Thursday, April 30, 2009

Backcountry Skiing in Summit County

What a week. Work has been keeping me busy, but luckily I have friends like Chuck Bird and John Bicknell to prod me back out in the BC. On Wednesday we decided to go ski the North Chute on Mt Buffalo in Summit county. It is one of my favorite runs in the sate as it gives about 3,000 vertical in one solid fall line shot.We started from Boulder at 5:30 am not knowing what to expect in Summit as we had been enjoying the goods in RMNP (see past blogs) and I could only hope the snow was nearly as pleasant. The drive up went quickly and after a pit stop at the Blue Moon Bakery in Dillon we were off and skinning by 7:30.

The ascent went by quickly and we all stood upon the summit in beautiful weather and light gear. I am still amazed at how great new ski gear is and how it has changed the skiing and skinning experience of a few years ago. I was hoping the right chute about half way down would be in as we skied off the summit into an excellent chute. The snow proved to be a bit of a mix, but mostly soft velvety corn with a bit of fresh snow on the shadier aspects. After watching John self arrest with his whippet (I can’t say enough about them) the descent went smoothly and the right exit appeared to be in.

As we went over the little ridge I could see we were in for a treat... one of the nicest chutes through two rock walls I have ever skied. The snow was soft and we quickly exited the chute onto the lower gentle slopes with perfect corn. I always felt as confident and in control as I do when skiing perfect corn. The skin out proved to be nice and quick and we emerged at the car three and a half hours after starting. I am off to the Utah desert with my family and friends and look forward to testing my new elbow on desert cracks. The snow in RMNP will be around for a while and I am looking forward to getting out a few more times before the season is over.

Mike Alkaitis
Total Climbing
2829 Mapleton Ave.
Boulder, CO 80302
303-447-2804 ext.107


Anonymous said...

This is a trip I've been meaning to do for a couple years. To my understanding there are two chutes. The other being a bit less intense. Is that correct?

Total Climbing said...

Yes, there are two couloirs located on the north side of Buffalo. The first is steeper (mid to upper 40s) and the other is less (upper 30s?). Great skis and well worth the skin. Let us know if you have any more questions. Thanks for checking out our blog.

zac540 said...

Looks like you guys hit up Y Couloir. I was just up there a couple weeks ago to ski it. The snow wasn't terrible, although thin in areas. Check out my blog about some of our backcountry adventures here in Summit County. and maybe drop me a link back and I'll return the favor.

Anonymous said...

Wow! what an awesome mountain! I live in Ohio and don't get a good selection of terrain unless I go to Vermont, which is about a 3-4 hour drive. I have always wanted to visit Colorado for Skiing. I just got a Pieps Dsp and I haven't even had a chance to try it out! Hopefully will get some snowfall here in the next couple of weeks and I can test that thing out!