Friday, December 19, 2008

Another Long Telemark Run: Ski Movie About Going Up and Down

Well, the snow has finally been falling here in Colorado, and the backcountry has begun to open up. On Wednesday Tara and I skinned up Grizzly Gulch all the way to the base of the southeast side of Grizzly Peak (13,427 feet). Grizzly is a spectacular 13er, and this little backcountry spot often gets overlooked for areas just a little further up I-70. Perhaps one of the reasons many telemarkers skip over the valley is because it is about 5 miles of skinning before you even begin to approach the fun stuff.

We skinned in and found the snow to be quite good. The road is covered all the way to where the trail starts and breaks away from the summer Grays and Torreys trailhead. Skinning around the north side of Torreys Peak (14,267 feet) is great, through meadows and forested slopes. You get a bunch of really good views of Torreys' North Face with the two large snow couloirs descending the entire face. The further in is an amazing telemark descent in the spring, but for now we passed it to hit some of the lesser known chutes coming off of Grizzly Peak's southeast face.

There is plenty of snow up high, most of the rocks are covered, and a descent base has formed. As always, one has to know what they are doing and watch the conditions for avalanches, but it looks like the Colorado backcountry has opened for telemark skiing. To hold you over until I get the footage sorted out from the trip, here is a new video called Another Long Telemark Run. Enjoy, and if you care, share your thoughts.