Skinning Loveland

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Ever since moving to Colorado snow sports have appealed but the cost had always been the limiting factor. My 1st year here I picked up snowboarding and got in a good season of 23 days on the slopes. Last year funds dropped and cost of living increased and I got a measly 3 days on the slopes. This year I've yet to get a day on the board but am hoping to change that in the next few weeks.

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Back country beckoned but the idea of being caught in an avalanche...simply put, scares the shit out of me. It should too, experienced backcountry users with avalanche training and the proper gear can be caught off guard even in areas they know well. The number one killer for winter backcountry use in Colorado is an avalanche and being a father and husband, it makes me take pause.

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This weekend I knew the mountain bike trails were gonna be out due to all the recent snow fall in the Denver area so I sent my buddy PBR a text to see if he wanted to do some low angle and relatively safe backcountry at Butler Gulch. He was game so I contacted another buddy, Bad Andy to see if I could borrow his gear.

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All was set but when Bad Andy and myself started talking more about it, he brought up some concerns. The ok snowboarder that I am, skiing is something I had never done in my life. His concerns were the trees in the Butler Gulch area and it rose my own concerns to where I contacted another friend who was a skier and snowboarder and we all came to the conclusion that maybe I should try some wide open areas 1st. Bad Andy's idea was skin up Loveland before the lifts opened and after some coercion we got PBR talked into it.

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PBR and I arrived at the Loveland Ski area around 6:30am in the morning. We skinned up about 2 miles and somewhere around 1500-2000 ft to a little over 12,000 ft. I'll admit that the skin left me feeling a little too self assured as skinning is just about as easy as hiking. As soon as the skis turned downhill though, I became about as efficient as a snail high on crack. It was so ugly, that it took me almost 3 hours to ski down what it had taken a little over an hour to skin up. It was so ugly that ski patrol stopped and asked us three times if I wanted a ride down, which I turned down all three.

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Funny though, as slow as I was, it didn't give a knuckle dragging snowboarder the chance to avoid me. Fugger! He got his ears chomped a bit but in the end, I let it go. Even funnier, I'm going back to the old faithful snowboard. Though I am looking at a Split board set up, which is basically a snowboard that can be split into two halves for skinning up the mountain and then put back together so you can snowboard down.

skinning up Loveland

2 comments:

  Pablo

February 17, 2011 at 8:07 AM

Time for a split board. You are handy enough that a voile split kit applied to your current board is probably the way to go. I've got a friend here in the springs who did his this year if you ever get the itch and want some tips.

  ExtrmTao

March 17, 2011 at 4:23 PM

Too funny Goat Man!! Try skinning up some steeps in some serious powder. Now that's a workout!!

Hope all is well.

-J