Backcountry Touring and 14er Skiing Progression

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bergsteigen
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Re: Backcountry Touring and 14er Skiing Progression

Post by bergsteigen » Fri Dec 18, 2020 1:56 pm

To prepare for spring peak skiing season I do 3 things.

1. Resort skiing. Ski big days, lots of vertical to build the legs and endurance. Ski the extreme terrain in all snow and weather conditions. Back to back (to back) days. When resorts close, I note that my strength and endurance decreases a bit while skiing in the late spring/summer. Skiing a 3K line and not having to stop every 4 turns requires more than you think.

2. Uphill ski resorts. A safe and user friendly way to build experience and exercise without having to worry about avalanches and various terrain issues. Great to do at night after work, since skiing a groomer in the dark is safer than the BC.

3 Backcountry ski. Once the sharks have disappeared I go ski my favorite zones. It gives me a good feel for the snow layers in that zone throughout the winter, so I know how it’s transitioning into spring. There are quite a few areas that have a variety of terrain choices. Just don’t be a parking idiot this season. Have a backup plan if the parking lot is full.
"Auto racing, bull fighting, and mountain climbing are the only real sports ... all others are games." - Ernest Hemingway (or was it Barnaby Conrad?)
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Re: Backcountry Touring and 14er Skiing Progression

Post by wyeaster » Mon Jan 11, 2021 11:30 am

Such a good thread! Thanks, Ottina, for your awesome resource.

Question for all: I'm a fairly seasoned skier from BC/Oregon. I just moved to CO, and it seems "skimo season" starts in March. Is this because 1) avy hazard in Dec—Feb is just *too hard* to mitigate, or 2) that the snow sucks until spring?

Thank you!!
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Re: Backcountry Touring and 14er Skiing Progression

Post by cottonmountaineering » Mon Jan 11, 2021 11:43 am

wyeaster wrote:
Mon Jan 11, 2021 11:30 am
Such a good thread! Thanks, Ottina, for your awesome resource.

Question for all: I'm a fairly seasoned skier from BC/Oregon. I just moved to CO, and it seems "skimo season" starts in March. Is this because 1) avy hazard in Dec—Feb is just *too hard* to mitigate, or 2) that the snow sucks until spring?

Thank you!!
Oregon/PNW has a much safer and consistent snowpack, Colorado has a lot of things going on that dont happen so much there - High winds, drastic temperature swings, long periods of no precip and sun, very cold temps

Above treeline skiing in winter is typically poor for both reasons you listed, the wind (and other factors) makes for poor skiing, its too dangerous for most people to be skiing big, steep stuff until they know the snowpack is reasonably safe
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Re: Backcountry Touring and 14er Skiing Progression

Post by wyeaster » Mon Jan 11, 2021 8:25 pm

^Good to know, thanks! sounds like I'll be playing in the trees 'til April—could be worse :)
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Re: Backcountry Touring and 14er Skiing Progression

Post by SchralpTheGnar » Wed Jan 13, 2021 8:12 am

I’d add that the typical skimo season is more like April-June witha a solid 8 week period where conditions are good. March is usually still a winter snowpack with all the usual problems of instability and bad snow, the transitional snowpack is just as bad to ski. Obviously varies year to year, but patience is key, especially with the bigger lines if you want good conditions.

For example I waited probably 10 years for the right conditions to ski Blanca and Little Bear and had 2 all time descents on those peaks. Of course if you want to just tick things off a list then you can ski stuff in wildly bad conditions and survive, but who wants to do that.
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Re: Backcountry Touring and 14er Skiing Progression

Post by spoony » Wed Jan 13, 2021 9:08 am

SchralpTheGnar wrote:
Wed Jan 13, 2021 8:12 am
I’d add that the typical skimo season is more like April-June witha a solid 8 week period where conditions are good. March is usually still a winter snowpack with all the usual problems of instability and bad snow, the transitional snowpack is just as bad to ski. Obviously varies year to year, but patience is key, especially with the bigger lines if you want good conditions.

For example I waited probably 10 years for the right conditions to ski Blanca and Little Bear and had 2 all time descents on those peaks. Of course if you want to just tick things off a list then you can ski stuff in wildly bad conditions and survive, but who wants to do that.
Every March I get giddy to get above treeline when the avy danger begins to die down. Then I go out and ski rock-hard sastrugi or trap-crust crap and am reminded that in most seasons, March is still very much winter above treeline.
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Re: Backcountry Touring and 14er Skiing Progression

Post by mk12 » Mon Jan 18, 2021 4:33 pm

Any advice for finding backcountry partners?
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Re: Backcountry Touring and 14er Skiing Progression

Post by bergsteigen » Mon Jan 18, 2021 6:52 pm

mk12 wrote:
Mon Jan 18, 2021 4:33 pm
Any advice for finding backcountry partners?
Finding good BC partners is almost as tricky as finding a romantic partner, if not more so!

There are a few FB groups like Colorado Backcountry Ski and Snowboard to get to know the community. Though this year/season is bad to find people, since conditions are bad and the danger is more than usual. I haven’t gone BC yet, since I’m not willing to get injured hitting a shark in marginal snow conditions! Uphilling resorts is the best snow going on right now.
"Auto racing, bull fighting, and mountain climbing are the only real sports ... all others are games." - Ernest Hemingway (or was it Barnaby Conrad?)
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Re: Backcountry Touring and 14er Skiing Progression

Post by Jorts » Mon Jan 18, 2021 7:48 pm

I'd suggest doing a skimo race and introducing yourself to some people. It's a great way to meet people of similar fitness and skills. But yeah, tough this season thanks to covid. And there are some limited alpine options out there right now on marginal snow. This was a 13er today.
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Re: Backcountry Touring and 14er Skiing Progression

Post by Jorts » Mon Jan 18, 2021 7:53 pm

SchralpTheGnar wrote:
Wed Jan 03, 2018 6:44 pm
Have you skied corbets?
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Re: Backcountry Touring and 14er Skiing Progression

Post by mk12 » Tue Jan 19, 2021 7:28 am

bergsteigen wrote:
Mon Jan 18, 2021 6:52 pm
mk12 wrote:
Mon Jan 18, 2021 4:33 pm
Any advice for finding backcountry partners?
Finding good BC partners is almost as tricky as finding a romantic partner, if not more so!
Great, can't wait haha!
Jorts wrote:
Mon Jan 18, 2021 7:48 pm
I'd suggest doing a skimo race and introducing yourself to some people. It's a great way to meet people of similar fitness and skills.
Thanks, this is great advice.

On a slightly different note, what is everyone's preferred ski size (specifically waist size) for spring Colorado conditions? Debating between getting a skimo race ski or one that's more in the mid-70s waist width.
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Re: Backcountry Touring and 14er Skiing Progression

Post by bergsteigen » Tue Jan 19, 2021 8:08 am

mk12 wrote:
Tue Jan 19, 2021 7:28 am

On a slightly different note, what is everyone's preferred ski size (specifically waist size) for spring Colorado conditions? Debating between getting a skimo race ski or one that's more in the mid-70s waist width.
I find 90 is the perfect width to get a good edge and deal with the crud. Too skinny, and you’ll sink too much. 90 also happens to be the most popular amongst my resort skis too, though I do have skinnier and fatter for special conditions.
"Auto racing, bull fighting, and mountain climbing are the only real sports ... all others are games." - Ernest Hemingway (or was it Barnaby Conrad?)
Your knees only get so many bumps in life, don't waste them on moguls!
“No athlete is truly tested until they’ve stared an injury in the face and come out on the other side stronger than ever” -anonymous

http://otinasadventures.com @otina
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