Master of our Dreams: The direction we face is our destination!
Steep and Deep Advisory Notice!
Last week, on Saturday April 20, 2013 there was a catastrophic slab avalanche on Loveland Pass that killed 5 experienced, trained, and prepared backcountry skiers. I had hiked Professor mountain, and then went over to the slide area. This is very sobering, the conditions are ULTRA DANGEROUS, and will likely be so for the next several weeks. Exercise extreme caution in the Colorado mountains at this present time.
Caution about in-bound rides this year. There have been deaths from some fairly minor slides. Deep wet snow over depth hoar, is not a good condition on steep terrain. Monitor conditions carefully. We are into the rapid spring warming phase. Time to consider outher sports until the depleted snow pack sluffs away. Always spring splash and parking lot parties. BE SAFE! The problem is that several weeks of 100+ mph winds heavily loaded lee slopes over bases where depth hoar sugar was the main base at ground level. Unfortunately, this loose ground layer sugar is not going away anytime soon. What a weird combination we have this year, heavy snow fall coupled with a very loose surface layer. Be careful wherever you ride, or maybe hike barren nonsnow ridge lines now that things are so warm. Always lots of fun, roads are dry, bikes are awesome! k
Signing off till next year. Have fun!!
A point about in-bound rides, and no matter what area (from Cobert's at Jackson or Lake Chutes at Breck), conditions can change in a moment's notice, and so can runs. If high winds pick up, storms blow in, cornices can get big and surface ice can develop fast, dangerous heavy snow loads can happen, or even rapid snow melts can occur, just about any nice steep in-bound terrain can change fast, get weird and get closed. Ride at you're own risk. No matter how good an area is at managing a slope, nature has the trump card, so pay attention. k! and be safe. If you want to play games there's always the parking lot and a tail gate party. ;)
Thanks Basin Edge for the great ski tune-up! ;)
Thanks Breeze Ski Rentals, Keystone, and Frisco for a great tune-up!
By the way, this page is only updated when we actually ski, so if we are not up there, when we post, then you find out for yourselves what the conditions are. As always, you do this stuff at your own risk, if you are not up for the ride don't do it, if so ..go.
BTW There are posts on the web that place Keystone's back country ski steeper than anywhere else except Aspen Highlands. Would someone who knows someone who runs those websites take them down 2nd Notch when it opens for comparison? :)
Warnoing Backcountry Avalanche Conditions
Keystone for a great tune up!!
Pictured left is Josh Walker descending Elevator Shaft, December 9, 2010.
This web site's charter is simple, to promote the notion that, "not all double BLACK DIAMOND runs are the same!"
For example, there are many 'in bounds' double black ski runs in Summit County, some are 'ho hum' relatively easy (for an expert skier) bump runs, others are potentially deadly, with possibly high to very high consequences for failure. I know, this makes some of us lick our lips, just at the thought of skiing or riding such EXciting terrain.
The problem has been that ski areas in Summit County, and for that matter, across the country, call all their steep runs DOUBLEBLACK. Okay, yes, areas label access to such terrain with the term EX for extreme terrain when double black runs go over 45 degrees and have enough objective hazards. However, that general notion leaves much to the imagination, and leaves plenty of ground for controversy.
Skiing and riding are developing as sports with more people moving to higher end experiences, be that bigger jumps and more elaborate tricks in terrain parks, or pressing the bounds of steep and deep. This site is geared toward connoisseurs of the steep and deep variety.
The lack of an independant review of such 'in-bounds' DOUBLE BLACK runs leaves ski areas open for respectless comparisons. For example, (to prod blog feedback) Breckenridge touts 55 degree extreme runs at the Lake Chute area. I've been told by Breckenridge ski and snowboard experts that in fact, the Lake Chutes are the most extreme slopes in Summit County. Oh really, have these bold riders hiked into the Second Notch double black extreme run at the legend, A-basin?
Here's why this site exists, to promote an 'in-bounds' concensus-based rating system to share with other 'in-bounds' EX terrain connoisseurs. The traditional GREEN circle, BLUE square, BLACK diamond, double black diamond, and EX extreme and objective hazard notification, is a good general rule of thumb, and starting place, but leaves the high end 'in bounds' EX routes thoughtlessly under scored.
Potentially Lethal Terrain
Upper East Wall - North Pole Chutes
TRUE 3D ASPECT STEEPNESS IN BOUND MAPPING (Find your Sweet Spot)
The 3dskmaps website has 3D Aspect Terrain Maps for all major ski areas located in the U.S. and can be used as an intelligent source for identifying exteme terrain, and for comparing the EX terrain from area to area.
Just for the sake of taking a shameless moment to build a minute degree of credibility before discussing in bound EX terrain, I've skiied every conceivable line at the Lake Chutes, yes some are dilectibly steep, and I have skiied every posted run on the upper East Wall at A-basin, plus a couple of derivative paths, too. I've skiied a solid number of chutes, notches, and couilors on 13ers and 14ers. Oh, yeah, I do a bit of film work too, so I'm a natural sucker for a dramatic view.
Also, for you extreme practitioners out there, I've been seen going up the same EX runs that I skiied in deep snow on one day, and on the following day when visibility got bad and the terrain iced over, I've sheepishly walked away. When conditions change for the worst, I'm the first to leave the scene. While I've done many 'in bounds' and 'out of bounds' EX chutes, I'm clearly not a style master unless conditions are perfect, I get down safely first.
There are many fantastic EX skiiers, who we all know of and watch on videos. I on the other hand am just a 'Joe' EX adventure connoisseur who wishes to add a beneficial perspective to the growing branch of adventure snow sports experts. This website will not promote discussion 'out of bounds' experiences (there are too many wonderful back country sites out there); however, I reserve one exception, if such back country discussion adds clarification to the 'in bounds' EX experience.
Also, on the blog portion, while the site focus's on respect (as EX terrain demands), radical opinions are welcome, and while we're discussing Xrated terrain this site promotes language that is for GREEN circle audiences, so if you use the F word, don't be surprised to see your comment vaporize, and for you to get blocked from access. Otherwise, pretty much anything within the bounds of radical respect is tollerated.
Breeze Tune ups
The first and last rule, when visiting this site, or skiing or riding double black diamond extreme chutes, 'in bounds' or otherwise, is you do so at your own risk. ;) No discussion on this site implies that any 'in or out of bounds' EX areas are safe. Just like avalanche control is an in exact science, so is skiing extreme terrain for a variety of reasons. With that said, shread up the terrain!!