Due to our flight on sunday afternoon, we had to leave a bit early, and it didn't make sense to do one more day at Silterton. Turns out, conditions had turned to crap anyway, so that was a good decision in hindsight.
Instead on sunday morning we drove towards Durango and spent a quick day at the Durango Mountain Resort. We had an inch or so of fresh snow in the morning, but that wasn't enough to cover the ice crud under it.
The weather got sunny pretty quickly, which gave us some softer snow just after lunch, but again, it was chasing spring conditions in March: from ice to slush, kinda sad.
In hindsight, I'd have been happier waiting in durango, the conditions were just poor and Durango Resort not that exciting (would have been fine with 1ft of powder, or ok enough with real snow, but with ice, it kinda sucked, especially the part where I managed to mess up my thumb with my ski pole while sliding on ice).
Oh well, such is life :)
I had been buggy Arturo to go to Silverton with me ever since I went in 2008.
We made this the end of a trip in Colorado, which gave us more than enough time to acclimatize, but like I was fearing, we didn't luck out on snow. They had snow, but in the few days prior to our arrival at Silverton, temperatures got unseasonably warm (above freezing at 13,000ft), causing the otherwise nice high altitude snow to turn to ice or other unpleasant things :-/ Snow as actually better than the very low bar I expected on thursday and friday, but saturday, it was just bad almost everywhere: it melted and froze overnight but it wasn't warm enough during the day to become soft. No fun...
As a second unfortunate event, Silverton decided to send their Heli away a few days before we arrived, removing all options for Heli skiing, something we were quite looking forward to, especially for those who had never done it. Silverton looked at the weather forecast, and decide to just break their contract with us and other folks who had made advance bookings, and sent their Heli to Alaska earlier than planned. Obviously we weren't thrilled about this, so they gave us a private guide to try and make up somewhat for what happened.
Regis and Bill flew in the day before and met us in Silverton. Unfortunately, that meant they didn't have much time to acclimatize to the altitude, and while Bill did ok, Regis had problems with the altitude unfortunately, and it did affect his ability to ski. He ended up spending the last day in Durango instead of Silverton, to be at lower altitude without any crazy hiking.
A few pictures from Silverton and the house we rented:
the house we were in
geeks at work :)
Anyway, here are some pictures for Day #1:
Calvin, our guide, giving us a primer on using avalanche probes
Nice bus to pick up skiers at the bottom of some slopes :)
The lodge tent and ski bus rental store are still there :)
when given the chance, I went to play in the trees, jumping tree trunks :)
don't ask :)
Day #2, was still decent thanks to the sun softening the otherwise hard snow, although it's sad to work in spring conditions mode in early March...
Concussion Woods sounds like a fun run, or how about Horsecock Basin? ::)
thanks to having been there for a week, and diamox, I did quite well with hiking :)
A few videos from that better day:
(another tree run where I botched a landing after jumping a tree)
Day #3, was tougher. By then the snow had gotten pretty iced up, and there wasn't much snow (even an inch of snow) to soften up the layer. Our guide Calvin talked the rest of the group (minus Regis who went to Durango to ski at lower altitude) to hike up to the billboard. It was a long 1h+ hike of 1000ft or so, to a total of 13,050ft give or take. The hike wasn't as bad as I remembered it, but the end is still dicey, and holding on to a rope when climbing:
the so called billboard is on the right. A long hike...
many folks did the same hike than us, since the snow otherwise sucked
we actually climbed to the very peak, most people stopped just a bit short
top of the world! (kinda)
a bit of snow
And that was it for day #3. We only got 4 runs (instead of 5 the other days, or a possible 6-7), but considering we went to the billboard, the lift closed for a while due to lightening, and the snow was far from stellar, it didn't really matter much.
That was it for our day. Our guide Calvin did a great job getting us the best he could considering the finicky snow and difficult weather. The overall conditions, as well as lack of Heli were disappointing, but the folks who came had fun, so that's what matters in the end.
A few shots from Arturo, Karl, and Bill:
Arturo and I flew into Denver, where Karl and Suwei met us and drove us their Condo in keystone.
We got there a bit late on thursday night, but didn't have to go far on friday, we just walked to the lift :)
The snow on friday wasn't stellar, but eh, it was a good day to warm up (although a bad day for me since I had a brand new board that was totally unwaxed it turns out, and it took me a while to fix the stance of the bindings until I was reasonably comfortable with them on not so good snow, and mogul fields)
time for work :)
Day #2 finally had some fresh snow, not gobs of it, but it kept falling during the day, so that was good. On the wrong slopes, it was still brutal: sheets of ice with a bit of powder on top, but thankfully Karl and Suwei got us to north facing slopes that were much better and fun:
A few videos from that better day:
For the 3rd day, we went to Beaver Creek. There was a little bit more snow that fell since the previous day, so it wasn't half bad :)
Arturo got it right, that's the best way not to fall :)