My buddy and I began planning a trip to Colorado 4 months ago with very little details except a plane ticket to Denver. I had so many ideas as the months went by and got a lot of help from the epicski CO locals. Thanks again. I remember back in early November I posted something about having a good feeling in regards to snow in CO this year. They were due after the early season struggles of 2012/2013. CO has been doing very very well this year and we reaped the benefits big time!!!! We got very lucky in terms of timing as it snowed pretty much every day for days leading up to the trip and the first 2 days/nights while we were there. The storm blew out Monday night leaving partly cloudy skies for our last day on Tuesday and strong winds. This trip was not without difficulties however. First off, our last minute plan was to hunker down in Frisco and use the free shuttle to Copper mountain for the first two days due to the weather. The cheap hotels were booked for Sat night so we stayed in the quaint town of Georgetown. Bad idea. We got stuck while they did avalanche control for the tunnel in the morning and sat for over one hour in a big line of cars. We got to Copper on Sunday at 10am and headed to the advanced side of the mountain thinking we could still find some powder on the main runs of the Alpine lift. We found powder bumps and a whole lot of chop suey. Now, I had my fat skis with me and worked up quite a sweat in the bumps. It wasn't til the afternoon that we ventured up to the top into Resolution bowl which was pretty much more of the same. Very fun but not deep pow. Then late in the day we stumbled across Lillies traverse which led to Lillies G which was a moderate pitch of virtually untouched pow. That led to the Enchanted forest which was as fun as it sounds. Unfortunately we only got 2 runs back there before the lifts closed and we spent the rest of the time making our way back to the bottom. The snow was still coming down hard as the lifts closed on Sunday and my buddy and I looked at each other in the bar and said "Tomorrow is gonna be EPIC!!!!!!"
Monday morning we awoke at the Snowshoe motel in Frisco and jumped on the Summit stage shuttle directly in front of the hotel at 8:05am. We got to Copper and b-lined it for the American flyer lift with the intention to get to Union bowl first thing. In my excitement I screwed the pooch and boarded the American eagle lift instead. So we took the storm king tbar up to the traverse again and headed back to the enchanted forest. This was the beginning of the best ski day of my life... (sorry about the shaking, cheap camera)
We spent a lot of time hanging out with the gnomes in the Enchanted forest (no, I didnt sample any of what CO has legalized) until they opened up the west ridge. It was cool to see the explosions right next to us while they worked on it. Also, there was a huge crevasse on the way into Union meadows. With low visibility we couldnt tell if we were going to fall into it. But once we made it past that it just opened up into this huge field of untouched snow (as seen in the video). Felt like you were on the moon, really cool. The trees back there were sweet!!!! I also got a lot of practice with cornice drops. No video of the ones I actually landed . Copper mountain is a very special place and I know we only scratched the surface. I will be back.
Now our last day, tuesday, we decided to head to A Basin and hope that the east wall would open since the weather cleared up and they got a lot of snow. If it didnt we still wanted to check out all the other stuff there. So we made our way from Frisco at 8am and were doing well until a couple miles past Keystone. I started noticing a bunch of cars going in the opposite direction. I knew the other side to the pass was closed and there really isnt any significant lodging around there so I got a bad feeling. Then I saw the line of parked cars. An avalanche blew right over the road up ahead and they were working on clearing the debris. They told us 2 hours. So we went to a cafe in Keystone and ate another breakfast and waited. We go back up there about 1 hour 45 minutes later and they tell us "Its still going to be quite awhile." We almost called it a wash at that point but instead we rushed over to Loveland and got on the chairlift at 11:45 for $49. I didnt know anything about Loveland except that it doesnt do to well in poor visibility. With the weather clearing we had a lot of blue skies and great visibility. Turns out they just opened the entire top section at 10am. We looked up and saw a huge amount of wide open bowls with very few tracks. Some of the lower sections were chopped up but still very soft. We skied a few runs off chair 9 then traversed over to where the cat picks you up. Sure enough it began running but we didnt sign a waiver at the bottom since the lady at the ticket counter said the cat only runs wed-sun. We should've listened to the strange stoner that walked by while we were getting tickets yelling "She is gonna run today, she is gonna run!" So we ended up hiking a rocky path in the most persistent strong wind I have ever encountered. It doesnt let up, ever. My hands were ice cubes and I thought I was about to spit up a lung. Finally I stopped and took a look over the edge. Another over-hanging cornice with howling winds blowing a ton of snow down into it. It looke quite ominous. My buddy was up another 50 yards or so peering over his edge and was urging me to come up to him. You couldnt hear anything because of the wind but I yelled "Just go, dude. I'm fine here!!!!" There was a grizzled looking snowboarder that appeared behind me. He scooted in front of me on his butt and peered over for awhile. I looked up at my buddy and he dropped in but somehow avoided the overhanging portion and made a very smooth entry. He began sinking deeper and deeper with each turn and it looked quite fun. The snowboarder turned away and said "im going to look for another way down." I said "I think I'm just gonna go right here. F*** it" And I poled off and dropped what felt like 10 feet. I landed in the softest snow I could imagine, traversed for a second to gather my bearings, then began making turn after turn in steadily deepening powder. The snow was billowing up above my waist after a few turns. When I got to the bottom I stuck both my hands high into the air and let out a huge lion roar. It was quite a rush and to this point of my skiing career is the best single run of my life. Here are some pics:
Headwall upon first arriving to Loveland. We finally figured out how to get there after missing it several times. There was a small opening in the ropes behind it.
The snowboarder and my buddy after the hike:
View looking the other way from the top:
My tracks from the bottom looking up after my lion roar (center):
And to think we almost called the trip over after the avalanche fiasco!!! I returned home after midnight that night. I laid in bed with a grin on my face and hardly slept at all. The next morning I battled heavy traffic on my Wednesday commute from Orange county to LA. Didnt bother me. People cutting me off left and right... didnt phase me in the slightest. People tailgaiting me... no problem. Even the music on the radio seemed to sound better. The Power of the Powder... it IS that good.