. From there they will take guests on a dog-sled adventure through the pristine and unsullied alpine forests of the White Mountains. Guests will have the chance to drive the team, give snacks to the dogs, kick back, enjoy some hot cocoa and take the time to relish this exhilarating yet peaceful adventure. Once back at the Inn, guests will unwind over a delicious catered Italian meal, a warming fire and a soak in a private hot tub.
Muddy Paw Sled Dog Kennel is located just minutes by dog team to Santa’s Village; it is also approximately two hours from Burlington, Vermont, and 45 minutes from North Conway, New Hampshire. Nestled in the heart of the White Mountains this serene retreat is a beautiful place to spend a weekend. Save over 30% on a weekend sled and stay package at Muddy Paw Sled Dog Kennel and the Mahoosuc Inn and prepare to experience a unique and fun new winter sport.
The U.S. Ski Team is partnering with Copper Mountain in order to develop a new Speed Center on the east side of the mountain which will provide for steeper and longer speed training on more than 2,200 feet of vertical. The team, which trains in Chile and New Zealand during the summer are ecstatic to call Copper their pre-competition home.
Luke Bodensteiner, EVP of Athletics for the U.S. Ski Team stated, ““When we talk about top-to-bottom training on a real race surface with the terrain on that run, it will be absolutely perfect training for speed and a great early season simulation to get rolling into the World Cup season.” It’s an ideal location because of its terrain, climate and excellent snowmaking abilities. The additional space also allows for more Olympic athletes the chance to train, which will no doubt improve America’s chances for victory in the upcoming winter Olympics.
Available for a limited time is the pass of the year. Utah’s Yeti Pass Passes went on sale August 1st with only a limited amount available. Resorts include: Alta, Beaver Mountain, Brian Head, Brighton, Canyons, Deer Valley, Eagle Point, Park City Mountain Resort, Powder Mountain, Snowbasin, Snowbird, Solitude, Sundance and Woolf Mountain. The Yeti Pass is ideal for parents of students participating in the Ski Utah 5th and 6th Grade Passport program or anyone who has ever desired to explore the state’s 14 amazing and world famous ski resorts.