Sunday, February 17, 2013


It was during the sold out show put on by SUM 41 that I picked up the flu.  Trapped in a sea of people before the stage, everyone pressing towards the front, unable to move except for where the crowd swayed to and fro.  People were squeezed out and surfed to the front on a sea of hands, to be passed to event staff who directed the dehydrated and crushed people to the safety of the open areas to the side of the stage.  I left the building totally soaked down to the skin.  No picture taking was possible and the recording was crap because of a) the new mic with no preamp and b) I had no ability to check on the digital audio recorder  to make adjustments.  One of the most intense shows because of both the music and crowd.  Two days later I was sick.  My fear was that it would mess up my planned ski trip to the San Juan Mountains in southwestern Colorado, but the two weeks allowed me to recover enough to go on it, left with only a lingering cough and slight shortness of breath.

Our destination was the High Camp Hut just off of Lizard Head Pass south of Telluride.  I made it in early, the rest of the crew followed that evening with the last of the party arriving a day later.  Our fear was that the snow conditions would be terrible following a month of minimal snowfall, but our patience was rewarded with the passage of a couple of storms prior to our arrival, with the snow still coming down on our first full day of skiing.  Conditions were perfect!

I left a day early to take a leisurely drive to the San Juans, stopping along the way to ski Monarch Mountain.  The snow fell beginning at 10 am, providing several inches of new powder by the time I left that afternoon.  I slept in the back of the truck on Lizard Head Pass.
Day two was spent skiing in from the highway and getting set up in the hut.  I got a few runs in on the hillside adjoining the hut that afternoon.
Day three was spent skiing an open south facing slope a quarter mile from the hut, the powder covered slope being added to by the snow that kept on coming down all day.  Beautiful smooth turns while floating on a cushion of fresh snow!
On day four two others and I departed the hut and went to ski at legendary Telluride mountain under bluebird skies.  A big mountain  where we focused on finding stashes of powder in the trees and steeper slopes near the top of the ski area off a couple lifts.  That night was spent staying at the New Sheridan Hotel in downtown Telluride, having a very well made dinner in the hotel's Chop House.  The evening ended with a cigar on the sidewalk outside on the still busy street.
Day five found us skiing back up to the hut to do a ski tour up to the base of Sheep Mountain.  Another cigar while sitting on chairs in the snow under sunny skies.  A gorgeous sunset!
Day six had us pack up and ski out back to our vehicles.  We loaded up and drove to the nearby town of Ophir situated in a deep valley surrounded by high peaks.  We skinned up Swamp Canyon where we skied phenomenal snow on the east facing wall of the valley.  That required a steep climb up a switch backed trail through the trees, an exhausting process that was rewarded with some of the sweetest turns in deep snow of the the trip.  That evening was spent in a hotel in Grand Junction.
I spent day seven skiing Powderhorn on the north flank of Grand Mesa just outside Grand Junction, followed by the long ride back home to Denver.  I knew I was home when I hit the crawling traffic jam on the west side of the Eisenhower Tunnel.
A great time exploring a less frequented part of Colorado with really fine snow conditions.