Ski on Yelping Dog Peak

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Arrived at the trailhead to more snow than I've ever seen here.

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We broke out the probe to show you how deep this snow is. The probe is 200 cm long – or 6.5 feet.

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…no bottom…

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…still no bottom…

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…the end of the probe, but still not the bottom of the snowpack. This was just some random spot in the woods, not that high up, and the snow is well over six and a half feet deep. Unheard of for late May. It's intimidating to think how huge this run-off will be.

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Luke Skywalker is the couloir in the middle. It looks good once things stabalize a bit. It almost appears that a rock-ski friendly true descent from the summit is possible this spring.

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Elaine heading on up to the top of Yelping Dog Peak. Ski crampons helped us make short work of it. Y.D.P. is a little summit that appears bigger than it is. It's a good one for days like today when we're trying to figure what the heck the snow is doing up high. I call it that cause one day a few years back I was hiking up a trail and saw a solo snowboarder and his dog coming down this face. The dog was yelping the whole way…hence the name.

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Summit of Yelping Dog Peak.

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We were going to head down the main face (not pictures), but when I made my first turns the whole top layer slid. All that new snow we have has not consolidated yet and the big peaks are absolutely not ready to be skied safely. Instead, we picked our way gingerly down this north facing and safer ridge of the peak.

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Heading back out. Enormous amounts of snow up there. It's no joke…we really will be skiing till August this year.

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Did I mention there is lots of snow?

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Eldora will have a significant fight on their hands over their proposed expansion. While I do agree that Eldora can use improving and compliment their desire to provide a better product to the customer, I believe it can also be done within the parameters of their existing boundaries.

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Nice double…

…day. Ski in the morning on my favorite run. Good despite some rotting out snow. Counting the days this will be skiable in single digits…then it'll be up to the high country for turns.

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Then, and afternoon ride with my sweetie on the very nice new loop at Batasso. Tacky trails and a drizzle made for perfect conditions. Elaine rocked it on this ride!

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Now, a lazy afternoon evening listening to the rain and watching the birds feed. Tuesdays off are the best!

The Garden

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In the mountains
Is a lovely garden
Colorado, beauteous
Haven of the west
Through her welcome arch
The tired tourist
Finds an oasis
Of peace and rest

In this garden
There is always sunshine
Happiness, good will
And blessings are rare
Rising in a cloud of benediction
To descend in frangrance
Through the air

May all those who wander
Through this garden
Breathe this air
From yonder snow capped crest
And enjoy
Each happy restful hour
And the sun sinks
In the golden west

– Susie Kerin

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One last powder day (?)

There won't be many more – if any – of these days left this year. But that's ok, because there were about twenty or thirty turns, that will carry me through the entire long summer. They were that good – they were engrained. They were not skiing, they were flying. And when we were skinning into a fierce 7 am wind, and then making turns down through fluffy snow – it was not May, but December. 

Climb

Skinning up near timberline, the face frozen but the smile engrained.

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Deep and wintery. Photo by Adam Sklar.

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These were some of the very best turns of the season. Photo by Sam Atkins.

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Stella has not gotten enough credit for the season. I would argue she is the best ski dog in the entire 80466. Stella, you are an amazing ski partner. Don't worry buddy, next winter we'll do it again, and there will be lots of adventures this summer! Photo by Sam Atkins.

Flexibility

I have learned, if you let yourself, let your mind, drift to the next season here in Colorado it does not go so well. I have also learned that here, in the highest elevation state in North America (Boulder gets its water from an active glacier that was a remnant from the ice age…no other city in the U.S. can say that), seasons and months mean virtually NOTHING. With the right high pressure system, summer can drift into November. It's best to keep the bike in operation in anticipation for that, and the skis ready for the inevitable snowstorm. And in May, it can be like it is right now – dumping snow. So while our bikes lie in wait, ready for that tacky dirt that is under all this snow it makes no sense to put the skis away. And not just spring skiing, the season of peaks and crampons and sunscreen. Nope, sometimes (and this year it seems like more often than not) you can get smacked by December on May 19.Why wallow? Touring through pine woods under a fresh foot of snow and then skiing back down is sheer bliss – it gives you that fix we all need – that woods time. I would say, over the next 150 days, there will be many, many, many more days on the bike than on skis. So with that in mind, we enjoyed – no make that relished – today (and it appears, Friday, and Saturday…at the very least) in the snow. It was, quite simply, absolutely beautiful.

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Soggy, fun ski!

Today, it was a very fun, soggy ski in the neighborhood. Tomorrow, they are saying a foot plus of powder. Which makes planning the day easy. We had planned on being in a tent right now under a peak, planning on skiing it tomorrow. The fact that it's dumping snow right now, we're at home, a fire is crackling and we're packed up for a ski tomorrow more akin with February than May 19 has me very, very happy. Enjoy it, and get out in it. The weather is what adds spice to the experience!

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It's May 18, and a little dirt skinning never hurt anybody.

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The battle between winter and spring continues. Buds mixed with sleet.

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As we climbed, the rain turned to snow. Elaine's first day with ski crampons. She's a fan…they turn any pair of skins into tanks.

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It's wet and rainy and we're giddy stoked!

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My wife drops into prayer flag chutes.

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Not bad for a backyard ski on May 18.

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Love the raindrop on the lens…kind of epitomizes the passion that has been felt during this 2010-11 ski season.

Snowday

Came home tonight, and it's dumping out! A little art in front of the post office. Tomorrow, up to the divide to enjoy all the new powder. It's just what we do.