One Un-earned Turn Leads to Another


Having gotten more and more into backcountry skiing lately, I’ve learned the joy (among other things) of working for my turns.  Of course, I’ve also developed that annoying disdain for lift-served skiing shared by many backcountry geeks, especially the telemark purists.  Resort skiing has a lot in common with golf; both are done outdoors in a more-or-less natural setting, but the people who do them aren’t often the type that do any other sort of outdoor activity like mountain biking or hiking.  On the other hand, I have to admit, getting in ridiculous amounts of descent in a day is still a hell of a lot of fun!

Kevin and I needed to wash the taste of a particularly harrowing February out of our minds: brutal weather, employment uncertainties, Hubble proposals, medical drama.  So we played hooky and headed to Loveland for some skiing.  The weather was stunning, the crowds were non-existent, and we were disinclined to be at work on a Tuesday.

Kevin and his Epic Hat up on The Ridge (tm)

I won’t bore you with the details.  Suffice it to say that we tore it up all day long.  Kevin is a marginally better skier than I am and the weather was fabulous, so we spent a lot of time on Lift 9 (formerly the highest lift in the northern hemisphere) and made five descents from the Divide down various very steep bowls.  We fell a lot, but mostly this was okay.  I’d debated bringing my new much-adored telemark gear, but instead opted for the traditional alpine setup the better to keep up with Kevin.  And this was a good thing; there’s no way I would have survived double-black terrain with free heels.

Ah, good stuff.  There’s no way I would have made 19 runs and been as sore as I ended up had I been responsible for the uphill as well as the downhill!  I still don’t consider resort skiing to be real outdoor recreation, but I’ll freely admit it can be a heck of a lot of fun if you leave your attitude in the car.

Patrol Bowl: technically, my first double-black route and a lot steeper than this photo makes it look... especially when you're standing at the top!

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