Steep Skiing in Colorado

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Summit County Skiing:              Gore Range                Breckenridge Area                  Grays and Torreys Area

Nearby Counties Skiing        My Skiing Wish List        More Ski Routes                Long Ski Tours on Light Gear


Getting to the goods sometimes takes an effort: Elke Dratch, left, on a tough approach. And Starr Jamison, right, enjoying perfectly cooked corn.

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And Colorado skiing can take many different forms. Here on left Janet Jacks and Dave Blakeslee (and I) enjoy perfect crust cruising on skate skis near Uneva Peak (May 7, 2014). And on right are two photos from one of the many long ski tours one can do: at left is Jonathan Kriegel on the last section of a difficult ski tour (Dec. 27, 2014) from Dumont Lake at East Rabbit Ears Pass to Mt. Werner and down the Steamboat Ski Area. Right photo from same tour on Dec. 29, 2016 (by Kim Clark).

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2020 Spring Blog (brief info on routes and roads from the current spring ski season) (22 ski days from April 3 to June 10)
(Photos and more details are in the route descriptions found by the links above.)

April 3.    Loveland Pass, north side. Excellent conditions.
April 4.    Hassell Peak with Randy Garrison. Too wintry for good skiing. 3200 feet climb. Excellent conditions on the trail out.
April 6.    Climax Corner short ski. Conditions ok. 900 feet.
April 7.    Around Mayflower Hill with Matt Wentz and Bruce Allen. Excellent conditions. 1900 feet climb.
April 9.    Short climb on Buffalo S Side. 800 feet.
April 11.  Lakeview on Buffalo. 3000 feet. Perfect conditions. Two goats on summit. Great conditions in forest for exit.
April 13.  700 feet on Buffalo.
April 14.  1200 feet on Buffalo with Rich Seeley to the overlook of the Caldera on the N side. Fine powder descent
April 16.  Short ski near house.
April 17.  1500 feet on Buffalo solo. Climb was fine, but show was very mushy making descent horrible.
April 19.  Long broad couloir on Arkansas with Katie, Elke, and Randy. Fine conditions. Wintry. 1800 feet. New  line for me.
April 21.  Golden Bear with Matt Wentz. Excellent conditions. 2400 feet.
April 26.  Hermanator #4 on Mt. Machebeuf with Randy. Decent conditions. 2300 feet. New  line for me.
April 28.  To below saddle N of Bethel with Rich Seeley. Decent conditions. 1700 feet. New  line for me.
April 30.  To 12400 knoll on ridge N of Bethel with Matt Wentz. Superb corn conditions on descent. 2000 feet. New  line for me.
May 3.     Hermanator #1, excellent conditions, with Matt Wentz and Randy Garrison. 2400 feet.
May 16.  Uneva SE side with Matt and Randy. Excellent conditions. 2500 feet. New  line for me.
May 18.  Loveland Pass down to Loveland Ski Area with Jonathan Whinston. 925 feet climb. Less snow than usual.
May 23.  To top of South Arkansas (13700 with Matt Wentz. Booted up SE side and skied the SE couloir on descent in perfect conditions. 5.2 hours r.t. 2900 feet climb. New  line for me.
May 28. To Uneva with Elke. Back side was browned out. Went a little farther west and found good conditions down into the SW bowl. New line for me. 1900 feet.
May 31.  Traver (13685) with Matt Wentz. 4+ hours to top-. 7+ hours total. 2900 feet climb. Did a new line, but it was slushy and borderline dangerous to descend. New  line for me.
June 10.  Crystal (13862) with Matt Wentz and Randy Garrison. 3:45 to top. 2900 feet climb. Find conditions on the east face. End of season.

2019 Spring Blog (33 ski days from April 12 to June 12)

2018 Spring Blog (4 ski days from April 29 to May 21)

2017 Spring Blog (15 ski days from May 6 to June 18)

2016 Spring Blog (18 ski days since May 3 to June 18)

2015 Spring Blog (13 ski days from May 2 to June 28)

2014 Spring Blog (20 ski days from May 7 to June 14; last day: June 14)

2013 Spring Blog (18 ski days in May-June; last day: June 6)

2012 Blog (worst spring season; 0 ski days in May, couple in April; last day: April 7)

2011 Blog (28 ski days in May/June/July; last day: July 4)

2010 Spring Blog (8 ski days in May/June/July; last day: June 6)

2009 Spring Blog (23 ski days in May/June/July; last day: July 2)

2008 Spring Blog (24 ski days in May/June; last day: June 29)

2007 Spring Blog (21 ski days in May/June; last day: June 22)

Route List: Graded according to difficulty

In the mid-1990s, when I was told that some people preferred the skiing in June to that in mid-winter, I did not understand. Then I started skiing the steep spring routes. Now I understand!

There are lots of reasons to be enthusiastic about spring skiing. Sure, there are the steep lines that are generally safe. But the whole package is what makes this time of year so great. Often one can ski from a summit back to the car in very short order. Cruising on the gentle terrain around rocks, frozen streams, willows, and ptarmigan is a blast. On the other hand, one does sometimes have to carry skis and boots over wet ground or through thick forests. Well, days like that just make the time spent up high even more special.

The links above give photos and descriptions of routes that are best in May, June, and sometimes July or April. Almost all of these are in sight of the towns of Frisco, Breckenridge, or Silverthorne, though of course I have ventured farther afield towards Leadville and Vail. All of these photos are very striking in a large print, and I can provide such prints on request. I have taken a lot of trouble to get directly opposite the ski lines; it is worth it, as I think the photos of the Ribbon, the Deming Drop, the Zebra Stripes, Sayers, La Plata, Big Eyes, Democrat, and the Tuning Fork show.

Ratings: There is a rating list above; I have not included ratings with the descriptions. If you feel some ratings need adjustment, do tell.

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