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.

Scout was along this day, and is improving remarkably each time she skis with us.

After more than 45 minutes of suffering through the trees on the up, we were treated to snow that was far deeper, softer, and lighter than any of us expected. YC is in here somewhere.

There were so many people – a few I’d never met before – that I might mix up names. I think this is Carl.

Another Carl, the one I’ve skied a few 14ers with:

Lauren was up, and loved every turn.

Nothing compares to the cold smoke of Colorado.

Carl had some issues on the next skin up. He blames it on skins too narrow for his new skis. Excuses, excuses. Sadly, I was too slow on the draw and missed an even better shot.

Scout, not being a very large dog, was swimming through the snow.

She can’t get enough of the stuff.

The next lap took us over a line with a few more little pillows, and Gary did it in style. Note that he slammed the bottom rock in this photo pretty hard (he couldn’t see it), but suffered no base damage.

Carl was next.

Carl #2 (I think?) followed with a smooth summersault, losing a ski in the process. Fortunately it stopped near us instead of rocketing down the hill.

YC was next.

Pete getting after it:

Aaron went last but still had plenty of powder.

I set up in a terrible perspective on the last lap, so just got this one of Lauren killing it in the apron.

The bottom of the runout had a 4′-ish tall lip that no one could quite get up, except for Gary. I was a foot short and he pulled me the rest of the way up, but Lauren and Aaron didn’t have that kind of help.

Half of us called it at three laps (and went to Tommyknocker’s for lunch), while half the group went up for one more. Another great day in the books with great friends.

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