Loveland TR Nov 4th- short version for now
Thank goodness I was in OK City and then Denver avoiding the latest GW (Global Warming) fiasco! Alright, here's the brief summary from a week of travel:
1) Oklahoma City is a surprisingly nice city. If for some reason you ever have to move there, you could do much, much worse. Bricktown is very sweet.
2) Denver is a surprisingly "east coast" city. I did not like it very much. Tense, lots of chi-chi fru-fru types and maniac drivers (think my brother and I witnessed at least four near accidents in two drives through the city). City is flat and ugly, really. Although CO Springs doesn't have a lot going for it town-wise, the setting is much more dramatic and I'd happily move down that way (and judging by how much growth is taking place down there, I wouldn't exactly be the first person in the door).
3) Loveland was skiing better on Nov 4th than about three-fourths of the time in West Virginia. I think they had more terrain open than they had listed on their website. Including natural snow runs, some glades in-between trails, and some nice long groomers. The natural snow runs were a bit thinnish and I knicked some rocks in the mogul fields, but nothing that created any permanent damage to the skis (and provided me a good excuse to get my skis tuned up this week!). My brother said it was the best day he's had since starting at the Air Force Academy.
I'll add on to that description this evening, I hope.
4) Hiked up Eagle's Peak in CO Springs yesterday and could see *at least* 60 miles in all directions. Looked east toward Kansas and the Black Forest, north toward Denver (could even see individual buildings at 60 miles), northwest to the Front Rage, southwest to Pikes Peak. Except for the fact that it was the most treacherous hike I've been on in several years (trail was packed snow and ice, not much difference for hiking boots), so I had to get down quickly, it was a stunning location.
All in all, a great trip. I'm ready to quit and move further west!!!
Alright. Got The Highwaymen in and got my CD player running again after two months of silence. Yee haw. Now I'll be able to stay up and write a longer Loveland report.
Saturday was a great day to be on the snow. The weather was a mix of sun, snow, and partly cloudy skies. We ranged from snow squalls, to flurries, to sun-snow (when the sun would come out but it'd be snowing) to clear, near-purple skies above the Continental Divide, which Loveland straddles.
Temps were probably around 30 for a high, since they blew snow all day. A couple of snowmaking runs were closed, indicating that more terrain would be opening up later. But the early season snow had paid off in spades: about half the terrain open was natural snow only. I'd guess a 12-16 inch base on that terrain, nothing spectacular by January standards, but not bad for Nov 4th! Lot of thin spots and I managed to nick my skis on the mogul runs (yes, there were already mogul runs to be had too), but the nicks are fixable and a good incentive to get my skis to the shop before the season begins in earnest.
There were no lines. None. Don't know what was going on at Arapahoe Basin the weekend before but I waited at most behind 10 people, and that was once. The rest of the time there were never more than two or three people in front of me at the lifts.
Natural snow runs? Apart from some thin cover here and there, the snow was mid-winter soft. Carvable, forgiveable. When the sun popped out it felt downright warm, and a couple of times my brother and I just sat down in the sun and soaked it up, with the Continental Divide rising up on all sides.
There were only two places on the mountain that would qualify as a WROD. The first was an upper stretch of novice terrain off of Chair 2 (Fire Bowl) and the lower stretch of Home Run coming back into the main lodge. Runs of the day were Keno and Richard's Run. Keno was bumped up and relatively unused. You could zip out to it, hit some soft and forgiving bumps and feel like you were on the edge of civilization. Richard's Run was groomed and was a fantastic GS romp. It was funny, because at the top there was always about 10-15 people standing around, but we only dropped onto the trail one or two at a time. It's like we all knew we wanted to do the same thing- let 'r rip- but knew that it couldn't be done with a packed trail, so we waited for the run to clear and then another person would slip in.
Quality of skiers was pretty good. That might be in part because the beginner terrain wasn't open yet, so the real novices were pressing west to Keystone or Copper or something. Or beginners just don't come out that early.
Ice. A little bit of ice and slicks on the manmade snow runs as the day wore along, particularly at corners, but nothing worse than you'd find at 10 a.m. at Whitetail midwinter.
More fun was just the fact that the inbounds rule was inforce (if it's inbounds, and it's not roped off, it's open), so glades that held snow in-between runs were open, as were some side-cuts that led over to hidden runs that weren't on the map. My brother and I started following snowboard lines into the trees at the end of the day before it dawned on either of us that skiing off-piste at 4:10 was probably a very, very bad idea, particularly since we kept losing each other in the trees. But we got out just fine and smartened up.
There's an off chance I'll be skiing in NM in December, but it's a slim chance with Christmas coming on. Most likely the next trip will be to Park City in January, followed by an NM trip in late January or early Feb and then- if all goes well- Wolf Creek or Crested Butte later in Feb or March. We'll see. But I have to say, the winter is off to a good start, even if I don't go again for two months!
Roger I'm starting to get jealous. However, keep the reports coming.
Which glades were you in? I don't remember Loveland having glades that would have put you way out of bounds (except for mountain left on the other side of the highway). If you were that far off-piste, that means they got more snow than I thought.
Talking with friends in CO. There were about 20 Maggots infesting the slopes that day. I am just guessing that had something to do with quailty of skiers there;)
It cool you got ski already. I am jealous.
You did bring your camera with you didn't you? Got any pics?
My brother took some photos. I'll pester him to get copies.