Western Roadshow — Part I

By:  Jake
May 2, 2012

When the days start to get long and the eastern snowpack is on it’s way out, I load up my Subie and hightail it West for some Rocky Mountain schuss-action. Corn snow and open season on peaks that usually spend the winter mired in a very touchy and active avalanche cycle are easy motivators. They propel me into the “bumming” lifestyle and extend my ski season through the month of May.

Vermont did a good job to send me off well. Between powder skiing (thank you HOW), tuna collar, and picking up a few pieces of gear at the last second, I felt prepped and satiated for a few long days of driving across the heartland of our nation. I had heard rumor that the western Colorado snowpack was on it’s way out at a rapid clip, so I was driving with some purpose. Luckily, a 15” refresher just ahead of my arrival helped stave off snow starvation that would have occurred at an unprecedented early date.

Even with the new coat of white, the Colorado snowpack as a whole (including the San Juan Mountains where I aimed to ply my trade) stood at only 35% of normal for the latter portion of April. There was no time to shake the car lag off, I had to ski right away. The first day for me was just a few short laps around 11,000 ft in the pass. There is nothing like stepping out of the car after 2,550 miles of driving and putting the skis and skins on to ascend at altitude. WOOF!! I was slow and gasping for air like some sort of aquamarine life removed from it’s natural environs. But, like I said, time was of the essence, and the prime conditions don’t wait for the Jake to get acclimated.

Day two saw the first push above 13,000 ft as we took a run at the Cross Couloir.

Powder was the name of the game on this morning. We skinned up a couple thousand vert, passing some gorgeous powder slopes, with our sights set on the chute.
With skins removed, some rock and snow cramponing up to the unnamed summit revealed the entrance to our shot.

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Read about the author:   Jake
Enjoy this TR? Read another: TR: Nisqually Ice Cliff


  1. Sam
    wrote on May 3rd, 2012 at 1:32 am  

    Wow it is dry looking in CO. looks like some fun turns in that chute though

  2. powhounddd
    wrote on May 3rd, 2012 at 11:39 am  

    way more schuss than our backyard!! Look forward to more of this fine trip reporting. Thanks!!

  3. Jake
    wrote on May 3rd, 2012 at 12:25 pm  

    Dry for sure. I have never seen it like this before. Just another testament to the curious case of the missing 11-12 winter. For most places, at least. Hopefully things can come together for a couple more lines I have my sights set on before following the mountains north (and west).

    Thanks Powhounddd. I hope to get some more up in the near future.

  4. savant
    wrote on May 15th, 2012 at 2:00 pm  

    good warm weather diversion – thanks for the post

  5. Peter
    wrote on May 20th, 2012 at 3:24 pm  

    Ah, the road trip. To sleep, perchance to schuss. Great story and pictures Thanks for posting.

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