Mod note: Posts before 10/14 were moved with cooperation of the OP from another thread because it's such a good discussion but off-topic for that thread. Here's the actual OP (Opening Post) for this thread, which can be found in Post #15
Moving a conversation that began in another thread (http://www.epicski.com/t/142966/monarch-in-feb-is-it-enough-for-a-father-and-son-from-nh-vt/30#post_1923583) to its own for easier access in the future. Thanks to the already great advice shared there by @anachronism , @bounceswoosh , @Roadrash and others. Planning thread now, trip report thread in a few months.
This winter I'm giving myself an early 30th birthday present this year: buying snow tires for the AWD van, taking a few days off work, dialing in my winter camping setup and going skiing for a week in SW Colorado.
Undecided, but probably end of Feburary to maximize coverage. It will depend on some other ski adventures timing (mother coming out to ski, and a shorter trip to Grand Targhee to visit a friend).
Skiing some combination of the following mountains:
- Monarch. 3 free days on my Loveland pass. Likely only use 1 on this trip as my ski buddies intend to do a weekend down there as well. Particularly excited about the terrain in Mirkwood.
- Wolf Creek. Iconic and on-route. Will hopefully give me a rare opportunity to ski my 128mm underfoot BD Megawatts.
- Purgatory. 3 free days, and near Durango. I have old friends from grad school who just moved there and can put me up / let things dry out for a few days.
- Silverton. Expensive in guided season, but potentially worth it? Maybe more for the experience than the skiing. Unable to get there during unguided season (and having a guide in terrain like that sounds pretty a-okay to me.)
- Powderhorn. 3 free days. Potentially on route depending on whether I go to Silverton and wish to brave Red Mountain Pass. Small, but is said to hold freshies days after the most recent storm.
I'll be traveling and usually sleeping in Bessie the Astro van.
I use the leg-cut-off folding white table, a folded down back seat, and the home-made table in the back as a bed platform. Ski gear goes underneath. All rear windows get covered in Reflectix for a bit of added warmth and to keep out the light. I'll generally stealth camp in towns along the way: Salida, South Fork, Pagosa, Silverton and near Powderhorn.
Still dialing in my winter sleeping setup. A -20 bag and extra blankets I've already got. They go on top of a foldable foam mattress from Cabela's. Toying with the idea of an aux. battery setup recharged via the alternator / an isolation switch. I'd power an electric blanket over night. Or perhaps go a cheaper way and use a small Mr Buddy Little Buddy propane heater to warm up the van in the evening / morning (but not leave on overnight.)
Two options depending on what mountains I end up tackling:
- Option 1 -- the out and back -- skips skiing Silverton / Powderhorn if conditions do not warrant such. https://goo.gl/maps/QueEPeyCw7A2 . ~14 hours total driving + winter time.
- Option 1 alt -- Out and back. Same idea with recommended (by @segbrown and others) "night" return route along 160 to Walsenburg. https://goo.gl/maps/Dy25DeoN5QC2
- Option 2 -- The full monty. Ski all the resorts, tackle Red Mountain Pass. A bit longer, but two more new-to-me ski areas. https://goo.gl/maps/5wii6T6Npb62
Just me. So if you're on the planned route and available to ski / show me around it'd be great. Especially for places like Monarch and Wolf where a buddy would be very helpful.
- Why is Crested Butte left off?! Because I'll be headed there for a long weekend in March with my ski crew and families. All the free days will be used up then.
- Money situation -- tight but workable. I'll be cooking some in the van, eating out a little bit, and using bars post-ski to dry out/have a drink. I'd like to pay for no more than 2 days of lift tickets. If I ski Silverton, and everything is perfect, I may fork up the dollars for a single helidrop.
To Be Determined:
- What snow tires to get that fit on OE Astro rims (215/75-15, or alt. 225/70-15, 225/75-15 or 235/70-15)?
- Do I do the SW Colorado trip first, or the trip to Grand Targhee / Driggs?
- Winter sleeping comforts. I won't die without either an electric blanket via aux battery, or a small propane heater, but a bit of morning comfort before a ski days is always a nice thing.
- The route / what to ski. Likely a game-time decision I'll stay flexible on. I'll come prepared for all possibilities including beacon/shovel/probe for Silverton or other gnarly days.
Welcome all tips / beta / reports regarding either planned route, planned skiing, winter van camping, or snow tires. More details as decisions get made, and then photos from the road.
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First post moved from other thread
I think 6 days (2 at Monarch or Purg depending on weather) of continuous skiing is already going to be pushing it on my legs. Plus I have some old friends who just moved to Durango to see for a bit who (crazy enough) don't ski.