Sts. John backcountry skiing
Posted by sibylle in skiing (Friday March 26, 2010 at 6:19 pm)

Just to show I’m not a total wimp, who only skies lift-served terrain, here’s our trip into Saints John. My dog, an Entlebucher Sennenhund, is sitting on my skis so she won’t be buried under the snow!

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Saints John

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Breaking trail in deep powder.

A friend wanted to back country ski, so I pulled out my  (very old) Kästle lightweight skis (with metal edges!) from 1980 or so, slapped on a coat of wax, and we headed up to Sts. John.  The skis  are extremely narrow compared to any modern ski, which works well on an icy trail, since they are very light, and climb quickly.

It works less well in deep snow - they sink.

I’ve got my old Alfa  leather  boots, which are also light, so climbing proves quite pleasant. Descending is fine on the same icy roads, since they go straight quite quickly.

However, I can’t turn them. Someone else may be able to, or maybe with other boots. I’ll take a photo of the skis to show how little they are.

Still, we got out. I skied the Commando Run, from Vail Pass to Vail in these, about 20 years ago. They still work, just not as well as modern gear.

Minturn Mile, Vail’s backcountry skiing
Posted by sibylle in skiing (Thursday March 25, 2010 at 7:07 pm)

Continuing   the story of our ski trip from the top of Vail to the town of Minturn:
Once in the drainage, we skied along the creek, with an occasional break.
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Tarrie taking a break …

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Jump the creek? Or go around?

At the bottom of the drainage, we had to cross to the other side of the creek. We opted to go  around through the willows.


We ended at the Minturn Saloon

At the Saloon, Tarrie, who’s friends with everyone, met a former classmate of hers.  This guy (behind Tarrie) had skied the same trail — BUT … HE JUMPED the creek. Good on him. We all wimped out, wisely, I think!

Take Lift 3, the Wildwood Express lift, to reach the Wildwood Cafe.

Follow the “Lost Boy” trail along the ridge until you see the gate.

Also see Traci’s story for more photos.

Vail backcountry - the Minturn Mile
Posted by sibylle in skiing (Sunday March 7, 2010 at 8:39 pm)

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We started at the top of Vail

On a glorious, sunny bluebird day, I met my friends Tarrie and Traci at the top of Vail resort, at the Wildwood Cafe. Tarrie and Traci climbed up under their own power, Tarrie with Telemark gear and Traci with alpine touring gear. I  conveniently don’t own either tele or AT gear, so I got away with being lazy and rode the lifts up — all four of them.
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The gate at the start

From the Wildwood Cafe, we skied down a catwalk toward the gate that marks the boundaries between Vail resorts terrain and terra incognita.  Traci, who lives and works in Vail, had skied this tour down to the nearby town of Minturn before, but neither Tarrie nor I had been down this drainage.

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Traci starts down the slope past the gate

Past the gate, we skied down an open bowl toward the aspen-lined creek. Earlier in the day, or a day before, this might have been untracked light powder, but we skied it in the afternoon, after several others had been down the tour, and the sun  turned the once fluffy powder into a thicker mush.

In spring, this south-facing bowl might best be done early in the morning.

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