Berthoud Pass, CO
December 22, 2007
Skiing in Colorado is always a treat and I got an opportunity to spend the day near Berthoud Pass with my friend James Good while spending Christmas in Denver. I met James at a Park and Ride just off I-70 and we climbed into his Subaru and headed up to Berthoud Pass. His dog, Chulo, was catching up on his sleep in the back seat as we drove. I was amazed at all the weekend traffic headed to the ski areas. Now I know why I see the bumber stickers that say "Friends don't let friends drive I-70!"
Fortunately for us, our exit was soon so we left the masses and made our way up Highway 40 to Berthoud Pass. From the guidebook I learned that there used to be a ski area here by the same name. Now all that remains are a few building foundations. Winter Park Ski Resort is located down the other side of Berthoud Pass, so much of the traffic on this road was headed there. Even still, there were quite a few backcountry skiers and snowboarders hitching rides back up to the top of the pass for another lap. We parked at a hairpin turn just on the other side of the pass. One car was parked here when we arrived but when we returned at the end of the day, there were seven. Skiing in Colorado is VERY popular!
As I stepped out of the car, my nose hairs immediately froze. The thermometer read -4F. Lucky for us there wasn't much wind. I had trouble with my new skins sticking together. We had to turn the car back on and blast the defrost to heat them up enough to allow us to pull them apart. Soon we were skinning up the trail, meeting alot of folks along the way. Since this was our first time to the area, we picked a spot to ski with mellow terrain just above Tea Cup Bowl. It had snowed the previous two days so there was about 18 inches of new snow to enjoy. And of course, it was very soft and light.
We gained the ridge and I realized why I felt so weak and tired. We were above 11,000ft, and I was feeling it in my lungs and legs. Once sking down though, all was well with the world. We made three trips up to the ridge, each time moving farther skiers left. I forgot my camera in the car, but we got several of us with James' camera.
Thanks James and Chulo for a GREAT day skiing!