Post subject: I lost my virginity in Highlands Bowl and all I got was...
Posted: Thu Feb 07, 2008 5:56 pm
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2007 10:19 am Posts: 527 Location: Capitol Hill, Denver, Colorado, U.S.A.
...a core shot in my brand new Venture Zephyr!
A full month in Aspen and I've had ZERO blue-sky days. The tremendous snowfall has been excellent for riding, but when I heard the storm would break, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to hike Highlands Bowl under the legendary Colorado sun. The area had reported 12" in 24 hours and nearly 25" in 48.
After a few warmup runs on Termerity, I started my hike around 10 AM. Already the ridge was PACKED with people. It reminded me of those Everest videos with miles of people moving very slowly up the ridge. Regardless, I was able to take my time as I bootpacked it up the 800 feet towards the summit. It was very cold, but the wind was mild and the skies were wide open.
Reaching the top in about an hour, I was able to enjoy magnificent views of the surrounding 14ers. To me, the Elk Range looks entirely different from anything in Colorado. The mountains in this area just seem so rugged and raw, more like the Himalayas and less like AK.
The author on the summit. Pyramid Peak (14,018') over my right shoulder and the Maroon Bells (14,156' & 14,014') over my left.
During my hike, I noticed very few lines directly down the gut of the bowl. From the summit, most people were skiing down the east ridge before dropping in the bowl. I had no doubt in my mind that I would attempt a direct descent from the summit.
I dropped into the white powder and within seconds I realized why no one else had dropped the gut. I busted my board on a dozen buried rocks no larger than my fist! I quickly steered out onto deeper snow, but the damage had been done. It was only the second day out on the new board, and I had a core shot.
Board be damned, there was only one way down the mountain, so I had to ride it. In the middle of the bowl I was treated to near-waist deep powder at a solid 40-40 degree angle. I hooted and hollered as I made wide slashes in the deep snow, outrunning the slough trails that I left in my place. I stopped in the middle and looked around. I encountered almost 100 people on the ridge, but at the present time I was the ONLY one in the bowl. I let out another joyous whoot and turned up the Dragonforce on the headphones, charging down the mountain (and towards the board repair shop!)
Halfway down the gut!
Looking up from the bottom
_________________ Riding a '06 Voile Split Decision Freeride 173, '07 Salomon Malamutes, Spark Ignition I bindings.