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Skiing Vasquez Cirque @ WP/MJ

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

I've been to WP/MJ twice, but have not had a chance to ski in Vasquez Cirque, but it looks like fun terrain. I was there the other day and while skiing Belle Fourche I was eyeing the ridge the whole time. My counterpart wasn't up for the adventure because we didn't know what was ahead of us. 


For those of you that are WP/MJ skiers, what can you tell me about skiing Vasquez Cirque? 

How late in the season until it opens?

What is the hike/skate like? Long, easy, flat, uphill?

Where are the good spots to drop in, at the beginning or further along the ridge/away from the lift?

What does it compare to in CO? (Zuma bowl cornice side, Pali, Lake Chutes, Whales Tail)


I'm a CO Pass skier, so I don't get to WP/MJ often, but if the Cirque is as fun as it looks, I might have to go more often.

post #2 of 3

I've skied the Cirque a few times.  After the initial short climb it's pretty much a flat 20/10 minute walk/skate to the first opportunity to drop in.  You can go out nearly twice as far if you want.  The pay off is slightly longer and steeper lines.  The lines are pretty short and it's a long run out to the Eagle Wind chair.  Similar runs that I've skied would Patrol Chute at Copper or The Chutes at Mary Jane.  I think most of the lines are a lot tighter than the cornice side of 'Zuma Bowl.


Seems to me that it doesn't usually open until mid January or so.


Yeah, it's fun skiing but it's a big investment in time to get out there and back.  I didn't ski it once this year in 23 days.  Definitely worth checking out on a good day though if you're so inclined.


Hope some locals chime in here with more complete info.

post #3 of 3

Have skied the Cirque a number of times.

1. it's mostly a flat walk, but long. (not nearly as strenuous as Taos) As long as you are enjoying the scenery (and the views are amazing), you can make it a leisurely walk and it's not a big deal

2. but it is a short ride for a long walk. The part you actually make turns on is very short

3. The run out to Eagle wind is a lot better than the old way to Vasquez Ridge, but it's still a long luge-type run through the trees. Kinda fun on skis, but hell on a snowboard. Just keep em going.

4. If you are lucky you can hitch a ride with ski patrol snow mobile that has a rope tow behind it. (at the top, not the runout)

5. It is easier IMO than the MJ chutes. wider and fewer surprise features. I can't compare to the places you mention, but would put it at a lot like Juarez or Ninos Heros at Taos. Or Mirkwood basin at Monarch. (only Mirkwood doesn't seem to be as exposed, so the conditions may be more challenging than Mirkwood.

6. You can see pretty much all the lines on the walk over and can pick the one that looks the most fun, or easiest or whatever you are looking for. .

7. The most important thing to consider when deciding where to drop in is the aspect relative to sun and wind. Not all that hard depending on snow conditions. It can get crusted, wind blown, patchy, frozen, etc.


Have fun and take photos to share with us when you go!

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