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A Basin 03/12/17

dlague

Active member
Joined
Nov 7, 2012
Messages
8,789
Points
36
Location
CS, Colorado
A Basin

Conditions:
PP, firm bumps, windblown crust on natural

Our son and his girlfriend were visiting from New England on their way through to California. The original plan was to ski Saturday and Sunday but their plans shifted on Friday and we ended up picking them up on Saturday around noon in Denver. As a result, we did some sightseeing around Colorado Springs and planned for a day at A Basin on Sunday. Our son stationed at Fort Carson and his girlfriend were also going to meet us at A Basin. Effectively, we would have 3 of our 4 boys which we were pretty excited about.

Getting to A Basin, we opted to take the back way even though it adds like 30 minutes to the drive. We wanted to show a more scenic route with sightings of buffalo, antelope and mule deer as well as the collegiate peaks, views from Wilkerson Pass and a drive through Main Street of Breckenridge. As we approached Hoosier Pass it was snowing lightly and the snow would intensify throughout the day. We arrived to a shroud of cloud cover which made us wonder what the day would bring. We started by making a run off Black Mountain Lift down High Moon which was in ideal shape. We next opted for some runs in Montezuma Bowl and when we arrived we were above the cloud line and we could not see the bowl at all. But looking down Larkspur, we could vaguely see trees below so we decided to ski down it and then we cut across over to Long Chute for some natural terrain. Even though it was snowing pretty hard and they had gotten 3-4 inches earlier, the wind had blown much of it away. The result was a windblown crusty chop. While it skied OK it was not a time to lose control. That was a one and done. We were testing that run to see if dropping in off Zuma Cornice was even an option and it was not. We then took a run on the opposite side of the bowl on Northern Spy which was the same. We did ski some trees Eureka and part of Torrey’s but both were a mix bag of windblown powder and very scratchy bumps which my boys and I found to be ok but not really worth the fare. Clearly the snow was blowing over the top to the front side where conditions were much better.

After, two runs we opted to go back to the front side. However, light was getting very flat, snowing hard with wind and skiing down Humbug (a half pipe shaped run) proved to be challenging enough because pitch changes and bumps were not visible. It was so weird because every time I stopped it felt like the ground was still moving - we all seemed to be experiencing that. It was not until the end of Dercum’s Gulch where we were able to have better visibility and skied to the base for one more run off Black Mountain Express before eating lunch.

During lunch it snowed quite heavy the entire time while we enjoyed our thermos hotdogs, premixed Bloody Mary’s, our packaged beer (Telluride Brewery IPA) and assorted snacks. When we got back out, it seemed to have cleared up a bit so we when to the top of the Lenawee Mountain Lift and took the East Wall Traverse then skied down to Lenawee Lift. The terrain on the east wall was better than Montezuma Bowl. It was more traveled and the snow was building up there, however, it was still pretty choppy. The rock outcrops seem way bigger when you are there than when looking at them from the lift. Interestingly enough, the light did not seem as flat there compared to our next run on Lenawee Face and Dercum’s Gulch again. When we got to the base the cloud line lowered again and it was getting windier so we opted to just make runs from Black Mountain Express to last chair. We did a run on Exhibition and Ramrod which had nice but Styrofoam like bumps. I found then to be exhausting - not sure if it was because it was later in the day. We skied a few of the glades and North Fork was a go to run almost every time. North Fork is another half pipe like trail with bumps here and there and other playful features. We had a great day skiing with all the kids. I have to hand it to my wife, she skied with one of our NH son’s girlfriend who is a beginner intermediate and coached her through “steeper for her” sections. There are times where my wife would have preferred to ski with the boys but enjoyed being the coach for once instead of being coached.

Overall not the perfect day to introduce someone to Colorado but we made the best of it. BTW, our Ft Carson son drove up the 70 without issue and we left on the 70 without issue. I think traffic volume is already starting to diminish. On a different note, while we got a few inches over the past few days it is warming up in good shape and temps in the mountains will be hitting close to 50-55 at the base of Keystone and Breck with just below freezing temps at night. This is not good for this time of year where March is generally the snowiest month. I guess it is our turn to get not so favorable weather. Spring conditions will reign for a while.

Interesting comment by our NH son at the face of Larkspur - blues are like New England blacks here - mostly concerned about his girlfriend! Now he is a crazy good skier in his own right!




Looking into Zuma Bowl



View from Long Chute once below cloud line



From bottom of Larkspur



Looking up Long Chute

 
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dlague

Active member
Joined
Nov 7, 2012
Messages
8,789
Points
36
Location
CS, Colorado
Snowing strong during lunch



Ramrod pretty good bumps and pitch for a blue run



Looking up Ramrod



TB Glades - nice bumps before trees



Drive over Loveland Pass.



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