Despite an unstable snow pack and a relatively bad snow year, Powder Addiction out of the Village at Winter Park served up a Delicious helping of whipped cream powder on Jones Pass for us this week.
The day started at 7:40 as we gathered with a couple of other folks at Powder Addiction's office in the Village at Winter Park. We loaded a van and drove the 20 or so minutes over Berthoud Pass to the Jones Pass parking lot just above Berthoud Falls. There we met up with more clients and guides and transferred to the very nice snow-cat for our first ride up. The excitement and nerves were palpable. (At least my nerves were!)
First of all, the territory where they operate is stunning in its beauty. Mostly high alpine, it is a very large cirque, reminding us a little of the top of Silverton with dramatic peaks and endless fields of pillowy looking snow and the occasional winding stream bed below.
Jamie Wolter, who used to be with Berthoud Pass when it still operated is the proprietor and lead guide, or Ski Boss. He has an infectious enthusiasm for what he does and that translates to all his guides. At the same time, it is obvious that safety is his main concern. In this bad snow-pack year, that was very comforting to us.
The first run was a relatively quick ride up and down in an open bowl, most likely to get the jitters out of the clients and not keep them in the cat too long for the first go. The snow was completely untracked and creamy smooth. It is the first few clips on the video. Then we went back up for the signature run between "Kittie's Ears" a perfect moniker for a couple of rock outcroppings. After that we did a few more until they took us through a some widely spaced trees (couldn't really call it a 'tree run') and we all loved it so much we did it three times. And each time the tracks were fresh, it was so big.
To give a sense of scale, Jamie said their territory is 2800 acres for 12 skiers vs. Winter Park/Mary Jane at 3300 acres for thousands in a day.
Lunch was provided by Back Bowl soup and sandwich company, whose proprietor Woody joined us. We did not stop for lunch as everyone was having so much fun, so we just nibbled on the rides up. The sandwiches were excellent and not the usual fare.
The day ended after 9 glorious runs and a ride back to HQ for a free beer in celebration.
I should add that six of the guests were women, which was really nice. All of them wonderful skiers and great fun. To a person, everyone was enthusiastic, fun, nice, smart, making for a truly joyous day.
Highly recommend Powder Addiction!