Powder Days in Summit County
Well the last month has been absolutely insane!! The snow has been coming down for as long as I can remember and shows no sign of slowing down. Granted there has been a couple days without any accumulation but the snow was replaced with blue bird skies, which is the next best thing. In late January and early February we had multiple storms where accumulation was measured in feet instead of inches. The conditions are the best I have ever experienced. Even talking with locals you can tell this has been the best season in years! You can feel the buzz just standing in the lift lines and around town. Everyone eagerly waiting to lay down some fresh tracks on their favorite line. There is not a happier bunch of people than skiers and boarders on a pow day.
And this hasn't been just one powder day, it was pow-day after pow-day after pow-day. I would wake up in the morning, shovel a foot of snow, ski all day, come home and shovel another foot. Putting fresh tracks down in waist deep goodness is the most exhilarating thing you can imagine. You are literally choking on snow while every turn is a face shot followed by a split second of blindness. Jumping and floating through terrain, launching wind drifts and cliffs with little apprehension, knowing the feet of powder will catch you. A tumble is simply a few seconds in the "white room" and some how you end up back on your skis, hooting and hollering from the adrenaline. Not wanting to miss a second of these epic conditions we would ski to absolute exhaustion, not stopping for lunch or even waiting for friends, hitting a hot tub that night, then doing it all over the next day.
The bottom picture is from December 1st, the day I landed in Breckenridge. The upper photo is from our last big storm. To date we have received over 25 feet of snow! That is the typical yearly average, and with February and March being the snowiest months I'm sure we will add to that number.
Ok, so now that I have all that awesomeness off my chest lets back up a little bit. We need to talk about just how all this snow started and who is responsible for it. That person would be no one else but the winter god Ullr from Norse mythology. With Breckenridge's annual Ullr Fest, the town spent a week praying to the god of skiing and snow; clearly it paid off. The main attraction is the parade which has some of the craziest and most random floats. The festival ends with a bonfire where old skis are tossed in and burned as sacrifices to Ullr.
The past few seasons I have been contemplating switching over to skis. The issue was that I didn't want to take the time during a vacation to learn. So this year I finally decided to take the plunge and get a ski set up. There were are number of reasons for making this move. First off is the better mobility you get with skiing. Having poles and being able to traverse and skate through flat areas is much easier than boarding. Another major factor was back country access. I built the ski package with a binding that can release the heal for touring and skinning up hill, also know as an A/T binding (alpine/touring). The best thing is that I can use this ski on the resort with out any performance issues. Taking full advantage of the Vail employee discount I decided to buy new and settled on the Vokl Gottamas aka "the goats", with Marker Baron A/Ts and Dalbello Pantera boots to match. They are 178's with 107 under foot. That makes for a solid powder ski that can also charge in the trees and icy conditions. I have not left snowboarding completely but I have fallen in love with skiing.
A cool thing about Breck is they allow uphill traffic on the resort from 5:30 pm until 8:30 am. So with my new ski touring set up I put on the skins and headed up peak 9 for some night time adventure. With the head lamp and the stars leading the way it took about 1 1/2 hours to reach the top. Looking down on the lights of the town with a blanket of stars covering the valley, it made me appreciate the beauty of this place even more. After soaking in the silence I peeled the climbing skins off and made my way down the mountain with only the tips of my skis illuminated.
Now don't worry, its not all work and no play...just kidding its mostly just playing, both on and off the mountain. Breckenridge has a great night life with great food and an even better music scene. You can usually stop in anywhere and you will more than likely run into someone you know. Even though the town is huge for tourism there is still that small town vibe. Living in the "The Betty" also offers some unique opportunities than your typical apartment. I spent some of my "spare time" building a little bonfire snow fort. With help from mother nature I ended up with a pretty cool little front yard. If you get too warm at the fire you can practice some tricks off the roof of the RV.
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The Story Behind the Story
After a year living in my camper named "The Betty", I've decided to take those adventures and make it a lifestyle. From the first day of the journey to the launch of my business I've kept a journal here at "Miles in the Mirror".
If you want to go back to the beginning, click the link below and it'll bring you to day one.