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Leadville, CO area this weekend...


RDY_2_Carve
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Looks like I'm heading up there this weekend to start off the season.

I have a "free" pass for Ski Cooper, Powderhorn, and Sunlight. I think Powderhorn is still closed and the conditions at Sunlight look pretty dismal. May hit another of the "bigger" areas in addition to Ski Cooper (Breck, Copper, etc.).

Who all will be in this area this weekend?

Anybody have any suggestions for runs at Ski Cooper? The place looks pretty small...

Cheers,

JPW

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Would like to hear your comments if you make it there. Have driven by the area but missed out last year at this time due to lack of snow. It looked appealing to me as I would not expect much traffic on the hill. My understanding is they offer a few wide easy blue groomers. You may want to consider Ski Loveland as they are open during the week and reports have been good.

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Guest toddflyingdog

Am in Leadville in school at CMC as I write...

the weather is nasty, cold 17 degrees and quite windy.

got about 5 or 6 inches fresh where it hasn't blown off.

Have heard Cooper is off to a great start. Will likely be at Copper myself tomorrow...

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A place with plenty of history (10th Mountain Division) and soul. I've never brought a carving setup there, as it has more of a mom-and-pop approach to grooming. But way fun on a fat board--or teles!

When I go, I usually ride the north side by the triple chair. Good snow. Fun trees--it's not too steep, but not too crowded either. I've hiked Chicago Ridge after the area closed (wide open and above treeline), but don't know if the area would permit hiking while they are in operation. Well worth checking, tho'.

<img src="http://tinypic.com/i26no3.jpg" alt="Jeff Patterson: Heelside snowblower, A-Basin, CO">

It's snowing and blowing in Minturn now and likely will be all powdery and fresh on Tennessee Pass this weekend.

Have fun!

B-2

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Forcast looks like snow through Saturday. Maybe it will firm up for some groomies by Sunday?

Where are you guys going to be this Sunday? Loveland looked like a good option. How far is it from Ski Cooper? The further south I am on Sunday-the better-will probablly end up driving back to ABQ that evening.

Would love to get a carving group going! If you can put up with a couple Jibbers (bro-in-law and best friend)! :)

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........What's the story behind it?
Thanks for the kind words. The image is from a powder session last spring at A-Basin. It was an epic day: several feet of featherlight fresh and a short hike to Snakepit--a huge bowl (as big as the upper bowl at the Basin itself) that brings you out of the area--about 1,900 vertical of untracked pow, starting above treeline and plunging through old-growth spruce and fir back to the road. Hitch back to the lifts and do it all over again.

<img src="http://tinypic.com/i2k9lf.jpg" alt="Entering the trees below">

Many runs. Very few tracks. A good day.

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Alright folks. The plan is now:

Breck on Saturday

Staying the night in Leadville CO (Super 8 motel woo hoo!)

Ski Cooper on Sunday

If anybody wants to hook up my cell is 505-363-3824 assuming T-Mobile works out there.

Anything interesting to see in Leadville Sat. night?

Any recommendations on dinner spots in Leadville?

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Conditions aside the trip was great. Due to limited space in my brother-in-law's 2-door Accord I only brought my Speed 158 and left my softboots at home. That ended up being a pretty bad mistake as it had been snowing all week and continued throughout the weekend.

Saturday we got to Breck about 830am (we left Albuquerque a little after midnight). Temps were about 6 deg F with wind chills in the negatives. Once up the lift I had some issues and I'm pretty sure the combination of lack of sleep + race board + 8-12" of fresh powder (turned into mashed potatoes) pretty much turned my first day of the season into a leg-burning nightmare. The rare "smooth" runs I found ended up in blown out heelsides when trying to really push it. I didn't dare hit the T-bar although I really wanted to if I had brought my soft setup. My poor legs were burning so bad after the first run I thought the day would never end. It got a little better by the end of the day as most of the runs were being "flattened" out but it was by no means ideal for carving. Not Breck's fault, nor the conditions. Totally my fault for not bringing the proper equipment! This was my first trip to Breck and I would not hesitate to go back!

Saturday night we stayed in Leadville at the Super 8 Motel. Very small town with some pretty darn nice people. We hit the local liquor store and pounded some Bacardi before engourging ourselves at Pizza Hut. By that point we were so pooped we pretty much crashed out watching FSU beat the crap out of Virgina Tech (which I was mad about because FSU DOES NOT deserve a BCS bid).

Sunday we got on the road about 8am to head for Cooper which was about 20-30 minutes of cautious driving from the Super 8. Can't remember the highway that turns towards Ski Cooper but the roads weren't too bad just a little icy. The snow had slowed down that night and we only had about 2-3" of fresh so all was well...until we went to turn into the road that goes into the base area and there's a small uphill going in. Big problem for a 4-cylinder front wheel drive Accord! We had to slow down a lot to avoid sliding into the snow banks making the turn into Ski Cooper and by doing so we lost most of our momentum to get up that stuipid hill. After three tries the furthest we made it was about 1/2 way up. I kept wondering why they wouldn't plow this road out but it seemed we were the only non-locals at the place and nobody else was having ANY problems getting up that hill so I guess we had the out-of-towners curse or something. My brother in law and best friend already had their soft boots on so they pushed while I drove and we eventually made it into the base area! So how was Cooper?

I really had a blast at Ski Cooper. It was cold again and the morning was less windy but still overcast. Another front moved in later in the afternoon around 2pm and the temps got pretty harsh and the wind picked up. Anyways I'd guess there were 50 cars total in the parking lot with about 15-20 of them being the workers. I think I passed traffic on runs about 1-2 times the whole day! They freshly groomed "Stzmark" on the front side (serviced by a slower double chair but it had a foot rest) and it was pretty nice for a green. All of the blues were powder runs with about 8-12" of fresh from the past couple of nights. I don't mind powder on my race boards if it's untracked-and a good bit of it indeed was so it was pretty darn nice no matter where we went. The back (or left) side had another green run ("Eagle" I think) that seemed to have been groomed the day before. Perhaps the best run of the day was "Nightmare", a black on the back/left side that also seemed to have been groomed the day before. It was pretty much untracked and nice and smooth-I had some nice turns on this run as well as catching some crazy speed on the bottom part all the way up to the empty lift line. I think the lifties on the back side were a little envious at times to say the least.

It's definately a mom-and-pops type place. I got a beer midday at the bar and the guy used my first name from then on (after he checked my ID) which I thought was a nice touch. None of the lifts were high-speed but that is made up with no waiting in the lift lines. The runs were about average in length compared to some New Mexico resorts but definately shorter than some of the stuff at Copper and Breck. All-in-all it's a nice little place and I'll definately go back if I get the chance!

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Guest toddflyingdog

The mountain manager was a guest speaker at one of my CMC classes,

He makes a big deal about knowing every employees name within the first week or so. He is a truly nice, humble man and does his best to make sure that all his co-workers are too. Using a person's name makes them a person rather than a customer. Glad you enjoyed the trip!

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