Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Wow - 14 inches!

As of 1 p.m. today, an efficient snowstorm dumped 14 inches of snow at Beaver Creek and 12 inches at Vail in 24 hours. More snow is predicted through tomorrow.

A day of torture

I've been thinking it all day. And now Biz Ed Joanna Bean has given it voice. Her e-mail says it all:

"This is torture. We skiied Sunday at Monarch on marginal, grass, chopped up moguls, wind-scoured runs. Now I'm sitting at work looking at the Monarch web site, which says 13 inches have fallen in the past 24 hours. And it looks like it's still snowing."

It'll be cold, cold, cold tomorrow, but this weekend... Who among us won't be out there Saturday and/or Sunday!?!?
(Thanks to Dave Nagel of Monarch Mountain for the sweet photo)

Sled down, 'shoe up

This Friday (Feb. 2), we're featuring a snowshoe-sledding combo at Mueller State Park in the Happy Trails column in Out There. I've heard from avid sledders that snowshoes might be a necessity if you're headed to Mueller to sled. There's so much snow there that it's hard to walk back up the hill after you've slid down. Sledding is especially good this year at two other locations up the pass: Meadow Wood Park in Woodland Park (gentle slope that empties onto sports fields), and a popular area off Rampart Range Road (a deep bowl that's more advanced, where someone has built up some ramps and jumps). To get to MeadowWood, take 24 west to Woodland; turn right on 67, then left on Evergreen Heights Drive. Park entrance is on your right. To get to the Rampart bowl, take 24 west to Woodland, turn right at McDonald's. Where the road forks, stay left and watch for sledding area.

Two days of snow forecasts and no snow

Is Colorado Springs back to its old winter pattern, where the weather forecasters say snow is coming, and then nothing happens? Seems like it. Tuesday we were supposed to get snow. Wednesday too. But all we have is cold, cold cold.
Fortunately, the mountains are in better shape. Monarch and Breck both picked up 5 inches last night. Beaver Creek picked up 8. Vail, 7 . This year's weather patterns really seem to be favoring the Beav.
What's coming in the next few days? Patterns seem to be favoring the northern and central mountains. Summit County is expecting another 3 to 6 inches today. Snow remains in the forecast for the next five days.
It could be a great weekend to ski, especially Sunday, when most people will be watching the Super Bowl. Just bring plenty of layers. Highs won't get above 20 degrees.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Inversion layer or smog??

Apparently Dave and Christian weren't just slagging on Salt Lake City (see post below about their trip to the Outdoor Retailers shindig last Friday). Others are talking about the haze hanging over what normally is one pretty city with a fab view.

From the AP:
SALT LAKE CITY -- Utah’s world-class mountain peaks have been barely visible at times from the floor of the Salt Lake valley. A winter storm that won’t quit? No, it’s nasty pollution that just won’t blow away.

Northern Utah’s valleys have been smothered by an “inversion,” a blanket of warm air that keeps cold air close to the ground and traps everything: car exhaust, factory emissions, even hard-to-see particles from furnaces or a cozy fireplace.

Together they form a cloudy shroud that has been described as soup, gunk, smog -- and a few other titles that can’t be printed.

Salt Lake and Davis counties, home to more than 1 million people, have been under a “red” alert for 16 days in January. Some schools have kept kids off the playground. There were only 3 red days posted for Salt Lake and Davis counties last winter, compared to 25 this season.

What's the remedy for all this? Just as Dave noted, a stiff wind or storm to send the stuff elsewhere. (Geez, this sounds like my childhood in Southern California.)

Trees 4, skiers 0

Above is a picture from this morning of the slope at Keystone where a 56-year-old skier died Sunday afternoon after hitting a tree.
The man had been skiing on a blue run, Mozart, when he apparently hit a bump and lost control, according to the Summit County coroner's office. He died of internal injuries.
He was the fourth person to die this season in a crash on Colorado's ski slopes and the second fatality at Keystone. On average, 13 people die of ski injuries in Colorado each year.
This one follows the pattern.
1. The skier was on an intermediate run. Skiers almost never die on expert runs because, on tougher runs, they don't ski as fast.
2. There was no new snow. It hasn't snowed significantly for several days at Keystone, which means the runs are fast and probably icy.
3. The accident happened in the afternoon, as a majority do, when skiers are tired and slopes are icy.
4. The skier was a guy. 81% of skier fatalities in Colorado have been males according to this study. All of the dead this year had a Y chromosome. Average age was 32 years. So Sunday's fatality was a bit older, but maybe he skied like a 32-year-old.
What will the skier fatality count be this year? Hard to say. If it keeps snowing, as it did last year, numbers should be low.

Monday, January 29, 2007

A little tardy but helpful

I didn't write this, but I think it's funny...
1. Fasten a small wide rubberband around the top half of your head before you go to bed each night.
2. If you wear glasses, begin wearing them with glue smeared on the lenses.
3. Throw a hundred dollar bill away right now.
4. Find the nearest ice rink and walk across the ice twenty times in your ski boots carrying two pairs of skis, accessory bag and poles. Pretend you are looking for your car. Sporadically drop things.
5. Place pebbles in your shoes, line them with crushed ice, and then tighten a c-clamp around your toes.
6. Buy a new pair of gloves and immediately throw one away.
7. Secure one of your ankles to a bed post and ask a friend to run into you at high speed.
8. Go to McDonalds and insist on paying $9.50 for a hamburger. Be sure you are in the longest line.
9. Clip a lift ticket to the zipper of your jacket and ride a motorcycle fast enough to make the ticket lacerate your face.
10. Drive slowly for five hours - anywhere - as long as it's in a snowstorm and you're following an eighteen-wheeler.
11. Fill a blender with ice, hit the pulse button and let the spray blast your face. Leave ice on your face till it melts. Let it drip into your clothes.
12. Dress up in as many clothes as you can and then proceed to take them off because you have to go the bathroom.
13. Slam your thumb in a car door. Don't go see a doctor.
14. Repeat all the above every Saturday and Sunday until it's time for the real thing!

Eagle causes power outage

For your Only in Alaska file...

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) -- About 10,000 Juneau residents briefly lost power Sunday after a bald eagle lugging a deer head crashed into transmission lines. “You have to live in Alaska to have this kind of outage scenario,” said Gayle Wood, an Alaska Electric Light & Power spokeswoman. “This is the story of the overly ambitious eagle who evidently found a deer head in the landfill.”

The hefty bounty apparently bogged down the eagle, which failed to clear transmission lines as it flew away from the landfill, she said. When a repair crew arrived, they found the eagle carcass with the deer head nearby. This eagle “got a hold of a little bit more than he could handle,” Wood said.

Mountain lion attack

SAN FRANCISCO, California (AP) -- A Northern California hiker attacked by a mountain lion last week was airlifted to a San Francisco hospital Sunday, where he will likely undergo more surgery.
If you haven't heard about this guy or seen the video, it's amazing. A 70-year-old guy from Northern California and his 65-year-old wife fought off a mountain lion that attached while the couple was hiking. Jim Hamm is in fair condition. The female lion scalped him and mauled his face. CNN has video of Hamm and his wife from his hospital bed, talking about how she walloped the lion with a log and used a pen to try to poke its eye.

Hamm is taking antibiotics to prevent infection. Docs are worried about bacteria entering his body from the cat's claws and mouth,

The Hamms said they'd asked what to do if they were ever attacked. "Fight back," they were told. And so they did.

Climber dies on Hully Gully

A Colorado Springs man plummeted 170 feet to his death Sunday morning at a popular ice-climbing spot in southwest Colorado Springs. Reid Hunt, 32, died after falling down a series of ice walls near Old Stage Road, south of Seven Falls. To read the story, go to

What a Gem!

Deb read my mind and is out today skiing Eldora. The little resort outside Boulder reported at least 4 inches of snow over the weekend, when most resorts reported zilch. (The photo is from the Web cam, taken at 9:15 this morning.) Deb's writing about the Gems - the state's little resorts that could - for Friday's Out There.

I had to laugh when I looked at Eldora's updated Web site (Monarch's is new, too, and pretty slick looking) - there's a banner across the top that says, "Friends Don't Let Friends Drive I-70." Classic.

Monkey Wrench Gang coming to big screen

The Monkey Wrench Gang is becoming a movie, more than 30 years after author Edward Abbey published the best-selling novel. Filming of the story, which stars a ragtag group of environmentalists that turn into eco saboteurs to protect the wilderness of the Utah canyon country, will begin in May. Shooting will take place in New Mexico, not Utah, though, because, according to director Catherine Hardwicke, the Land of Enchantment is cheaper.
It will be a small budget film, according the Utah's Deseret News, but the novel's cult-like following may attract such big names as Robert Redford.
Will the story be as relevant as it was in 1975? Hard to say... the main object of the characters' hatred was the Glen Canyon Dam. No big dams have been built in the West since. Many think the era of big federal dams is over. On top of that, 9/11 heightened national paranoia, so the story's saboteurs may now be branded as "ecoterrorists."
Even so, the director said she thought it would be a hit.
"After 'Inconvenient Truth,' we hit a tipping point where almost everybody in America cares about the environment," Hardwicke told the Deseret News of Al Gore's 2006 Sundance hit about the dangers of global warming. "We feel like (Monkey Wrench) is going to be a rallying cry to shake people up to care about the land, the world and do something about this planet."
Image by R. Crumb

Sunday, January 28, 2007

We've all done it...even the pope

I mean we've all sneaked away from our everyday responsibilities to catch a powder day. An AP story has reported that the late Pope John II slipped away from his guards to go skiing more than 100 times early in his papacy. That revelation, that the pope was a powder hound, is in a new book about the pontiff. According to the book, the pope had a season pass and would stand in line with the other skiers.

At the Salt Lake outdoor retailer show, people advised to stay indoors

Salt Lake City is in the throes of an unusually long temperature inversion that has swathed the city in a thick layer of fog, causing health officials to issue warnings that people should stay indoors if possible.
Yesterday, on the first day of the Outdoor Retailer show which attracts 10,000 people every winter, the Salt Lake Tribune ran a story advising people to stay indoors and limit outside exercise.
Outside, a soupy brown murk hid the nearby mountains entirely and turned the tall buildings of downtown Salt Lake into gray shadows.
Inside, dozens of companies touted their earth-friendly innovations. Many use recycled materials and offset their energy use by buying wind power. There was even a "green" fabric maker, which produced polyester from old soda bottles, serving green beer.
Outside, the air was so bad you could actually taste it.
An inversion occurs when cold air is trapped on the ground, below warmer air. Usually, the air near the ground is warmer than the stuff above. That's why it's generally colder on Pikes Peak than it is in Colorado Springs. Since warm air rises and cold air sinks, the air is constantly mixing. But during an inversion, the cold air has already sunk. It sits there like a layer in one of those awful-tasting multi-tiered cocktails. Nothing mixes and all the car emissions and dirt that a city belches out just sits there. Usually it takes a good wind to clear things out. There is no wind at all in the forecast, so Salt Lake's smog will be sticking around.
Meanwhile, all the outdoorsy types trying to jog before the show end up feeling like they smoked a few Newports.
"I didn't think it would be that bad," on of the sales reps at North Face told me, "But when I was done, I really felt awful."

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Boulder falls on Barr Trail

Barr Trail regulars have reported a huge boulder that fell onto Barr Trail in the past couple of days. The boulder is about 10 feet across and blocks about 3/4ths of the trail at a spot about 100 feet above the upper Incline Trail junction (below the Experimental Forest).

Friends of the Peak members know about the new obstacle, but they probably won't be moving it any time soon. Those who have seen it have reported hearing popping and cracking on the rock faces above the trail, so they recommend being aware of freeze/thaw activity on the trail.

The latest skis, the latest snowshoes... and a little bit of huh?

The outdoor retailer show started Friday in Salt Lake, with an on-snow demo day at Brighton Ski Area. Dozens of gear makers turned a snowy field on the far end of the area's parking lot into a tent city. There were skis from Atomic, Rossignal, K2, Karhu, G3, Goode, and a few smaller manufacturers.
All the big snowshoe makers were hawking their latest wares, including the two big ones, Atlas and Tubbs, which, oddly, are both owned by the same company, K2.
Most the the retailers were there to ride the latest and greatest gear.
I spend most of the morning trying out new skis. The verdict: skis have gotten wider; boots (at least for the tele crowd) have gotten stiffer, and no one is making a ski that doesn't feel supercharged.
A few favorites from talking to the crowd were the G3 Reverend and the K2 Wold Piste. I loved the quick, snappy turns of the Rossi Powderbirds.
Riding up on the lift with a ski shop owner from Virginia, I asked, "Is this really where you decide what your shop will sell next year?"
"Not really," he said. "A lot goes into it, like relationships with sales reps, wholesale prices... but you know, it's nice to ski so many skis in a day. You can't do that in Virginia."
One thing no one was buying was the skishoe ( It is a snowshoe-sized Swiss Army knife-type contraption that folds out from a stubby little ski to a snowshoe with the push of a lever (and another lever, and just one more lever). Huge crampons can easily be snapped to the base. The shoe could lock down into a downhill ski, sort of like a snowblade, or have a free heel for touring (though I'm not sure what touring on a 24-inch ski is like.) It was so multi-purpose and funny looking it seemed like something out of an old James Bond movie. It retails for about $200. But poor skishoe. No one was stopping at its booth. People only slowed down, like cars looking at an accident. I felt so bad I had to stop in.
The guy in the tent was the inventor, owner, and president of Ski Shoe Inc. He had the bubbling, somewhat confused confidence of someone who'd waited in line for hours to get his chance in front of the American Idol judges.
"This is the first skisshoe," he said. "We have our new design almost ready, which is made right here in Salt Lake, and it's much, much better. It has none of the problems of the old skishoe."
I didn't know what the problems of the old skishoe were, but he seemed so hopeful, I didn't really want to ask.
I only hope the real show, which starts today, with over 800 different gear makers, holds as many weird things as the skishoe. I think a lot of the small retailers feel the same way. They need something new and a little unusual, to bring in the customers.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Monarch delivers

Here's a few reasons we like the Gems (a collection of the smallest ski resorts in the state):

- You rarely have to stand in a lift line.

- Anything goes, fashion-wise.

- You don't have to take out a loan to buy a lift ticket.

These pictures were taken Thursday at Monarch. It was a perfect day - blue sky, no wind (even at the top of the mountain on the Continental Divide), and no crowds.

Read more about the Gems next Friday in Out There.

Tons of snow and outdoor gear make Salt Lake cool

I'm sitting in a bright little cafe called the Raw Bean in Salt Lake City, Utah. Inside it's steaming hot cappucino and chocolate chip banana bread. Just a few steps out the door is the stop where, for $3, a city bus whisks skiers up to the legendary slopes of Snowbird and Alta.

We came out to Salt Lake to cover the Outdoor Retailer Show, but what wowed me when we rolled into town is how accessible the skiing is. Alta and Snowbird are up a short canyon at the edge of town. Driving to the slopes is like driving from downtown Colorado Springs to the top of Cheyenne Canon. And it's not a piddly little Ski Broadmoor-type hill waiting up there. These places are phenomenally tough. Look at the trail map for Snowbird. It has fewer greens than an Exxon board meeting.

The Utah ski areas can get away with having mostly blacks and double blacks because the mountains east of Salt Lake get about 500 inches of snow a year. (Last year they got about 650.) That's more than double what the typical Colorado resort receives.
This didn't sink in, for me, until our first day here, Thursday, when I read the front page of the newspaper. Snowbird had a 56-inch base - more than twice what Vail currently has - and the headline of the Salt Lake City Tribune said if a lack of snow continues, there could be a serious drought.

We made the most of the "drought" by skiing blacks and double blacks at snowbird. (I got pretty worked by the mountain, but had the convenient excuse of being on long, unfamiliar rental telemarks.) The terrain was awesome. Think A Basin meets Vail's back bowls. By the end of the day I could barely walk.

No wonder 10,000 outdoor industry types have chosen Salt Lake as their yearly venue -- it's a great place to play.

Not that these guys are here to play. They're here to work. But work includes a lot of play. Today they're all trekking up to Brighton ski area to demo all the latest snow toys. Is that work or is it play? I ponder this problem all the time when I'm skiing on the clock.

The real show starts tomorrow. More than 800 booths will be swarmed by thousands of people. See a movie short of it here:
We're already seeing these outdoor types around the city. They're easy to spot because they're all unintentionally wearing the same uniform: jeans and a very expensive puffy jacket (pick from your favorite $300 brands).

We'll have more from the day on the snow this evening. Right now the sun is coming up over the Wahsatch Mountains. The whole sky is as pink as a salmon. It's beautiful, and it's time to get started with the day.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Court says no more recreational marten trapping

Here's good news for cute little fur bearers: recreational live trapping of mink and pine marten in Colorado has been halted by a recent District Court decision.
The Colorado Wildlife Commission passed regulations in July that added mink and pine marten to the list of fur bearers trappers can snag. Conservation organizations challenged the legality of the regulation and the District Court entered a stay on Jan. 5, nullifying the regulations.
Don't worry though, the Division of Wildlife said Tuesday that Coloradans who still want these fuzzy members of the weasel family dead can still legally "take" them with Division authorization using rifles, handguns, shotguns, handheld bows and crossbows.

Get your iPod kickin'

I'm not a headphone exerciser. When I'm running, even on something as monotonous as the incline, I like to hear the sound of my breath, my footfalls, the wind clattering the leaves... but, many people, including some I love dearly, say music makes the workout pass faster.
For that crowd, there's a cool new Website,

Here's why it's cool:
The site has a searchable song tempos database where you can calculate the proper tempo for your speed (based on minutes per mile), then find all the songs that match your tempo. You can even download them for a few cents from a shadowy pseudo-legal Russian company.
If your favorite song doesn't fit your tempo, you can download the site's repacer (a full version costs $25) and bump up the beats per minute; or, if you're doing the incline, bump them down.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Dolores LaChapelle dies

Backcountry ski guru Lou Dawson is reporting on his blog that Silverton resident and powder skiing pioneer Dolores LaChapelle has died.
She was sort of the John Muir of snow -- a lyrical writer and spirited advocate. Here is a telling passage from her classic book, Deep Powder Snow:
Powder snow skiing is not fun. It’s life, fully lived, life lived in a blaze of reality. What we experience in powder is the original human self, which lies deeply inside each of us, still undamaged in spite of what our present culture tries to do to us. Once experienced, this kind of living is recognized as the only way to live–fully aware of the earth and the sky and the gods and you, the mortal, playing among them.

Anyone else doing the Elk Mountain Traverse?

It's a 40-mile backcountry ski race from Crested Butte to Aspen and it attracts some of the best athletes in the state. I did it last year, finishing 26th, in 11:02:20. By the way, if there had been a separate category for people from the Front Range, I would have been first in it.
Anyway, it's so long, and requires so much training, that I wasn't sure I was in for it again... but the skiing in town has been great. I've been able to get out on several long skis, so last night, my partner Hunter and I signed up. The race starts March 31 at midnight. Anyone else from town going? We could carpool.

Mueller buried in snow

Sure, most people in town are getting a little tired of the snow, but it's amazing how much perspective can change when you're looking at a snowy trail, not your driveway.
And we have the best snow conditions right now that we've had in years. With a snow base of over two feet at Mueller State Park, park managers say it’s the perfect time to hit the hills and trails at the park.
“Mueller has the best snow conditions we’ve seen in years for winter recreation enthusiasts, including cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and sledding,” said Park Manager Gregg Nootbaar.
Winter recreation opportunities for all levels of ability are available at the park. Maps of the trails at Mueller State Park are available online or in the Visitor Center, which is open 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily. For additional information, call the park at 719-687-2366 during Visitor Center hours or check Mueller State Park’s web page for winter activities information at

Monday, January 22, 2007

The Ray Way

To fans of Ray Jardine, the man needs no introduction. Using his slogan, "The Ray Way," Jardine is famous for his ultra-light hiking and backpacking gear. Climbers might know him as the inventor of the Friend, a well-known climbing device. But those who don't follow Jardine beyond his gear offerings and his inventions might not know that he has an insatiable thirst for adventure. Among Jardine's list of trips and adventures (at hang-gliding off El Capitan in Yosemite, 1978; sailing around the world, 1982-'85; hiking Pacific Coast Trail (1987, '91), Continental Divide Trail ('92), Appalachian Trail ('93); kayaking 3,000 miles in the Arctic, 1988; and rowing across the Atlantic Ocean, 3,003 miles in 53 days, 2002. And that's just a sample of how this guy spends his time. A native of Colorado Springs, Jardine and his wife Jenny just completed a ski the South Pole. They are thought to be the first American couple to do so, skiing 58 days, 10.5 hours a day, in temperatures that hovered around -10 F. at night (without any wind.) Their blog,, chronicles their latest adventure. Ray and Jenny parted ways at the South Pole, and Ray went on with another group to climb Mount Vinson. True Ray fans will want to know: how did Ray and Jenny stay warm at night? Underneath one of Ray's trademark quilts, of course; one they call the Greenland (named for another chilly adventure).

Going for lucky No. 17

For all but an elite handful of people in the world, Mount Everest is out of reach. The tallest peak in the world, it attracts hundreds of climbers each year, and the lucky ones make it to the top and back down again. But one man has spent more time on that mountain's summit than anyone else. Apa Sherpa has climbed Everest a record 16 times, and has announced that this spring, he will make a 17th summit bid. Sherpa lives in Salt Lake City, and for this climb, he is gathering an all-Sherpa group, that will include Lhakpa Gelu, who also lives in Utah and who holds the record for fastest climb to the top of Everest at 10 hours and 56 minutes. Sherpa says the historic climb about the "Super Sherpa" team will be filmed.

(Photo from

Choose your trail snacks carefully

If you eat organic and you buy it at Wal-Mart, you might be in for a surprise. A Wisconsin-based organic food watchdog organization called the Cornucopia Institute, has scoured Wal-Mart stores around the country and found that some of their products labeled organic aren't worthy of that title. The institute has filed consumer fraud complaints with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Wisconsin's Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. The company has posted pictures of the imposter organic foods on its Web site,

Made in Colorado Springs?

We know about Ground Up Designs custom-made bike frames. But what other outdoor gear is made in Colorado Springs? Anyone?

How to stay warm

Since usually temperate Colorado Springs has been an ice box lately, I thought this thread, from about how to stay warm at 14,000 feet, might be helpful.

The comment I liked best: "Wear a "Peter Pan" suit (thermal tights) under your pants."

Not only is it good advice. Long johns make a huge difference. But the idea of secretly having on a Peter Pan costume... well, I have to admit, it's kinky.

For those who missed it...

Here's a link to the Gazette's Sunday story on Chris Davenport, the pro skier who skied all 54 of Colorado's 14,000-foot peaks in a year.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Photos posted from Davenport's ski down longs

To check them out, visit

Davenport does it!

What a feat. With only two days to go before the one-year mark, Aspen skier Chris Davenport who has been working on skiing all 54 of Colorados 14,000-foot peaks in 12 months, successfully climbed and skied down longs peak.
We'll have more info in tomorrow's Gazette -- if I can get anyone in Aspen to answer the phone on a powder day.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Our low is too low for much snow

Colorado weather forecasters are always talking about "Albuquerque Lows." Those are the storms that slingshot moisture up from the Pacific and slam it, as snow, against the Front Range. There was some question whether the snowstorm-of-the-week would fly out of New Mexico. But look on the map jack. The low is down in Sinaloa. Too low. It's going to bootleg most of the moisture up into Kansas, leaving us only a dusting.
It won't be a big powder weekend on the slopes... but, with cold temps, the snow from last week should still be in great shape.

Sledding the incline - or not

Look for a story in tomorrow's Gazette about a guy who tried to sled down the incline. Word is it didn't go well. At all. I hope he had medical insurance.

We once speculated it'd have to snow a LOT more than it has in the last month to make this dream trip a reality. A LOT more.

Advocacy, not just for mountain bikers

The Pike San Isable National Forest, which includes Pikes Peak, the Wet Mountains, and areas of the Sangre de Cristo and Sawatch ranges, is going through an extreme makeover this spring.
The forest is revising its management plan, which will determine how forest lands and trails will be managed for the next 15-20 years. The PSI is also undergoing separate planning to determine which trails will be open to OHV use.
Lots of special interest groups are dialed in and ready to comment, to make sure their favorite trails aren't closed or mixed with the wrong company, but the one I'm hearing the most from is the mountain bikers.
They've sent out a slew of concise e-mails to constituents (Full disclosure: me) stating what's going on, why it matters, and what citizens can do. To read one, which includes dates of public comment meetings in the area and more details, click here.
I haven't seen this from hikers or off-roaders, though maybe I'm not on the right rock-crawler e-mail list (full disclosure: I'm not.)
It's not a big surprise, though, that bikers have their act together. The 1980s and 1990s saw a slew of trails closed to bikes. It forced the bikers to organize and advocate for their rights. Plus, many avid bikers on the Front Range moved from California, where it's more common to have "pedestrian only" trails. When they got here, it probably seemed like the promised land, and they don't want to lose it. So, they're getting the word out.
But whether you're a biker or not, you may want to speak up in this process. Oh, and by the way. Going to a meeting counts several times more in the feds' eyes than sending a form e-mail.
Look for more coverage on the process in the Gazette.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

A good training bike ride

In case you didn't see this question added to the post below, a blog regular, Biker Betty, asks the following:

My son is in Boy Scouts and come spring time needs to practice for a 50 mile bike ride. Where in the Col Springs is a good place that is at least 5-10 or even about 20 miles with hardly any traffic and not very hilly?

Another regular, UltraRob, a cyclist who has his own fab blog (, is wondering what type of ride Betty's son is shooting for - road or mountain.

If you have suggestions, comment below.

Don't miss the Rail Yard

This is cool - Winter Park Resort and Denver Parks and Recreation have teamed up to offer the first-ever skier and rider urban rail yard in Denver. Ruby Hill Rail Yard will open Saturday from noon – 4 p.m. Demonstrations by Winter Park athletes will help kick off the event with free snowboard equipment made available for local youth interested in trying a new sport or fine tuning already learned techniques. More than 3 feet of snow has been made by snowmaking machines on Ruby Hill's natural bowl. The park will remain open until the end of February if the weather holds. Saturday's opening will feature six rails of varying configurations and levels of advancement as well as the latest equipment from Burton, Never Summer and Vans. It's free and open to the public; those 17 and younger must be accompanied by an adult.

Ruby Hill Park is located between West Florida and Jewell Avenues and between South Platte River Drive and Quivas Street. Those interested in attending Saturday’s grand opening event can access Ruby Hill Rail Yard from the park’s entrances on West Florida Avenue. Following Saturday’s opening, Ruby Hill Rail Yard will be open from 5 a.m. – 11 p.m.

The mountain is locked up this winter

Frequent Pikes Peak hiker Craig Burbank (see blog item below this one) reports that he hasn't seen a winter this harsh on Pikes Peak since he's lived here. The combination of frigid temperatures, lots of snow and lots of wind have created extreme conditions on the mountain. "I don't think anyone has made it past Barr Camp since it started snowing this winter," he says. Burbank made it to 12,600 feet Sunday. A consummate record-keeper, he says that in one particularly cold, dark canyon, it was about 20 degrees below zero.

Gear tip of the day

Craig Burbank loves to walk. And he loves Pikes Peak. So he walks on Pikes Peak - a lot. We're talking nearly 500 times up that mountain since 1998. Burbank was profiled in last Friday's Out There section, and gear-conscious readers said: "Wow. Impressive. What kind of shoes does he wear?"
For winter hiking, Burbank wears Montrail Hurricane Ridge cross-trainers with YakTrax for traction. And here's his secret: He puts on his socks, then steps into two plastic bags before he puts on his shoes. He swears this is the best cold-weather footwear. I remember wearing plastic bread bags in my snowboots when I was a kid in Iowa so my feet wouldn't get cold.

My mother was right after all!

Wildlife suffering in storm aftermath

You know how you've been having trouble maneuvering your car down narrow roads that are clogged with snow? Colorado's wildlife is struggling to find the right path, too. The Colorado Division of Wildlife has reported that elk and pronghorn are suffering since the recent snow storms. The animals seek out train tracks and roads in an effort to escape drifting snow. In a four-day period earlier this month, trains hit 41 elk between Trinidad and Aguilar. There are also reports that as many as 200 pronghorn have also been hit. Wildlife is also being seen on roads in snowy areas. The DOW is asking drivers to slow down, and their plea to train engineers has already resulted in fewer deaths.

View from Longs Peak.

Wind blasted, with frostbite. Doesn't look like very good skiing, does it? This is a shot from Chris Davenport's attempted ski of Longs Peak Yesterday. In an email, he said:
As many of you know we made an attempt at Longs Peak today, my last 14er of my project. Climbing and skiing Colorado 14ers in winter can be dangerous and downright ugly at times, and today Mother Nature was the heavy weight champion of the world, kicking our butts in a big way. With constant wind speeds near 50 mph and gusts to 80 mph that knocked us of our feet many times, we gave it our best shot. The wind chill values were easily minus 25 degrees or more, and we all brought home some frostbite as a gift of Longs.I am home now and will drive back to Longs tomorrow for another attempt on Friday. Hopefully the mountain will give herself over to our skis a little more gracefully this time around.I posted some photos from today's epic on the Longs Peak page. Enjoy the misery!
For more images, click here

Ready for our 4th (or is it 5th?) weekend storm?

Southern Colorado is bracing for more heavy snow and the south central mountains also could see 18 inches. Front Range urban areas could get three to eight inches.
The National Weather Service says up to two feet could fall in the eastern Saguache Range, La Garitas and higher elevations of the San Juans.

Did you notice 207,533 more people on the slopes?

Apparently they were there.
According to the Associated Press today, "despite getting less snow, Colorado resorts are on a pace to break last season's record of 12.53 million skier visits, with 6.74 percent more in the first part of the season than the same period last year, the industry reported Tuesday. The resorts had nearly 3.3 million skier visits from October through December 2006, up 207,533 from the same period in 2005."
Interestingly, the biggest jump in numbers, 10.7%, was at the state's smaller areas -- the gems -- which means the crowd growing fastest is the one that wants to get away from growing crowds.
We want to see some number on the ever-mysterious backcountry skier days. All the people I talk to say it's growing like crazy, but with no lift tickets, it's almost impossible to track.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Davenport gets blown off last summit

Skier Chris Davenport tried to ski the last of 54 fourteeners today: Longs Peak.
He just told me via cell phone that he and his buddies got up to about 12,600 feet and the winds were so high they turned around.
"We were just getting blasted. We could barely stand up," he said.
The area was wind-blasted and he said it isn't clear weather the peak will be skiable. He has until Monday to ski the peak and still be in the (somewhat arbitrary) 12-month mark of when he started. He's planning to try again Friday or this weekend, when snow is forecast. We'll see.
He said today didn't disappoint him. "You can't worry about what Mother Nature wants to do, because she's going to do it, and you have to make of it what you can," he said.

Davenport plans to finish skiing 14ers today

The Aspen skier who is trying to ski all 54 of Colorado's 14ers in one12-month period will attempt his last one today. According to an email I got from him yesterday, he's on Longs Peak right now.
Here's a live shot from the Longs Peak Cam.
Looks really, really, cold, and not all that snowy. Will he succeed? We'll see.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Davenport's Blanca and Shavano reports are in...

On Shavano's summit, late in the day. They finished the ski by headlamp...
-15 degrees. Skiing great powder on Blanca Peak

5,300 vertical feet and almost 10 miles -- long enough that by the end, the sun was setting.

For the full report, and tons of great photos, visit

Davenport has one 14er left to ski!

Aspen skier Chris Davenport now only has Longs Peak left in his quest to ski all 54 peaks over 14,000 feet in Colorado in one 12-month period.
Over the past few days he dropped Mount Shavano and Blanca Peak.
He may tackle Longs later this week.
Backcountry ski authority Lou Dawson said on his blog "Longs is tough to find in shape for skiing, but Davenport has a knack for getting these things done and frequently doing so in amazingly good conditions."

More info at Chris hasn't posted photos from his latest skis yet, but tune back in.

(photo from

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Welcome to American Airlines National Park (formerly known as Rocky Mountain). Could it happen? It already is, although the names aren't changing. The National Park Service is increasingly looking to outside private sources in an effort to help maintain parks, the agency's new director said recently.
Here's the AP story:
“We’re much more business savvy than we used to be,” Mary Bomar, a career employee who became director in October, said in one of her first interviews as head of the agency. A federal Government Accountability Office report last year said the park service is increasingly cutting back on visitor services, education programs and protections for natural and cultural resources because funding has failed to keep pace with rising operating costs. And the agency’s budget has remained tight in recent years as federal dollars have been scarce. The agency also has a years-long maintenance backlog that has been estimated to cost billions of dollars. Bomar said the park service admits it has challenges, including the rising operating budgets, shrinking staff, aging facilities and a diminished visitor experience due to these problems. Parks have also lost some of their relevancy and connections to younger generations, she said. Bomar said philanthropy will be a big part of a plan to revitalize and restore parks for the agency’s 100th anniversary in 2016, announced this year as an effort called the “centennial challenge.”The agency wants to “look at projects where we could match and leverage funding,” she said. “Why not?” The agency is currently bringing in around 12 percent of its budget from outside sources, while a decade ago almost 100 percentof the budget was federally appropriated. Officers have been holding meetings with private interests, increasing awareness about the agency’s fundraising efforts.Much of the private support for national parks is contributed through the National Park Foundation, chartered by Congress in1967. In past years, companies such as American Airlines Inc., Discovery Communications Inc., Eastman Kodak Co., Ford Motor Co., and Time magazine have each donated millions to parks. Some critics have been concerned that increased federal dollars could cross a line. In 2004, the agency proposed letting some employees solicit donations, accepting alcohol and tobacco company donations for the first time and giving donors the right to put their names on rooms, benches and bricks.T hose proposals were scuttled last year after criticism, and Bomar said she has no plans to revisit the issue. As part of the centennial challenge, the parks plan several “signature projects,” including a new visitor center at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii and restoration of Ellis Island in New York Harbor. The Park Service has acknowledged that the aging Ellis Island complex has been neglected over the years, and the agency hopes to use some private dollars in an effort to restore the historic immigrant gateway. Bomar said she has no plans to re-open the Statue of Liberty’scrown, however, which has been closed to visitors since the Sept. 11 attacks. She was less forthcoming about other park policies, saying it would be “inappropriate to discuss” the issue of snowmobiles inYellowstone National Park. A temporary plan caps the number of snowmobiles entering Yellowstone at 720 a day, and allows 140 snowmobiles a day to enter Grand Teton National Park and the John D. Rockefeller Jr. Parkway,which connects the two parks. Critics say the vehicles contribute to noise and air pollution in the parks. Late last year, the agency issued a draft statement to statesand other government agencies proposing to maintain the current plan. A final decision is expected by next winter. “There is no decision made” on the snowmobile issue, Bomar said.

Study: helmet won't help skier vs. tree. But wear one anyway

The AP ran a story today detailing how ski helmets won't necessarily protect skiers during fatal accidents because most deaths (68%) are caused by a high-speed impact with a fixed object (usually a tree), resulting in chest and torso injuries.
Ski accident expert Jasper Shealy told the AP "Frankly, you're going to need more than a helmet to prevent that fatality."

True. But that doesn't mean a helmet is a bad idea. Beyond fatalities, there are all sorts of non-lethal ways you can bump your head on the slopes. A good, stiff tree branch to the noggin won't send you to the hospital, but it could send you home with a serious lump. Same is true with a ski or pole.

A few weeks ago I hit myself in the back of the head with my ski during an unplanned tumble (sorry, no video) and was fine because I had my helmet on. I often emerge from a tree skiing run with scrapes on my helmet, but none on my head.

Plus, helmets are warm.
There's no reason not to have one, even if it won't help in event of that final battle with Mr. Spruce.

By the way, for all you social trend watchers out there who have noted that people didn't used to wear helmets for anything, and they now show up in all kinds of athletic pursuits, I ask you, what is the next activity where helmets will become chic?

My wife says the downhill portion of the Pikes Peak Ascent.

Monday, January 15, 2007

At Wolf Creek, 48 inches over the weekend.

Seriously, any more snow at Wolf Creek and skiers will have to be dive certified to buy a lift ticket. Makes my 22-inch day at Beaver Creek seem like a dusting.

Barr Trail report: snowy, but packed.

Here's the latest trail conditions from Teresa at Barr Camp:

I came up the trail yesterday morning and there was about 3-4 inches of new snow over the ice on the bottom 3 miles. It was actually better footing than it has been due to the cold and the snow adhering to the ice beneath. It had been tracked so it was not too bad. The snow continued to get deeper over the rest of the trail to Barr Camp with some pretty deep areas where there was a lot of post-holing steps!
There were 9 people who went down on snowshoes yesterday around noon, so I am sure it is much more packed and with the cold temps it is probably pretty good. That said, the trees are full of snow and there is powder all over so any wind at all will re-drift the trail and it will be a post-hole trek in those areas.
Above Barr Camp has not seen any traffic since January 1st when 4 snowshoe clad people spent the whole day making the summit and catching the train down. I cannot imagine how deep the snow must be just below timberline, and what the drifting is like above there. The avalanche potential seems high, and the cold temps and wind blowing up there right now make it seem like a good day to be inside by the fire!
The trail conditions change daily if not hourly! When I went down Friday I was able to stay on the crust for the most part. There were some soft areas on the upper end and lots of ice down low. I was actually surprised at how much it had changed by the time I came back up a day and half later.
Quite a winter we are having! We have had about 116 inches of snow here thus far, with about 40 inches on the ground around camp. What a melt out we could have!

Happy trails,

Rainy days, no-snow days, always get me down

Here's something to celebrate - we aren't trying to ski in Europe. At many ski resorts across Europe, there's more mud than snow. World Cup race courses are flanked by dead, brown grass. Tourists twirl umbrellas in the streets rather than clump around in ski boots. It's depressing, no?
Here's the AP story:
WENGEN, Switzerland (AP) The telephone hot lines at Europe’s ski resorts have gone cold. Most of those who bother to call are greeted with depressing news of high temperatures and lack of snow. “No winter sports are possible again today,” is the recorded message on the “snow phone” for Oberhof — a top German training area for ski jumping, bobsled and biathlon. “With the current warm climate it’s very clear that things have become completely crazy,” says the Meteo France national weather service recording. “We’re in winter and the temperature in the valleys is the equivalent of the end of March.” Tourism in the Alps is crucial for European economies, with upto 80 million tourists and 160 million ski days in Austria, France, Switzerland and Germany each year. Though a few lucky areas have snow, the situation is bleak for the majority. Much of Europe has seen record-high temperatures in January. In France, it’s been raining at an altitude of 8,200 feet and most ski resorts are below that. Only a few high-altitude stations— such as Tignes, Alpe d’Huez and La Plagne — are escaping the depressing drizzle. Tourist offices say February hotel bookings at French resorts are down, with only 40 percent to 60 percent of rooms reserved so far. The French are booking ski holidays at the last minute. Many are opting instead for sunny destinations such as North Africa or the Antilles. In Chamonix, France, one of the world’s top ski destinations, the temperature this week reached 54 degrees. Only about 60 percent of the resort’s slopes are open. Lean on snow and unable to make more on its World Cup course because of mild temperatures, Chamonix was forced to hand over its races to another French resort, Val d’Isere, which itself lost races earlier in the season. Hotel bookings at Swiss resorts have not been affected because tourists are lured by the sunny weather in the mountains, even if they can’t ski, Swiss Tourism said. In fact, ski resort restaurants, bars and pubs are thriving. The food and dining industry in the ski-rich Graubunden canton enjoyed a 10 percent increase in sales. However, daily lift ticket sales dipped slightly compared to last year. “Tourists are still booking. They trust there will be snow soon,” said Swiss Tourism spokesman Roger Waber. “Of course that could all change. Tourists could start canceling their reservations if there’s still no snow the next two weeks.” Less than 40 percent of slopes were open at the posh resort of Gstaad, Switzerland — known as “The Beverly Hills of the Alps”and a hot spot for celebrities such as Elizabeth Taylor, Roger Moore and Paris Hilton. At Wengen — a World Cup host this week — organizers scrapped a men’s super-combination race Friday after the famous downhill course was damaged by rain. A fragile 2.8-mile white stripe that snakes down the Lauberhorn mountain, the course is flanked by endless blankets of grass and thick green moss on either side. Ski, snowboard and toboggan rentals at the drizzly resort have dropped 25 percent to 30 percent the last couple of weeks, said Markus Zumbuehl, owner of the Alpia Sport shop. “The hotels are full because of the races, but it’s vital for the village that the races go ahead. They’re an important commercial for us,” Zumbuehl said. Some World Cup venues can’t decide where to make snow first. Economic logic says the recreational slopes, but races receive wide television coverage in Europe. Calling off the races can lead to a rash of ski vacation cancellations. Low-altitude Kitzbuehel, Austria, home of the famous Hahnenkamm races, also is suffering. Mountain operators have banned public use of the race slope to preserve the snow there for the Jan. 26-28 races. The event is in danger of being moved to St. Moritz,Switzerland, where colder weather has allowed snowmaking. At Spindleruv Mlyn in the Czech Republic, snow is almost nonexistent.. So Czech adventure outfit Yellow Point earlier this season came up with “No Snow passes” — which it is now optimistically renaming “Apres-Ski Pass” — offering non-winter pursuits such as zorbing (rolling down a slope inside an inflatable balloon) and bridging (crossing a 700-foot rope bridge over the village dam). “There’s no snow,” Yellow Point director Ales Koca said. “Skiing is possible only on three slopes, but it’s not good. So we needed to come up with something else for people to do.” In the Italian Alps, where dandelions were sprouting over the Christmas holiday, resorts are relying on artificial snow. “We had very little snow in early December and since then it hasn’t snowed,” said Gianfranco Talamini, director of a Ski pass office in Cortina d’Ampezzo, a popular ski resort in northeastern Italy. Snowmaking cannons should allow the women’s World Cup events there to go ahead Jan. 19-21. But the freestyle world championships in Madonna di Campiglio, Italy, scheduled for January, were postponed until March because there’s no snow.

Been a long time since I"ve seen Pikes Peak with so much snow

After the latest storm, the peak is whiter than a rerun of Leave it to Beaver.
Is there a record snowpack? It's hard to know because the snotel automated snowpack recorder near Glen Cove started to malfunction when the last storm hit. Up to that point, it appears that Glen Cove had received 12.7 inches of precipitation from October to January. That's more than double what the peak saw last year.
If this keeps up, it could be an epic backcountry season when snow stabilizes above treeline this spring.

The best ski day of the year

You never know when it's going to happen, but when the ski day of the year presents itself, you better be ready.
Saturday, a snowstorm clobbered Beaver Creek with 22 inches of snow in 24 hours. With snow continuing to fall, my wife and I hopped in our car (fortunately we were staying in Frisco) and zoomed over. We hadn't had a decent powder day all year.
Thousands of other people had the same idea we did. The free parking lots at BC were bulging with cars, and everyone was scrambling to get up to the mountain to revel in this rare dump. We all soon came up against the same problem though. The free shuttles that take people 1.5 miles up to the base area were no where to be seen. Maybe a few too many bus drivers called in a powder day? Who knows? But a line of people 100 yards long piled out of the bus depot. And it grew, and grew, and grew.
Finally, people started walking up the road. We joined them. Hundreds of people, with skis slung over their shoulders, shuffling in stiff boots, and a snake of traffic slowly slithered by on the snow packed road.
It looked like some kind of natural disaster footage, with scores of refugees on foot.
We tried hitching a ride, but apparently the rich of BC don't like mixing with the snowy masses. Or maybe they just were so eager to get on the snow they didn't want to stop.
After about 20 minutes of walking we were picked up by a Texas tourist in a rental Impala who dropped us at the resort.
The skiing wasn't just phenomenal. It was transcendental. It was an accidental Zen celebration of the world's fleeting beauty. Living in the moment. Sweet concrete verb. I felt like a freakin' Jedi flying down through steep bumps pillowed with bottomless powder. The force was strong with this one.
It was one of those days when you have to ski the steeps just to keep your speed up.
Oh, and it was warm -- 22 degrees. Quite a bit warmer than the icebox of the Front Range.
It was so good we decided not to go skiing the next day. It could only pale in comparison.
I hope it's not the best day of the season, but it may be.
(Photo from

Saturday, January 13, 2007

2 feet of snow!?!?!?

(photo courtesy of Wolf Creek ski area)

I'm here in the office, trying to catch up from being gone the first week of Jan. This message from Cat just popped up on my screen, added in present time to an old post:

We live in Pagosa Springs (base of Wolf Creek) and we're getting plenty now :) I'm ready to ski! I'm unsure yet what Wolf Creek's totals are but we have almost 2 feet here and it's still going.

Men in Black - on the slopes??

From the AP:
The two dozen FBI agents who swarmed Park City Mountain Resort weren’t busting anybody Friday. They weren’t even armed - unless you count the sharp ends of ski poles.

With the temperature near zero, agents hit the slopes - some on challenging runs, others on bunny hills - in an unusual drive to publicize the FBI and perhaps attract a few recruits. They got some work to do.

Some skiers thought the whole effort was nutty. Jokes flew about agents skiing on the public dime, but nobody seemed to mind. “This is a first for the bureau,” FBI recruiter Carol Covert (aw, is that really her name?//dena) told agents as they lined up at the base of a chair lift with a new, gleaming 40-foot command truck parked nearby. “So remember, ski and recruit!” she declared. “If this goes well, we’ll do it at other resorts.”

(Please, oh, please, folks, if you see agents in Colorado, drop me or Dave or Deb a line!)

Skiers can be chatty on chair rides, where agents were doing some of the recruiting. Starting salary for an agent: $52,400 plus location pay. Anyone who snapped photos of agents kicking up the 8 inches of fresh powder here could turn in the images for trinkets, including FBI calculators, patches and pins. (Sweet!)

Friday, January 12, 2007

Donde esta la nieve?

It's 8 degrees at the Gazette right now. But the sun has come out. We got maybe 1.5 inches of snow. Sort of disappointing considering I was blogging about feet of snow yesterday. Even the mountains, for now, have been gyped. Breck is reporting 0 inches. Wolf Creek only 6.
But the storm is going to stick around, and may drop a lot more white stuff. We'll see.

In the no-fall zone: Davenport posts latest pics

Aspen skier Chris Davenport, who is three peaks away from skiing all Colorado's 14ers in one year, just posted photos from his latest peaks, Little Bear and Crestone Needle. His party had a very close call in Little Bear's Hour Glass, which is sketchy in the summer, and must be downright terrifying to ski. Here's an excerpt:

Once on the ski route the group skied the firm and slightly crusty descent. Arriving several hundred feet above the hourglass, we all had to make a committing turn around some water ice that bulged in to the line. I went first and stopped to look back and take a photo of Christian. When he made the move however, his heavy pack combined with the fact the he hadn’t snapped his ski mode levers on his boots into place pulled him over backwards and he began to fall. Christian quickly accelerated on his back, all the while trying desperately to self-arrest. When he finally got his skis under him he was out of control and he shot sideways into the rocks, and then spun around back wards, airing ten feet off one cliff and landing hard on another. He then back-flipped twice off of that cliff and finally self-arrested in some softer snow a hundred feet below the hourglass and three hundred feet below us. I was astounded when he put his hand up and shouted to us that he was OK. In fifty peaks on this project that was the first fall and also one of the scariest falls I have ever seen. He came away with a laceration to one finger and some bumps and bruises, but most importantly a very humbling learning experience about control in a no-fall-zone.

For a day so cold the snow squeaks, a favorite poem

Pine tree tops

In the blue night
frost haze, the sky glows
with the moon
pine tree tops
bend snow-blue, fade
into sky, frost, starlight.
The creak of boots.
Rabbit tracks, deer tracks,
what do we know.

-Gary Snyder

Walk atop the snow

If you've been itching to try snowshoes, you're in luck. Gazette writer Deb Acord, who loves to 'shoe, will be out this weekend testing a couple of styles for a story to appear in next Friday's Out There section. And there are a handful of clinics coming up where you can try shoes at no, or minimal, cost.

++ The third annual Grand Lake Snowshoe Festival will feature a 7K race, celebrity snowshoe races, children’s races and a technique tour led by snowshoe racer Tom Sobal. Events start today at the Hospitality Haus in Grand Lake and continue through Monday. The competitive race starts at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, and there's a 7K fun run starting at 9:35 a.m. Warm up with some chili 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. The cele race starts at 1 p.m., and the kids events at 2 p.m. The technique tour also begins at 2, and there's a seminar with Ryan Gray on mountain climbing in Turkey at 3. At 4 p.m. there's a seminar with Earl Clark and Richard Over on the 10th Mountain Division and World War II. There's an awards ceremony at 5 p.m., and a concert and dance at 7.

Stay over, or get up there Sunday for an 11 a.m. seminar with Stacy Fowler on fitness, and another snowshoe technique tour with Tom Sobal at noon - or catch the U.S. Forest Service film on “American Wilderness, American Values.” From 1 to 3:30 p.m. there's an antique snowshoe tour and sleigh rides at Winding River Resort.

On Monday there are snowshoe tours at Grand Lake Touuring Center.

++ On Jan. 20 head to Winter Fest at Rocky Mountain National Park. You can try snowshoeing, or attend a clinic on avalanche awareness, backcountry skiing or winter camping. Visit REI for details.

++ If you'll be busy skiing 'til later in the month, plan to attend a "Snowshoe Essentials" clinic at our local REI at 7 p.m. Jan. 25. Staffers will help you choose the right gear, teach basic techniques, and talk about great local trails. The local store is at 1376 E. Woodmen Road.

++ Want to take the kiddies on the trail? REI in Denver will hold a clinic, "Snowshoeing with your Baby or Toddler," at 7 p.m. Jan. 22. The Denver store is at 1416 Platte St.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

With 12 days left, skier Chris Davenport has two 14ers to go

I got this note Wedneday from world-class skier Chris Davenport who is trying to ski all Colorado's 54 14,000-foot peaks in one 12-month period. He now has only two left. We'll have more on this soon...
This is just a quick update to let you know I have skied peaks 50 and 51 of my project yesterday and today. Yesterday we skied Little Bear Peak via the Southwest Face to West Ridge and today we skied the fantastic Crestone Needle via the steep and hairy South Couloir. Snow conditions were firm and slippery on Little Bear and soft on the Needle. I'm exhausted at a hotel in Westcliff and will drive home to Aspen tomorrow to write my trip reports and post photos. A big storm is headed our way and I have eleven more days to complete my final three peaks, shavano, Longs, and Blanca (which is totally wind hammered and dry)Stay Tuned for some eye candy!Chris

The next storm: feet not inches

I was catskiing at Monarch Wednesday, and all the guides could talk about was the impending storm, set to move in late tonight.
"Our weather folks say if could be the storm of the century," one of the guides told me. "They say it will be measured in feet, not inches."
OK, sure, we've had plenty of dire warnings of snow over the past few years that haven't materialized, but this year the storm always seems to exceeded the hype.
So... what are your plans for the weekend? If they include skiing, it might be a good idea to start them Friday. Or, dare I say, tonight? Get to a shelter near a ski hill, preferably one with a hot tub, and wait for the snow to pile up. It's supposed to hit most parts of the state.
If we do get two feet in Colorado Springs, (which is a little more than called for) I'm skiing The Incline. And the elk herd that has moved from Black Forest to Falcon will probably be grazing at my corner grocery.