Fall Skiing: Done the Colorado Way

Mike Berg

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CSU student Jonny Jessup gives two thumbs up when back country skiing up Cameron Pass in the Poudre Canyon. (Provided by Jonny Jessup)

By: Jonny Jessup 

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Approaching the Eisenhower tunnel and seeing skiers on our left at Loveland instantly gave us the jitters. The surrounding Alpenglow was quickly fading and being replaced by a black sky as we drove into tunnel. Our first test was waiting for us at the light of the tunnel. Popping out into the other side I could make out multiple spin-outs and flashing hazard lights through my sleet-covered windshield. However, my friends and I weren’t going to let the Colorado elements keep us from carving the fresh powder. Now for our second test. I threw on the hazard lights and joined the swarm of Subaru’s riding their breaks down the hill, continuing the trek to Arapahoe Basin. With purple knuckles grasping the wheel, we and our caravan turned off into Dillon and continued up Route 6 towards A-Basin.

We grew a little anxious driving past Keystone and seeing nothing but green grass on the slopes. After all, at this point A-basin and Loveland were the only ski areas with enough snow to open. Chugging up, we finally arrived and it was evident that despite it being November 4th, ski season was officially in full

Cole Rickard, CSU student, ascends the Y Couloir of Mt. Mahler above Lake Agnes which is located up the Poudre Canyon. (Luke Koppa)

swing. With most of the lots already full, we quickly snagged a spot in the Last Chance Lot. We emptied out of the car and hobbled towards the lift line in our clunky ski boots. Not only were we surrounded by a snow flurry but also by loads of like-minded skiers and about twenty “Von Millers” waiting in line as it was jersey day.

Only two lifts were open. The Black Mountain Express, the main high-speed quad connected to the plaza, and the Lenawee mountain lift. Though the options may have been limited, the recent snowfall blessed us with fresh pow to shred and we couldn’t ask for anything more, in early November nonetheless. We had the itch and we scratched it. It felt glorious to get back out on the mountain and get our legs back into shape, but the best feeling? There’s only more ski days ahead.

Keystone and Breckenridge are joining the party, opening Friday, November 10.

For those of you with the Rocky Mountain Super Pass, Copper Mountain opens November 10th as well and Winter Park will open a little later on November 15th.

Steamboat is aiming to be open on November 23rd.

Tips for Ski Travel:

  • Leave early! 6:30am at the latest.
  • Pack a lunch as food served at the resorts is crazy expensive.
  • Sunscreen is your friend!
  • Keep your skis and boards freshly waxed and tuned throughout the season, yes it does make a difference.
  • If you’re driving in a winter storm and don’t have a reliable vehicle or much experience in snowy conditions, DO NOT follow the car screaming down the highway. Know your limits and drive accordingly.