We’re headed down to Denver tomorrow to the Colorado Ski Hall of Fame annual induction Gala. This year’s inductees are the usual mix of industry people and ski racers, a great crowd but no backcountry folk. Oh well, we’ll try to nominate a few ski mountaineers for the next go around. The ski museum still has plates available at the induction Gala, call 970-476-1876 if you want an alternative to Rockies fever. These HOF affairs are always a blast, show up and you meet tons of interesting people who’ve made the world of skiing what it is today, not just in Colorado but around the globe. The silent auction is good too.
Speaking of the globe, mother earth may be acting in the west’s favor in terms of snowpack. According to NOAA, we may be in for another winter like 2005/2006. In case anyone has forgotten, that season the snow piled up here in Colorado like continental drift had moved us to the northwest. That was the winter Chris Davenport nailed mid-winter lines on Colorado fourteeners that were practically miraculous in terms of snow quality and avalanche safety. Get your new boot liners molded and wax your planks. More info.
Think we can get another ski area the size of, loud whisper, VAIL? Near here someone has applied for a Snowcat Skiing permit for an area called Coal Basin. It’s a huge region and possibly one of the better snowmobile accessed zones in Colorado, though it is little known. Upper areas of Coal Basin are not popular as a totally un-mechanized destination as the approach is too long for an easy day of skiing. But I’ve been up there, and tons of gladed and open terrain does indeed exist. The snowpack isn’t half bad either, as this part of central Colorado’s Elk Mountains gets hit first by moisture coming in from the west.
What will be interesting about this, assuming they do the snowcat business, is how they’ll deal with the inevitable locust swarm of sled skiers that are sure to follow. Me included. If they do over-snow roads up there on public land, I’m dropping coin for a new sled just as soon as the ink hits the paper of the special use permit. And if the cuddly lovable USFS decides to take a chunk of public land and virtually sign it over to being another ski resort with restricted use, I’ll use that same money for a loud megaphone and start howling. We shall see.
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.