One weekend – Two classic ski tours

It was a good friend’s 40th birthday this past Monday. A few of us conspired to take D-low out for an ~13 mile ski tour (his favorite) while his The Former Wife corralled the guests together while we were away.

It was a great trip. A good, strong, group with very good snow conditions. Perhaps our best tour yet on this classic ski trail.

We quickly made our way to the high point of the day (and had most of our elevation gain), only took breaks when we wanted to take them (as opposed to having to take them) and generally enjoyed the day quite a bit.

We laughed, told stories and it was good to get together with people who have not seen each other in months.

Classic, if sometimes windblown, scenery abounded.

Before our descent into Peaceful Valley, we had one last fantastic view of the Continental Divide.

After an excellent tour, we made our way for some post ski pizza and beer (and to kill more time for the surprise party!).

d-low-pizza
PCO Mark T

We had an excellent view of the mountains above the town of “Ned”.

The short drive was made down Boulder Canyon and back to the DiLorenzo household. We almost pulled off a surprise when some guests arrived late as we were unloading my vehicle. Mike said to the late arriving guests: “Are you here for my surprise party?” 🙂 .  Oh well..makes for a funny story in any case.

The ski group wore our slightly aromatic clothing  at the party as the rest of the friends also helped to celebrate this milestone birthday.

A very good day spent with friends doing something we all love.

On Sunday, I took advantage of the Superbowl Holiday (for that is what it is now!) and made my way to Summit County west of the divide and on I70. I rarely make my way up there in winter…or even most weekends now. Traffic is AWFUL. What should be a two-hour drive at the most becomes an ordeal that lasts well into the later evening during ski season.

When I heard the Broncos made it to the Superbowl, I was delighted. Not for any pride in my adopted home or excitement over a local team doing well.  Rather, I was happy for a far better reason: I knew the roads, trailheads and the backcountry would be blessedly free of people and traffic!

I invited some friends new to Colorado on a ski tour with me to this area. The plan was to shhow them a classic tour along the mountains: The Peaks Trail.

Rachel could not make it due to job obligations, but Mike gladly accepted the offer.

We leisurely made our way up to Summit County.  Though the tour was about nine miles, it was mainly downhill. As Mike later put it “About as close as you get to down hill skiing while cross-country skiing !” Indeed.

This route starts up high in Breckenridge (Breck), climbs  a little bit from the trailhead and then the trail makes its way down to Frisco. The trail has only 700′ gain but over 1500′ elevation loss in about 9 miles!

The jaunt starts by parking the car at one end, taking the free bus to the parking lot ski area and then the free gondola up to Peak 7 at Breckenridge.  Then the ski tour starts from a trailhead tucked away from the much busier downhill ski area.

We parked at the library in Frisco hence the 9 vs 10 miles. Ends up cutting one mile, but has a fun run down an old jeep road with a great view above town and less views of homes at the end.

The trail features some great single track with some fun descents and great views.

And even goes by, and briefly on, a little more famous trails…

And sometimes the descents are a little too fun… 😉

But once you pick yourself up, something nice can be seen…

About half a mile before the end, one last grand view was enjoyed.

After we finished our ski, we went to a local brewery and enjoyed an afternoon beer.

The ride back was blessedly free of heavy traffic due to the Superbowl.

I think the Broncos should be in the Superbowl every year so I can have one peaceful ski day in Colorado’s ski country. 😀

 

7 thoughts on “One weekend – Two classic ski tours

  1. Looked like a lot of fun. I feel the same way about the Patriots getting into the Super Bowl – opportunity for a less-crowded day of skiing in New England. I’m also from RI & living in Providence.

  2. If I ever go on another ski trip, I’ll have to take a day to try this! It’s bound to be less expensive than lift tickets anyway. Is cross-country equipment as readily available for rent in the ski shops as downhill?

    • You’ll need (want) what is called backcountry Nordic skis. A little wider and a little more shaped than traditional XC gear. A less popular niche versus AT gear or Alpine skis. Neptune’s here in Boulder rents that type of gear.. Not sure of any others off the top of my head. I’d call the Nordic centers in Breck or Frisco. At the very least, they may know where to get that kind of gear to rent.

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