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Gnarly Runs Near Denver

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

I am getting ready to plan 4 day trip to the Denver area this Feb. Planning to shred some steeps. Anyone know where the gnarliest most technical terrain one might find? Also, which resort provides the most challenge?

post #2 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by IrishDog View Post

I am getting ready to plan 4 day trip to the Denver area this Feb. Planning to shred some steeps. Anyone know where the gnarliest most technical terrain one might find? Also, which resort provides the most challenge?


That question is best posed at the TGR forums, thank you.
post #3 of 13

It depends how far from Denver you're willing to drive and whether you're talking resorts only or BC.  Crested Butte, for example.  But yes, TGR is a better place to ask this question - just remember that things people say on the internet shouldn't hurt your feelings.

post #4 of 13

If you want to stick close to Denver then for recreational in-bounds you might consider Arapaho Basin's bump runs in Pali section and hike-to East Wall, Winter Park's chutes around Vasquez Cirque and bump runs in Mary Jane section, Loveland's hike-to Ridge, and there are some steep glades at Eldora.  Good stuff up high at Copper and Breck too, maybe others will chime in about those two.  I don't know much about non-resort back-country gnar in the Front Range, but for that you're talking beacons, shovels, etc.

post #5 of 13

Backcountry that is easy to get to.  100's at berthoud are decent, (red dot),  The choke is not real long but steep with a choke section that you have to straight line.   Russel peak (no name) Steeps up there,,   . all easily hike and ski within the same square mile.   Loveland pass, Grizzley peak to Lawnee,(or hike over the top of Abasin to Lawnee, Not sure if I spelled it correctly).  You could easily do Loveland pass with no knowledge of the area because most everything can be seen from the top or on the drive up (just bring your gear and a partner) . Berthoud pass is a little trickier but should be tons of BC skiers up there every day so, just tag along (that's what I did the first couple of times).  

 

Resort,  go to A basin hit the North poll, that's a good one, Pali was already mentioned, but will keep you busy half a day with different lines, some other good stuff on the back of Abasin, Brek has some great steeps.  I hear the bowls at copper are good,  for the best top to bottom bumps around that are pretty steep Winterpark (maryjane side) is aces. Outhouse is a must and then just camp out at the challenger lift and hit any of the bump runs around that lift. (Winterpark also gets a little more snow than any of the other resorts)

 

post #6 of 13

Define gnarly. Lake shoots at breck are steep but are wide open and reasonably easy to ski. A Basin's east wall is probably the closest to gnarly but is rarely open, usually towards the end of season. Aspen highlands (long drive tho) has a lot of steeps all over the place, not necessarily very gnarly. Crested Butte is gnarly but really far out. Next time consider places like  SLC, Taos, Bozeman Montana, or Kicking Horse BC. They have gnarliness in spades, w/o crowds and often at much lower prices.

 

 

post #7 of 13

There are lines in the Lake Chutes that definitely meet the test of gnarly, and are rarely skied.  Depending on the wind and snow, Elevator Shaft can be more or les 40 feet of free air into a wide but steep chute.  There's lines on the nose that definitely are steep and do not fall.  The Ivans can be skied in a manner that has serious consequences if you fall.

 

But back to the question:  what do you mean by gnarly?  Some people mean slopes above 45 degrees.  There's a few in-bound lines that meet that criteria.  If you mean with major hucks and rocks to be dodged, there's fewer of those, but I've mentioned a few above.  If you mean tight steeps with trees, there's a few of those as well.  So, might you provide a bit more context of what you're looking for?

 

No doubt, CB has gnarly.  It also is not close to Denver.

 

Mike

post #8 of 13

Mary Jane does have long, good bump runs, but not that high on the gnarly factor. However, the Chutes off the Challenger chair (Hole in the Wall; Jeff's chute, etc.) are up there. There are some pretty gnraly tree lines off the Eagle Wind Chair as well.

 

At Copper, you can take a free cat ride and then hike up the ridge on the far side of the bowl for some short but very gnarly-esque lines thru rock bands.

 

Aspen Mountain and Highlands.

 

Crested Butte has more of it and boasts the steepest lift-served (no hiking) named run in the US, but while in Colorado, it is not close to Denver.

 

The best place in Colorado for gnarly runs and tons of them is Silverton.

 

 

post #9 of 13

I-70 back to Denver on Sunday.

post #10 of 13

Nice call - that's the gnarliest line of them all.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Laurel Hill Crazie View Post

I-70 back to Denver on Sunday.



 

post #11 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by habacomike View Post

There are lines in the Lake Chutes that definitely meet the test of gnarly, and are rarely skied.  Depending on the wind and snow, Elevator Shaft can be more or les 40 feet of free air into a wide but steep chute.  There's lines on the nose that definitely are steep and do not fall.  The Ivans can be skied in a manner that has serious consequences if you fall.

 

But back to the question:  what do you mean by gnarly?  Some people mean slopes above 45 degrees.  There's a few in-bound lines that meet that criteria.  If you mean with major hucks and rocks to be dodged, there's fewer of those, but I've mentioned a few above.  If you mean tight steeps with trees, there's a few of those as well.  So, might you provide a bit more context of what you're looking for?

 

No doubt, CB has gnarly.  It also is not close to Denver.

 

Mike

It is true that Lake chutes can have some gnarly chutes, especially the cornice before the Nose (I think it is beyond gnarly, more like extreme). But there are quite a few nice and steep lines
with a number of rock and cliffs (but nothing obligatory) to play with off the nose (second pic). the problem is that to get to these places you have to take the Imperial lift, which is crowded quite a bit when it is open (and it is closed a lot), and then hike about 5 to 10 min, depending how fast you are at 13000 feet. And all the runs from there are pretty short. Otherwise there is not much gnarliness in Breck.


P1010444.JPGP1010446.JPG

 

 ABasin is definitely better. East wall has a few steep, not too narrow chutes of good length. But the hike is at least 15 min at 13000 feet altitude, if you are in excellent shape and most people it takes about 30-40 min to get to Notch 1 ( has a nice choke in the middle) and the North pole. Staircase and Snorkel are even harder hiking wise. East wall is often closed and sometimes opens only in march. If it is open definitely worth a hike or two.P1010462.JPGP1010458.JPG

 

 

From Pali lift at Abasin there are a few gnarlish steep lines right next to the lift in the trees to the right with some choke points and big rocks.P1010467.JPGP1010477.JPG

Hope it will help.

 

post #12 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by jaytierney View Post

Nice call - that's the gnarliest line of them all.
 



 



 

Standard punch line, no?

post #13 of 13

Couldn't say, I don't live there, I only visit Denver on occasion and have experienced it.

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