Mike Marolt sent this in a few days ago:
Hi Lou: Wow, on a last minute whim, Steve and I decided to get up early on the 4th to check out the skiing. We skied from the summit of Castle Peak down the north face couloir. The first third was a bit rough, but the rest was awesome! After skiing the main north face we hiked a bit up the east ridge just to see the couloir off the east shoulder of Castle. The snow was very hard and smooth. So after getting shut out last month, we finally got that. And it was worth the wait. With the summer melt, it was steep especially over a couple of bulges, and fairly narrow. It is a great shot with the rock walls towering over on both sides, much like the north face of La Plata but totally straight and a bit steeper. But the snow was great, and it gave us close to 2,000 feet of backcountry skiing to the valley below. Then we had a 15 minute hike back to the truck at the top of the switch backs above the Mace Hut.
It used to be a family tradition to backcountry ski 4th of July Bowl (Independence Pass) on the 4th, but for the past 15 or 20 years the snow has just not been around this time of year. So Castle summit to (almost) bumper, with quality like those two couloirs, was unbelievable. The Elks still have a ton of snow and I believe there will be quality skiing until it starts to snow again in a month or two.
WildSnow.com publisher emeritus and founder Lou (Louis Dawson) has a 50+ years career in climbing, backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering. He was the first person in history to ski down all 54 Colorado 14,000-foot peaks, has authored numerous books about about backcountry skiing, and has skied from the summit of Denali in Alaska, North America’s highest mountain.