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school me on Breckenridge's Lake Chutes

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
I'm heading to Breck in a couple of weeks and have been doing some research on Lake Chutes.  I've seen the promotional videos as well as a wide variety of videos on Youtube.  The scariest video is some guy eating it up top and not coming to a stop until he lands on a rock at the bottom of the run.  Then there is a video of some 9 year old who is able to get down with no issues.  I'm a veteran skier and think I have the ability to navigate from top to bottom, but some of the stuff looks pretty scary (50' drop off of a cornice into a boulder littered run).  My buddy and I would like to do Lake Chutes but I'm looking for some first hand guidance so that I don't get in too far over my head.  What is the easiest way down after the hike?  Are there some double blacks that we should practice on at Breck before attempting the death defying feat that is Lake Chutes?  Thanks for the help!!!
post #2 of 17
There are a number of lines in the Lake Chutes.  There is not that much vertical.  And there is only one section with a near vertical cornice, which is called Elevator Shaft. 

After the hike, you will find yourself on the ridge top.  As you head down the ridge, you should pass up the first chute which empties into Imperial Bowl.  Head on around.  I've not skied the Lake Chutes this season, as the snow has been pretty low and only filled in in the last two weeks (coupled with the fact that I dislocated my shoulder the week before last :( ).  The lines through the rock bands are Crazy Ivan's 1-8.  I don't know how they are skiing now.  There was too little snow in there a couple of weeks ago for me to ski them. I imagine you might be able to find your way through it, but at that time you would have risked scraping a ski off and then you have the consequences of that.

The big wide chute is called Zoot Chute.  It's the easiest line through the Lake Chutes (other than right off the top into Imperial).  If you move to the east side of Zoot Chute, you'll see Elevator Shaft with the very big near vertical cornice.  Off of the nose are some treacherous lines through the rocks, including Vertical Chute.  I have never skied those, and probably never will, as the consequences of hitting a rock in there are pretty dire.

You can continue on around the nose and down to the saddle beyond, an area that is known as Magic Carpet.  This is pretty low-angle stuff that can have a bit of untracked, depending on when you hit it.  You do need to be careful about the area below the saddle in the flat, however, as the wind generally takes the snow close to ground and there can be rocks.

Breck has lots of interesting terrain.  Enjoy, and be careful in reading terrain.  There are things out there that can "get" you.

If you want to ski terrain that is as challenging as the Lake Chutes without the hike, you can ski Lulu's in Horseshoe Bowl (off of the T-Bar) or many lines off of the top of Peak 7 (Y chutes, Magic Carpet, Tele, Sadies, or Arte's Bowle accessed off of the Imperial Chair).

One thought -- you might consider a group lesson.  A great benefit of the group lessons is being guided to the best terrain and snow.  Breck is a big place, and can have lots of weather affected snow, so a guide can help you a lot to find and read the terrain.
Mike
post #3 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the help Mike.  I know what you mean about things "getting" you.  I just got back from Breck.  Last Friday I took the t-bar up and skiied the first run to the right called Pika.  The first 3 or 4 turns were magical.  The snow was fresh and deep.  Then all of a sudden I hit a rock.  My left hand and right quad to the brunt of the impact and luckily I didn't have any serious injuries, just a little blood and some bruises (and a broken buckle on my right boot). 

How am I supposed to dodge things that are hiding under the surface of the snow?  If I could turn back time, I can't say for sure that I would have noticed it even knowing that it was there.  That is the first time that anything like that has happened to me and it is what scares me the most about Lake Chutes. 

I ended that day a little early so that I could ice my leg and examine my injuries.  Luckily Breck kept getting more snow and I was able to ski Saturday and Sunday.  The runs off of chair 6 and the E chair were pretty awesome.  I can't wait to get back, I just don't want to hit any more rocks.
post #4 of 17
 TB

I suspect you were riding the far right side of Pika.  The wind tends to scour that side, so you need to either be very careful or ski the middle/left next to the snow fence.  At a place like Breck, where there can be a lot of wind that affects the open areas, you need to a) have good skills in reading terrain and b) some knowledge of where the rock bands tend to be.  Even then, you can find stuff that isn't apparent.  I hit a hidden rock at the top of Lulu 3 weeks ago and slid pretty much the length of Horseshoe Bowl.

Don't be too spooked by your experience.  I do, however, think it is worth it to drop $120 on a group lesson.  Try to ski with Jonathan Lawson, Mark Bagby, or Carl Richter out of Peak 8.  They can give you a real perspective on the terrain.

Mike
post #5 of 17
Thread Starter 
It was on the far right side of Pika, very close to the T-bar.  I wouldn't mind taking a lesson at all, but I'm going with a friend, it is a whirlwind budget constricted ski trip, and we are only going to be at Breck for 1 day.  I'll ask my buddy about it, but we'll probably just ask ski patrol for a little guidance and go from there. 
post #6 of 17
As Mike points out, there are lots of places with rocks just below the surface. Then there are places right beside with knee deep. It really helps to scope out the area before it snows, which I understand isn't always an option. I always ski the top of Breck in a defense mode as you really don't know when you are going to hit something, even on the deepest of days.

Asking patrol is a good idea, although they can be fairly vague. PM me when you are approaching. Maybe we could meet up. I looked into Lake Chutes on Friday and kept going as the visibility was terrible. All that snow! and the fog on top of that. Pleny of great skiing elsewhere, though, huh? I was at Vail coaching on Monday and was able to enjoy untracked after the race until I couldn't ski any more.
post #7 of 17
Thread Starter 
Skiing was awesome at Breck last weekend.  I'm hoping you guys keeping getting dumped on in the next few weeks.  Thanks for the offer, I'll shoot you a PM when it gets a little closer to my next trip.
post #8 of 17
I am in the last of 3 weeks out here in Summit County.  Breck has picked up about 4 feet of snow since I've been here, so you can imagine the skiing has been good.  The Breck bowls are skiing great.  This past Monday with 5 inches new, the snow in the Whales Tale and into the Y-Chutes was fantastic.  I have seen quite a few skiers in the Lake Chutes, but I haven't been in there myself so can't comment on conditions there.
post #9 of 17

When you get off the Imperial Chairlift dont go to far to the right, go down close to the chair lift the first few times and work yourself to the right. Also, you have to hike to alot of those bowls such as Lake Chutes.

post #10 of 17
Quote:
Jonathan Lawson no longer works at Breck.   If you want to hit all of the steeps, I suggest you go to Peak 9 and take the level 9 lesson from Franz.  His groups ski the Lake Chutes regularly and he knows those places like no one else.  As Mike said, it is worth $120.00 to go with someone who knows those places. It's much more fun.
Mike, you said Magic Carpet off the saddle, but did you mean Snow White?
 
 
Originally Posted by habacomike View Post

 TB

I suspect you were riding the far right side of Pika.  The wind tends to scour that side, so you need to either be very careful or ski the middle/left next to the snow fence.  At a place like Breck, where there can be a lot of wind that affects the open areas, you need to a) have good skills in reading terrain and b) some knowledge of where the rock bands tend to be.  Even then, you can find stuff that isn't apparent.  I hit a hidden rock at the top of Lulu 3 weeks ago and slid pretty much the length of Horseshoe Bowl.

Don't be too spooked by your experience.  I do, however, think it is worth it to drop $120 on a group lesson.  Try to ski with Jonathan Lawson, Mark Bagby, or Carl Richter out of Peak 8.  They can give you a real perspective on the terrain.

Mike
post #11 of 17
Yep, should've been snow white. Magic carpet is off of peak 7' which can also be accessed off of imperial, but is over the whales tail rather than off of the top of 8 requiring the hike up.

Mike
post #12 of 17

Are the lake chutes still open and are they expected to be open into the first week of april?

post #13 of 17

They appear to be open. I do not know how much snow is in there, nor how they are holding up with the warm weather.  They do have a more northerly aspect.  Pray for snow!

 

Mike

post #14 of 17

I skied the "Zoot Chute" Wednesday, hard pack.

post #15 of 17

Do people mostly just straightline zoot chute or make turns?  Is it bumpy/crud after the drop in?  I haven't really gotten I good idea looking at pictures, and I'm definatley going to ski that line when I am there. 

post #16 of 17
Few straight line it. It is steep enough that the bumps tend to be relatively small. I have not skied it this year, however.
post #17 of 17

All lifts and all trails seemed to be open today, btw. Including everything off of the hike on Imperial. Zoot in particular looked in quite nice condition with a fairly smooth surface.

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