After spending day after day delivering books and skiing short laps around town in some of the best snow Colorado has seen in years we felt like we had earned a trip further afield for some hot water, birthday celebrations for Ally and a line I’ve been wanting to ski for a long time.
We got to the trailhead and looked over the options. Question Mark looked good but this was a new zone so we decided to head up the ridge towards Buckeye Peak and see what we saw. This safe approach would give us options if the snowpack was different here than what we’d been seeing in Summit. Near treeline we caught up with our friends Andrea and Leigh, we chatted a bit and then decided to join forces. It was an honor to join them on their march on this the day of marches. It must be a scary time to be a woman in America. Like George Carlin said “Women are crazy, men are stupid, women are crazy because men are stupid.” Perhaps it’s time we hand the reigns over to the better, smarter, more than half of humanity. Perhaps the world would be a better place. Perhaps the next four years will teach us this lesson the hard way. As far as men that want to take away women’s rights in the name of their dogma, I say back the fuck off, you don’t have the parts to make that call. I’d love to see the male reaction to the stripping of rights, say when your Viagra gets taken away and you have to live with your impotence. And history was much worse for those subjected to forced sterilizations in the name of justice or fear; hoping history doesn’t start repeating itself. Get real people, everyone deserves respect and the freedom to live their lives in a way that makes them happy. These people are our mothers and grandmothers and wives and girlfriends and friends and co-workers and daughters and exes and sisters; show some respect! Most of the women I know are more than your equal. If this post offends you then you should probably unfollow me and unfriend me and get the hell out of my life. And progression switches to regression.
Now back to winter. High on the ridge we came to the summit mesa of the peak and had a great discussion about our options. We decided that one at a time across the bench was the best option. We ran into some kids that were sledding down the west side of the peak, not sure about that choice but hey to each their own, just don’t end up in the papers. After tagging the summit of Buckeye we headed down the ridge towards Question Mark. The snow was fun on the way though a little inconsistent. We approached the top of the gully with caution. We had seen zero signs of instability on the way up. The cornice had broken off recently and there had been no reaction. We planned an entrance that involved cutting toward the dense trees to the skier’s right. Everything went as planned and the smiles and whoops of joy were as deep as the powder. It was better than any of the heli ski lines I’ve done.
A strong day in the presence of strong women made me feel strong, happy and grateful to be alive. But this day was for them. Everyday should be for them, humanity would cease to exist without its better half.
Special thanks to Shannon Brackett for contributing the song. You make beautiful music. Enjoy the video and be thankful of all the women in the world.
The most recent column focuses on the amazing month we just had.
The last few days have been a respite from the maelstrom of deep winter. The sun has come out to shine down on six-plus feet of January snow and the winds have been going on and off. We haven’t gotten new snow for a while, but there has been plenty of wind transport in the hills. It’s been nice to wake up and see sunrise alpenglow on the surrounding peaks.
But it won’t last long. As I write this in the first days of February, the skies have reopened for business and I can’t see town. Now we can get back to the good life.
THE POW ROUTINE
Thinking back on the past 31 days, I can’t help but laugh. What a month! This has to be one of the finest months of skiing I’ve ever experienced. It started slowly at first (as did the season as a whole), and I believe this late start came to our aid in a major way. With less early-season snow, Colorado had less of a rotting issue at the base of our snowpack than usual. We also had a lot of wind in December, creating a persistent slab issue, but after the first few storms of January the persistent issues were largely resolved by the weight of all the new snow… Click the link for the rest of the article
Early January. The winter storm and avalanche warnings are in effect for the next couple days. The anticipation is rising — it seems like it has been a long time since we last had fresh powder to play in. Messages have been sent, phone calls have been made, and a plan develops out of the winds that are blowing the snow sideways.
The kit gets packed the night before with water, lunch and snacks, camera, avalanche rescue gear, extra clothes, and gloves. I don’t think I will need the sunscreen, but I might need an extra pair of goggles — such are the ways of storm skiing. Clothes, boots and the rest of the gear are all laid out and ready to go. Like a runner the night before a marathon, I load up on pasta with meat sauce so hopefully I have enough energy to keep the powder train rolling along. The photos on social media from friends in Utah foretell of the storm’s epic potential. Sleep will be hard to come by tonight… Click the link for more of the article
Got out for a nice tour yesterday. The snowpack is still very touchy. We heard well over 20 whumphs throughout the day. Our initial CT failed on isolation and we noticed recent natural slides on the way to the zone. Visibility was nil at points. This zone is the ideal terrain for high danger days. It’s not steep but it is fun and pretty long. We discussed the conditions among our group freely. Every one had a voice and we kept it mellow. It was really fun having such a positive experience with new partners as well as familiar friends. Good to finally tour with you Joey and Toni and it’s always a pleasure Edge and Ally. Here’s to the next time.
The snow came in denser than the usual champagne powder. It felt a little like storm skiing at Mt Baker. One more addition to the upside down layer cake.
Back to the column in the Summit Daily News. With the danger rose in the red as of late and a lot of close calls I felt like writing about something I’ve been seeing too much of lately. Click the link to read the rest of the article. Please set aside your agenda in the hills if the signs are telling you the stability isn’t good. Your objective will be there when it’s the right time. BE EXTRA CAUTIOUS OF AVALANCHE SLOPES ABOVE YOU, NEVER ASSUME SAFETY.
We are only human. Our whole existence is one giant human factor: We hold dreams, ambitions, desires, passions, fears, doubts, love, joy, hate and myriad other creations of the mind. As singular entities, the world is the sum of our perceptions. Each of us has to make choices, from what to wear, to what to eat, to where to live and how.
These choices — and the results of the actions we take following them — impact our lives and shape who we are. From our earliest moments we seek to understand the world. It begins as children: We fail attempting our first steps, learn from the experience and, more importantly, adapt to succeed.
This process plays out through life in every facet, from walking to backcountry skiing. We develop our passions and strengthen our fears through the pleasure and pain of experience…
Thank you for the kind words Jason and the quotes.
I really like the idea of cleaning the environment by enjoying the environment. We benefit so much from mining access but at what cost? The mines need to be cleaned up for our future generations and the mountains should be share, protected and enjoyed for us and our future generations. Stoked to be involved and excited to see where the project goes. The vision is a bright one. To the success of the Mosquito Pass Experience.
I have a lot of issues with my feet. I use Active Foot Orthotics thank you Dr. Chanin so the review isn’t for a stock version of the boots. With my metatarsalgia and neuroma I don’t have a choice. The Active Foot liners make the pain disappear. That being said the rest of the boot is stock minus the shoelaces for the liners which I don’t use.
Here’s a snippet of the review:
I finally got around to mounting the updated Maestrale RS from Scarpa at the end of winter — and I wish I’d done it sooner.
I had been skiing the first version of the Maestrale RS for the last two-and-a-half years and they served me very well. The new version, redesigned in 2014, has many improvements and skis even better than its first incarnation. This boot is for the expert skier that wants to get uphill and ski, with the main focus being the quality of the skiing. They’re heavier than most alpine-touring boots, but then again, I’ve never gotten the ultra-lightweight touring fad. If I wanted to go running, I’d go running. When I want to ski, I want to ski — and you need solid boots to do it right.
After about four days I figured out the balance points and was solid on my new setup again. The boots ski like stiff alpine boots, though not as stiff as race boots. With the variability of backcountry snow — the type of terrain these boots are made for — I’m fine with a little forgiveness…