Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Heading for untouched snow

After a lovely day celebrating Telefest at Powderhorn Ski Resort
we headed up to Mesa Creek to check out some backcountry ski runs.  Back before Powderhorn was created, Mesa Creek, or "Old Powderhorn" was the Mesa's only ski resort.  There were tow lines and a warming hut...but people wanted more, so the whole works moved down to the current location and Powderhorn Resort was born.  What was left were some awesome runs that just required a little more work to get to.

This link was quite helpful to us in helping us to see where the runs were, which way we should head, etc.  We got to the parking lot around 10:40 or so, got all our gear together (backpacks, skins on skis, helmet, water, snacks, cameras, map, etc.) and headed across the sled hill around 11.  At this point there were no kids on the sled hill at all!

It took us a few minutes, but we eventually located the bridge across Mesa Creek and carefully began our ascent.  Never having skied UP anything before, I wasn't sure how the skins would grip the snow or how much effort it would take to glide up.  Turns out it was fairly easy! 

Several times I had to stop and rest.  Each time I thought to myself, "This is just like backpacking...all the hard work is rewarded with a great campsite...or in this case, skiing DOWN!"  Or I would think about biking and how sometimes you have to work really hard on the uphill to get some awesome downhill bike time.  Mostly what I kept thinking was just how beautiful it all was.  The sun was shining, trees were snow covered, and the only sounds were us breathing and the occasional "whoop" of joy from the sledders now busily traipsing up and down the sled hill.

Finally we reached the top.  What a beautiful view!  There were no other ski tracks around that day...we could see old ones, but it was clear we were the first ones to the top of the hill Sunday.  We'd skinned up Pruess, one of the old blue runs, and as you can hear from the video, skiing down was well worth the trip up!  We made one more hike to the top and then called it a day.  We will definitely be back!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Back Country Skiing Virgin

This weekend I will take my first foray into the world of Back Country skiing.  We'll head up to Mesa Creek, or Old Powderhorn as some call it, and check some easy runs on our new backcountry skis.  These are my first ones, the Atomic Centuries.  As the picture states, they are specifically made for women.  They also have a length that is perfect for me.  These skis come right up to my nose when they are held vertically.  Add to those some super cool bindings that allow me to climb uphill with my heels free, then click them down to ski down the hill, and I'm all set!

Hopefully we'll get some awesome footage with our new flip cam and I can post a video for you guys.  But for now, this video gives you an idea of some of the terrain.  There are a few wide open slopes, Pruess, for example, that will be perfect for my first attempt. 

Happy weekend!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

8 days of skiing down, 22 to go...

Well ski season is in full swing out here in Colorado and my goal this year is to ski 30 days.  That's pretty tough when I can really only go on weekends, but right now I'm on track to get it done before Powderhorn (our local resort) closes in April.

Some of those days will be spent at Snowmass and a few others elsewhere in the state.  Still, I don't really care where I'm skiing as long as I'm skiing and improving!  So far this year I've skied a few new black runs from last year and am getting much better at skiing around moguls.

For Christmas I got new bindings for backcountry skiing, and then the BF, awesome guy that he is, ordered me new backcountry skis too!  It will be fun to go skiing somewhere out in the middle of nowhere--away from resorts, but I think I'll always be spoiled by having a lift take me up the mountain.

Here are a few shots from our adventures at Powderhorn so far this year.  One is of the BF on a run called "Cow Camp" and the other is one I took from about half-way down a run called "Hooker."  Love love love the snow!