There were eight of us standing on the ridge contemplating our next move. At Silverton, you contemplate your next move, and you ski in groups of eight. Along with a guide, who is a certified ski patroller, licensed avalanche guru, and all-around mountain badass. Courtney was ours, and he had already entrusted Dade to lead a portion of our initial hike. So the day was off to either a really cool start or we were headed straight for disaster. Anyway, there were eight of us (plus Courtney) standing at about 12,500 feet on March 4, 2016. We were at the top of a run called Nightmare. (And when I say “run,” here and elsewhere in this piece, please understand I mean that very loosely.)
“Why don’t you lead us off, JB,” Courtney said. “Take it to the road.”
I looked toward the road. He had pointed it out a few minutes earlier. It wasn’t close. At all. “You want me to ski all the way to the road?”
“Yep, just take it to the road.”
Okay … Continue reading
You know the ghost hobo in The Polar Express? He shows up at opportune moments to help out our skeptical protagonist and waxes eloquently on a variety of subjects, ranging from girls to Santa to whether or not seeing really is believing. If you know me at all, you already understand he’s my favorite character in the movie. To my delight, we met Telluride’s version on March 3, 2016.
Howelsen Hill Ski Area is the town of Steamboat Springs’ other snow sports center. (For those of you who are local or just enjoy being perfectly technical, I know it’s officially the City of Steamboat Springs, but come on …) Howelsen is right behind downtown and it’s small. And I’d venture a guess that very few visitors ever ride its exhilarating Schnackenberg Poma Lift (seriously, that’s gotta be the steepest surface lift around) or make a single turn on its Upper Face, Town View, or Ridge Run trails.
Howelsen Hill, however, is very popular with folks who play in the snow for precious metals. The western front face is North America’s largest natural ski jumping complex, a collection of ramps that have served as training facilities for some 79 Olympians, who have competed in more than 130 Winter Games.
We, of course, are not Olympians. Apparently, though, we are in gold medal contention for good karma.