Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Ski Day #2 - Cameron Pass

I had this post on my "drafts" since I wanted to add pictures I hadn't downloaded to my computer.  I guess I forgot to actually post it, but since I'm counting my ski days, I figured I'd post it. 

It had been snowing lately and that's a great thing.  What's even better is that it hadn't really been snowing in the Boulder area but the mountains are getting plenty.  Unfortunately, my man didn't get a season pass so we can't quite hit the resorts if we want to spend some time skiing together.  I mostly got it because my parents were going to be in town for 10 days after Christmas and again a couple weeks in March.  

So what's a girl to do?  Follow the man into the backcountry.  Skiing the backcountry is tricky, mostly because no one is out there packing down the snow therefore you need SO MUCH MORE than the resorts need to make for an actual skiable slope.  The plus side?  You access unlimited ski lines of untouched powder.  So basically, be patient and then go explore. We had heard that Cameron Pass had some of the best pow-pow in the state (this was of course before the big storms down in the San Juans), so we decided to plan to go the weekend of December 16th.  We geared up and hit the road on Sunday.  It's a two and a half hour drive so we left at 7am.  The drive was mellow and gorgeous. I was getting nervous since once the GPS said we had 20 miles to go, there was still no snow at all!!  

Not to worry, there was plenty of snow by the time we got to the top of the pass.  We got ready in bitter cold and started skinning up.  The skin track up was fairly steep, but I was able to stay just behind Chuck.  I was proud of myself.  It didn't stop snowing so the visibility was not ideal, but I was excited to "taste" the powder.  

Pretty snow
Once we got to tree line, we decided to do a few beacon searches and make sure our search and rescue skills are not too rusty.  

The pack survived after being buried for 7 minutes.  Yay
Alright, we're all set.  Let's get to the top of that mountain start making some turns. It only got steeper.  This poor lady in a split board was having issues making a turn in one of the switch backs and kept sliding off the skin track and down.  I felt bad for her, but eventually passed her and felt good about myself.  Drew, who was with us, was having trouble with tight switchback turns too.  We met him through and is a beginner backcountry guy, just like me.  But I also felt good about myself when I was skinning up better and faster than him.  

I was taking the picture from higher up, Chuck explaining Drew how to turn and Drew... well, trying to get up. 
Once at the top, we removed skins and got ready to ski down.  WOW!  That was some AWESOME powder and some AMAZING turns.  Too bad it was so damn hard to get to the top and it was windy and snowing harder.  The guys decided to go back up.  I decided to go back to the car, so I just continued to ski all the way down.  

I was happy I did because it got DAMN cold and windy. The guys showed up shortly after me and said they had done one more run and while they were planning on exploring more, decided not to since it was getting blizzardy up there.  It was a good day for me, regardless.  The first day out in the backcountry is always hard, but I was happy I kept it short, but fulfilling. 

Back at the car... I was COLD!

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