Click here to see the photos from this trip.
On Friday, February 16, 2007, we all set out for some lift served skiing at Vail and primo guided backcountry skiing in Summit
County while staying at Janet's
Cabin. Fierce winds in Colorado made getting there difficult. Many roads leading
to Vail were closed because of very high winds and blowing snow. I-70, Hoosier Pass,
and Fremont Pass were all closed.
Bill had to backtrack from west of Denver to Colorado Springs and take the back
way to Vail. Howard had plans to fly to Eagle/Vail but was stuck in Denver because
of the weather. With difficulty, he found a rental car and drove through horrendous
traffic, west on I-70, for almost six hours. He arrived about 4:30 A.M. Saturday
morning. I-70 closed again shortly after Howard's ordeal.
John and Cindy led the way through Walzenburg, Westcliffe, Salida, Leadville, and
over Tennessee Pass to Vail. With John's weather and road condition updates, Bob,
Connie, and Vanda followed in their car a few hours later without a hitch.
I-70 remained closed Saturday morning. We were rewarded for our troubles getting
to Vail. On Saturday, President's Day holiday weekend, the slopes at Vail were empty.
We had a nice day skiing the resort. That night, we had a wonderful meal at
Sweet Basil where we celebrated Cindy's birthday.
We had arranged to have
lead us on this trip. Using their service for a hut trip makes the trip a lot easier.
Trip planning, navigation, emergency preparedness, and meals are all handled by
the guides. They have sleeping bags and non-perishable food stashed at the huts
so we do not have to carry these items in on our backs. The guides carry most of
the group, shared items. All we have to carry individually is our personal clothing
Sunday, we met Don Shefchik, Head Paragon Guide, at their backcountry center adjacent
to Arrowhead ski area. We checked out our gear and spent the remainder of the morning
and early afternoon getting lessons in backcountry ski techniques, and making turns
on the slopes of the Beaver Creek / Arrowhead resort.
Our backcountry trip plans included spending 3 nights in Janet's cabin. It
is part of the Summit Huts Association
system. "Hut" is somewhat of a misnomer. Janet's is a large, well insulated cabin
with a wood burning stove for heat. It has solar powered lights. It even has a wood
fired sauna. It does not have running water. The living style is communal. There
were other people at the cabin not in our group. Please see the
sidebar for more information about Janet's and other huts in the area.
Monday morning, Don picked us up and we drove to Vail pass where we met Meredith,
our second guide . We left a vehicle there to give us the option on the way out
of either skiing to Vail Pass or to Copper Mountain Resort. Then, we all drove to
Copper Mountain Ski Area, rode two lifts up, exited the resort, and started our
trek to Janet's Cabin.
A combination of transportation logistic glitches and a huge crowd at the ski area
led to a late start around 10:30 AM. We took about five hours to travel 4.6 miles
with 1,970 feet of climbing to the hut. Links to excerpts from guidebooks and maps
of the route can be found in the sidebar.
We spent the next two days skiing around and lounging in the hut. We were blessed
with beautiful weather and good above timberline snow conditions. Great skiing surrounds
Our group likes to go to one hut and stay a few days as opposed to skiing hut-to-hut
each day. This allows individuals the flexibility to ski more or less as desired.
We usually make two trips each day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon,
which again provides different options for members of the group.
On the third day of the trip, we hiked up to Searle Pass. The top of the pass provided
a Kodak moment. The view of the Ten Mile Range from the top was terrific. We made
some nice tracks coming down.
On the fourth day, we skied out. One group took the easy way out by retracing our
steps going to hut. The other group took a challenging and scenic tour out to Vail
Back in Vail, some people left the next day while others stayed and enjoyed the
resort another day before returning to Amarillo.
Click here to see the photo album from this trip.