Silverton Avalanche School Level 2 – Part 1

This past weekend, I joined Friends of Berthoud Pass on a trip to Silverton for SAS‘ Level 2 avalanche course. I wasn’t planning on joining them for this trip, but someone else had to drop out and I filled their spot on short-ish notice. Chris, Gary, and I left Denver late morning on Wednesday, planning to get over Red Mountain Pass with a little daylight left, and get settled in Silverton in time to get a decent night’s sleep. We made it, and beat all but one of the eight others joining us.

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Fun day with a huge crew at Berthoud Pass

An email circulated over the past week (as it usually does), talking about plans for the weekend. Berthoud Pass was the choice. As tends to be the case, no one was really sure how many people would show up. There are always random drop-outs at the last minute, leaving group size a mystery until we meet up for the carpool. Nine people and two dogs made it, for the second largest group I’ve ever been in in the backcountry. We were skinning by 8:45 or so, not too bad given the laziness imparted on our group by the warming hut on the top of the pass. Our selected route resulted in a pretty heinous skintrack through some dense woods, but Lauren was happy after recently switching to Dynafits (and earlier this year, lighter boots – a weight savings of nearly 5 pounds per foot) and had no problems keeping up. Continue reading

Friends of Berthoud Pass On-Snow Weekend

This past weekend, Friends of Berthoud Pass held the on-snow portion of their grassroots avalanche education program. I volunteered to facilitate groups both days, and I’m exhausted after two ten-hour days up at the pass. Tempted by breakfast burritos at the instructor refresher, Lauren and I signed up to show up at 6am Saturday morning to prepare the beacon-rescue scenarios. When the 4am wakeup call is three weeks away, a free breakfast burrito sounds like a great deal. At 4am, it’s suddenly a much-worse bargain. Nonetheless, we dragged ourselves up there way too early. Continue reading

A few from Loveland this weekend

The skiing at Loveland this weekend was outstanding, and it was too good to stop and take pictures most of the day. I did stop a couple times for a few shots though. The first was shortly after opening under chair 1, usually a huge field of bumps, Saturday completely covered by light snow.

So light, in fact, that it did little to soften the bumps (first run anyway) and I took a knee to the forehead after taking a small jump. Continue reading

Scout’s (first) Day Out

Friday was Scout’s first day out for the season, when she joined Hans and I for a tour at Berthoud Pass. She made the cover photo for Saturday’s Colorado Powder Forecast (here) and also wins the award for making it look way better than it was. Before we get to the rest of the trip, here’s the shot of her working it for the camera:

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SIA Snow Show, part III

This is my last post from the Snow Show, with a few shorter hits on specific items.

Anyone who skis with me in the backcountry knows my fanaticism for softshell fabrics. I’m in love with the Arc’teryx Gamma SK pants, and have lusted after a Gamma MX Hoody since I grew too small for my Patagonia Ascensionist (which is now discontinued, so I can’t replace it. The closest replacement is the “Knifeblade” pullover for next year, but it doesn’t offer a full-zip in front and is pretty much ruled out for that reason alone). I’ve even wondered about what it would be like if they made a jacket out of the same fabric as the SK pants (lighter than the MX), and it seems they’ve given it a try with the Acto MX Hoody. The fabric isn’t exactly the same, but feels like it will perform similarly. I’m going to try to get ahold of someone who knows the product well and get some details up on it soon.

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