Berthoud Pass Training Day – 2014/01/11

Yesterday was about as good as it gets. Despite a forecast for particularly unpleasant weather, Hans and I went out as we were in need of a training day at altitude. We chose a low-angle, somewhat wind-sheltered area up at Berthoud Pass with the intent of cranking out 3,000′ or so of skinning, plus the ability to test out a couple things. It started out gray, snowy, and windy; we weren’t sure how long we would stick around, but at least we were out.

After breaking trail for 1,000′ from the car, we were treated to a decent (if not wind-affected) ski down to our chosen transition spot. Despite keeping one ski on to avoid sinking in, Hans punched in pretty deep and was forced to take both skis off to climb out of a hole.

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The weather was rather variable for most of the morning. The cold, gray, windy day was slowly giving way to sunny and clear, making for some spectacular views.

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After a few laps, our skintrack was pretty quick. By our sixth lap, it was a highway.

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The view from the top of our skintrack was impressive and a bit scary once things cleared out. Avalanches had run all over the area, mostly naturally, many full-path. NE through SE aspects near and above treeline had slid all up and down the pass. The crown in the first photo is likely on the order of 5-7m tall.

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By the end, we’d climbed 4,000′ over six laps and had some pretty fun skiing in much-nicer-than-expected weather. All in all, an amazing day.

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