Crested Butte

Over the Xmas break Brian and I were in desperate need of something to look forward to, so I set out on booking not one, but three vacations.  The first one of the year we ended up going to the “Big Gay Ski Trip” put on by one of the Denver gays.  This year he decided to go to Crested Butte.  I have been there a few times in the summer to go mountain biking, but have never had the chance to snowboard there.  So when we found out about this trip I jumped at the opportunity.

It turned out to be a reasonably priced weekend since we were able to get 2 day lift tickets for only $99 at Costco, and the guy was able to negotiate a decent price at one of the hotels at the base of the mountain.  About the worst part of going to Crusty Butt is the 4+ hour drive (took us over 4.5 because it was dark and Monarch pass was slippery)

Crested Butte has an amazing small mountain vibe to it.  It’s definitely not like the stuffy vibe you get at Aspen or Vail.  To contribute to that small mountain feel was snow banks that had to be at least 6′ tall and the impressive Crested Butte mountain that springs up form the town.  We stayed at the Grand Lodge which is only a 2 minute walk, had a hot tub, mini kitchen, king size bed, and a murphy bed (we didn’t use this since our friends ended up not going).img_20170210_110328611

The first day we ended up just doing all blue runs since my back was giving me problems and Brian was still getting over a sinus infection.  I was surprised how well he did with the elevation and not being able to breath that well.  It was a sunny slushy day snowboarding and their blue runs are quite fun.  I was able to occasionally dip into the trees for a bit of fun in there.  I also gave their freestyle track a try and boy was that fun.  You can get going really fast through those corners.  We ended up skiing until around 3, then headed down for après, hot tub, and then dinner at Bonez (I thought it was going to be barbecue but it was a cool Mexican restaurant with excellent margaritas.img_20170210_113527888_hdr

The second day we had a bit of a rough time.  Brian wasn’t feeling so good but decided to go up and try anyways.  Big mistake.  After going down the first run to the Paradise warming hut, he knew he was done for the day.  He just didn’t know how he was going to be able to get down .. do I try to make it down by myself? Take a sled down with the ski patrol? Or, do I find a way to get down with the lifts?  We attempted to get down using the lifts, but after taking one lift up that looked like it was next to one that could take us to the base, we discovered he would have to hike up a short hill .. not a good option.  So, he ended up toughing it out and going down their awful green runs (They are too flat with too many people)img_20170211_154728_316After I got him situated in the room, I headed back up the mountain to try and see what all the excitement over their double blacks was about (Crested Butte is known for it’s steep and deep terrain).  To get to most of the fun terrain in CB you end up on one of the two T-Bars (which I haven’t done in a few years).  I ended up taking the North Face T-Bar to get back to the North Face wall and the Spellbound Bowl.   Crested Butte definitely lived up to the steep and deep over there.  I had two amazing runs and was stunned by the scenery.  But, after that my back had been jarred enough and I decided to quit while I could still make it down the mountain. cb

 

 

Boarding @ Silverton Mountain

My brother and I decided finally to do a trip to Silverton to go Boarding.  I’ve been wanting to do this trip for about two years now.  Pretty much since I went with my friends down there but I didn’t think my skill level was good enough to take on the mountain (Turns out it really wasn’t).  We make our plans and booked a day for guided boarding, one Heli trip, and the rental for the back country gear needed to ride the mountain.

I had a few days of PTO that I needed to use up at work so I headed out of Boulder on Thursday afternoon.  Zip stayed with his step daddy in Denver and played with Dakota while I was gone.

Thursday I headed down to Ouray to watch the ice climbers.  I was there for a few hours thinking that this may be a sport for me to take up soon.  It’s pretty neat to watch them, especially the one that did a mixed climb from the bottom up using ice screws and some of the bolts on the rock.

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After freezing my toes off at Ouray Ice Park I headed back down valley a few miles and soaked at my favorite hot springs Orvis Hot Springs for a few hours.  I love that lil treasure of a place.  Then I headed to Silverton for the night and met up with Spence and his friends.

Friday we at breakfast at Brown Bear Café then headed up to Silverton Mountain for our adventure.  After getting our rental gear (You have to have an avalanche beacon, shovel, and probe before they will let you anywhere on the mountain) and getting grouped up with a guide we headed up the rickety old lift to the top of the mountain.  In our group we had Spencer, his friends Jake and Matt, our guide Mariah, the three Spaniards, and myself.

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The first run we went down was Riff Raff and holy hell was that steep.  I didn’t realize Silverton was going to be that steep of a mountain.  After that first run we lost one of our crew for the rest of the day.  He was in a little over his head.  The snow on Silverton this time of the year was pretty difficult to deal with.  Variable conditions where it would be hard pack one second then soft the next, and then hard pack again where a big ol chunk of snow would break off under you.

Shack at the Top of the lift at Silverton MountainSkier looking at the view from the top of the lift at Silverton MountainMe at the top of the lift at Silverton Mountain

The next run we went down (I think) was RMYP.  Not really sure what it stands for.  But it was a fun run with a bit of small trees to go around.  Sort of like a glade … only once again really steep.  Then we got to go for a hike on our next run and a tricky traverse which all of us snowboarders ate it at the same spot and had to get up and get going again.  We then boarded down to an area called the Maze.  It was a pretty interesting gully which at the bottom you have to go through some boulders with a gap of about 10 feet.  Quite the chute and the skiers had a hell of a time with it.  Though this one part was difficult for skiers, the rest of the mountain seemed to be made for them.  It made me really want to pick up some and learn how to ski so I can take on the steep mountains (not to mention back country is a lot easier to get around if you ski)

Making the climb up to our Traverse

After those runs we were pretty much done for the day as far as energy goes … only three runs and it was only noon.  All I can say is that mountain takes a hell of a lot out of you.  After a short lunch break we met up with our guide and worked it out so we could do our Heli drop.  We all loaded into the helicopter (Spencer, Matt, our guide Mariah, and I) and took off for a ride with some amazing views.  You could see the snow covered San Juan peaks for miles and miles.  Our pilot touched down and we got out crouching to the ground and held our gear down tight as the helicopter lifted off right beside us.  After he was away I snapped a few shots with my camera, then we hiked along the ridge line for a short bit and strapped in.

Loading up in the HeliView of the Base areaRidgeline the helicopter dropped us off onLookin out the helicopterView of Silverton Moutnain from the ridge we were dropped off onGroup Shot from heli drop

The Bowl she took us to can have some serious avalanche problems, so we went one by one with the next person going only after the one before him was safely down below in the trees.  It was loads of fun boarding through the deep snow (The only decent snow we had had all day)  And after a great run I got to the rest of them ( I was the last in the group) and had a major cramp in my leg.  Once again we had to go down another section one by one and I was last (I needed it to try to deal with my cramp) then we met up on the cat track and boarded our way down to the pickup point with the bus to take us back to base.

Back at base we got us some stickers and other goodies, a beer, and then all lined up for a shotski to close off the day.

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I can’t wait to come back to Silverton but hopefully next time they have some better snow Smile  And I’d recommend anyone to take a heli drop.  It’s worth the $159

…… Also … I would recommend a stop at Orvis Hot Springs on the way home.  It’s nice to soak in the lobster pot to loosen up your legs Smile

Causalities of Having Fun

Most of my family and friends already know about this.  But, I thought I should put it down on my blog anyways….

Last November I was snowboarding with a friend at Keystone in Colorado.  It was a very icy day and they had just opened up the back side of the mountain.  I tried getting around a slow skier and my board lost hold on the ice and sent me sliding down the mountainside.  I tried digging in with my board and that caused me to flip backwards pretty hard.  I guess i landed on my wrist because it started hurting.  I thought I had just sprained it.  This is the mentality I took all the way through till mid February when I decided I should get it checked out since it was still hurting and if it was broke I wanted it fixed before mountain biking season started (My real passion)

After going and having it X-Rayed by the Orthopedic surgeon here in Summit County I found out it was definitely broke.  Not only was it broke but it had never healed.  Also since it had never healed I had a cyst that grew in the break.  Therefore they were going to have to operate on me.  They ended up doing a bone graph and screwing the bone back together.  Luckily i live in summit county and had it done here since they have good orthopedic surgeons that deal with this a lot due to all the ski areas around here.

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I am now in a cast for the next 10+ weeks and they are going to try to get me approved for a bone stimulator.  I won’t be biking till June/July so that really sucks.  But, I am able to board, hike, backpack, snowshoe, and other things like that.  Basically anything that doesn’t put too much pressure on my wrist.

I’ll actually be going on a week long backpacking trip in a week down at Canyonlands N.P.  So that should be fun and will also probably be my next post on here.

Playing in what little snow we have

The past few weeks I’ve been trying to get outside as much as I possibly can.  First I went back country snowboarding with my friends Jerimiah and Lance.  Then, I spent a few days up on the slopes at Keystone and Breckenridge.  I need to limit the trails I go on until we get some decent snow.  The last time I went up with friends to Breckenridge they took me up the T-Bar to close to the top of Peak 8 at Breckenridge.  It was a nice view up there, but, the way down sort of tore up my board 😦  I think I have at least 3-4 new scratches on the board.  I guess I should have taken the older board up instead.

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Through the week Karma, Craig, and I went to a few of the UllrFest activities Ullr is thought as the god of snow/skiing.  Tuesday they had a bonfire and then Thursday they had the ullrympics where Craig and Nate were on the team that won 3rd place.  They got some beer and some Ullr (a Nordic libation with cinnamon and peppermint schnapps).

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Then last weekend I went with my friend Dan XC Skiing for my first time.  Not only was it my first time XC Skiing, but, it was also my first time on ski’s period.  It sure was a good time though.  I have a bit of a learning curve to get over and I’m sure I’ll end up wrecking a few times more and hurting myself a bit more.  But hopefully not too much more.

Then yesterday I took Zip out snowshoeing up a canyon.  I left around 4 and didn’t end up doing the whole trail because I was running out of time.  Good thing though since I had taken a wrong turn and would have ended up in Keystone rather than the loop I was going to do.  I know where I took the wrong turn and I had made the mistake of going with the flow of traffic (more footsteps).   But now I have the Topo’s loaded on the GPS and ready to go for next time.

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