I am merging a couple trip reports into a Crested Butte wintertime sampler blog to show a snapshot of what I have been up to this season with CBMG backcountry guests and AIARE avalanche courses. Despite a lack of snow in the last two weeks I have had several great backcountry ski trips since New Years. The untracked cold stuff is still out there, and I am happy to show you where it is. Steve came to Colorado all the way from Australia with his son Sam. We had a great tour over to the East River Valley and found some virgin powder.
Here’s a shot of Steve and his first tracks in the Crested Butte backcountry. This early season has been a challenging one in which to guide, but sometimes it takes just a little creativity to find good turns in a familiar stomping ground. Steel and I toured up Washington Gulch to explore a lesser traveled section of Coney’s Bowl. The main bowl was stacked with tracks but we hiked just a bit farther and found some great skiing.
Backcountry skiing is just one way to experience the mountains outside Crested Butte. Chris and Jennifer joined me for a snowshoe tour and we explored the aspen glades and meadows in Washington Gulch. Beautiful weather, good company and great views made for an amazing day out in the mountains.
AIARE avalanche safety courses have kept me busy just about every weekend this winter. CBMG offers a host of courses–AIARE Level I, AIARE Level II and Refresher Courses–that meet the needs of most winter backcountry travelers. CBMG avalanche courses are taught by local ski guides and avalanche forecasters who are experienced educators and have an intimate knowledge of the local terrain. The courses blend classroom time with practical field experience. In the field we focus on companion rescue, gathering backcountry weather and snowpack information and traveling safely in the backcountry.
The rescue component focuses heavily on shoveling. Recent research in avalanche rescue points out that shoveling a victim out of snow will consume the majority of the rescue. We teach “strategic shoveling” as a method to efficiently move snow and quickly dig out the victim. The entire third day of the avalanche course is a ski tour in the Crested Butte Backcountry. Students learn the skills to plan and prepare for a full day ski tour and then spend the day implementing skills such as navigation, terrain selection, travel techniques, and managing the “HUMAN FACTOR.”
And of course we always try to get some turns in.
Looks like Missy found the goods on Mt. Emmons during a refresher course this winter! It’s been a busy winter and I have had a variety of trips. Give the CBMG office a call and let us organize your next adventure. We enjoy traveling on snow on all kinds of skis–AT, Telemark, and Nordic as well as snowshoes and we hold permits to both the Lake City and Ouray Ice Park. We look forward to sharing our backyard with you!