Tag Archives: Steamboat

Steamboat Biking

“Do you think you are up for another ride?” Rob asked me this, but I could tell from his eyes that he wasn’t up for another ride that day. I know I sure wasn’t. We had ridden all of the trails on the mountain, including the new trails on Pony Express Ridge and Creekside – some of the best rides that I have done all year- but all I wanted to do was lie down and eat everything in sight. We settled for elk burgers and ice cream, but were eager to get back to the trails the next day.   

20160724_123633

20160722_115031

It wasn’t like I hadn’t ridden in Steamboat before. Just last summer Rob and I rode a ton of trails, including the truly epic Divide Trail, where you get to end the trail at the base of the mountain for a cold beer. Before that, I had explored most of the in town trail network with my brother, ending each foray with a swim in in the Yampa River.

IMG_0472

But Steamboat keeps upping the ante. There were miles of new trails on Howelsen and one more epic loop we wanted to check off the list. We managed the Howelsen lap the next day – the NPR (no pedaling required) downhill was fun and flowy with confidence inspiring tabletops and supportive berms, but saved the best for last.

Fish Creek falls is a special place. On river left, a bunch of epic winter sidecountry runs come down. For those powdery turns, you need to really know where you are going, else you end up at the top of a hundred foot cliff and a very expensive evacuation. The lower section of the falls itself is run at high water by only the most extreme kayakers. On river right is a hiking trail that happens to be open to bikers. I think that is the best way to describe it. In order to access the trail on a bike, Rob and I biked up the ski area, a serious endeavor, as the winding road had just had a new layer of soft gravel put down making most of the switchback impossible. Once at the top, we traversed along the Divide Trail, and took the turn towards the Falls Trail.

20160724_125258
Note the hammock near the falls!

The trail started off innocently enough, if not a little overgrown, then a few technical sections started cropping up. Pretty soon the technical sections at the top seemed easy compared to the ones we were hitting now. Hikers started cropping up once we were in sight of the river, wondering how in the world bikers had managed to get up there. One exclaimed, “That takes balls!” as Rob rolled down another steep slab of chunder.

IMG_1606 (1)

Towards the falls the exposure got a bit much for me, and I spent a lot of that section hike-a-biking, but the views were wondrous and easier to look at when I wasn’t giving my handlebars the death grip. The ride ended with a spin from town back home, and even though we were ending another Steamboat visit, we hadn’t even touched the new Buff Pass Trails. Just another reason to keep coming back!

One Tough Cookie

Growing up, I always knew my mom was a tough cookie. She would pick me up when I fell, but didn’t insulate me from learning from my own experience. She let me get a D in school, and let me crash on my brother’s longboard. She let me ski even when she would cover her eyes when I raced. I hope to be as tough as her, to hold back from always breaking someone’s fall. In the short term it may have lessened my frustration or short term pain, but in the long term I would not have functioned independently without my parent’s constant guidance.

IMG_0589

IMG_4437

IMG_4649

When I did ask for help, she was always there, hell or high water. She rubbed my back all night after I broke my leg. She carried countless bags of ice to my room and was a sounding-board to endless venting all throughout my life (and certainly a few tantrums) She helped me move all my furniture so that I could de-mold my off campus house in college, then helped me get dressed the next summer when I spent ten weeks in a hospital bed rehabbing from a bike accident.

IMG_4555

IMGP1617

She is the bright spot on a dark day, which has always made sense since her favorite color is yellow. I once asked her why her favorite color was yellow, and she replied that if the world is daisy yellow, you can’t help but be happy. I couldn’t agree more.

Unfortunately, my mom is proving in one more way that she is the toughest this year by going through full ACL reconstruction, but I look forward to early July, when the summer flowers start to come into full bloom, and we can go on some more bike rides together.

IMG_0743

Family Time

It is always great to get back to Steamboat. In my eyes, Steamboat is the greatest family resort. With one central base area, my parents felt fine having me rip the mountain, knowing that I would eventually funnel to the bottom at the end of the day, tired and ready to eat heaping plates of pasta and elk bolognese. Growing up, Steamboat never failed to continue to challenge my skiing from top to bottom from White Out bump runs to airing into the Chutes. Most importantly though, the locals are quick to turn a cold chair lift ride into a fun conversation.

DSC_6115

Every season I live away from Steamboat, the more excited I am to come back home for vacation with the family. Events like night skiing, tubing and friday night art walks are among the highlights of my youth. Going downtown with the family for a walk on the Core Trail or to watch ski jumping while catching up on life still make my time in Steamboat a highlight. 

DSC_6209

DSC_6213

Meaden Peak

Right out the back door of the cabin on Sand Mountain in Clark, and a short 20 minute snowmobile ride up lies Meaden Peak. Meaden has some incredible tree skiing, but more importantly, it has an awesome view from the top and some great steeps. Rob and I first skied the NW aspect last year, but wanted to put turns on the NE side, so we could view them from the cabin.

DSC_6171

DSC_6015

Rob and Sam set a really steep skin track to the top, and the skin across the ridge was completely worth it. With 360 degree views it would have been perfect, except for the clouds moving in and blocking the sun as the day went on.

DSC_6177

DSC_6027

The NE face offered some great turns but almost zero visibility as a cloud descended once again.

DSC_6052

The face offered up untouched deep and steep goods that we throught were alright. Just as sweet were the lower turns through widely spaced  pines on the way down to meet my parents at the snowmobiles.

DSC_6111

DSC_6200
Overall, the adventure was a success!

DSC_6124

Hahns Peak

It has been the backdrop for many of my adventures growing up: building a kicker in the backyard, clearing fallen trees,epic bonfires, and long hikes with the family dog. It is a lone volcano shaped peak in a sea of ridges.  Hahns Peak has been on my skiing bucket list for a long time.

778950

Finally, with the encouragement of Rob and Sam, it was going to happen. We loaded up the snowmobiles for the approach with the temperatures a balmy -11 F, and roared off in a two stroke cloud. The snowmobile ride brought us from the cabin near Sand Mountain to the northern side of Hahns Peak.

DSC_5861

DSC_5879

DSC_6011

We started our skin through an incredible, old-growth aspen grove. A few of the trees were wider than my wingspan, truly huge for an aspen tree. As we neared the cloud ceiling visibility got continually foggier.

DSC_5882

On the last push to the ridge, I could barely tell the difference between the snow under, my feet, the stuff falling from the sky, and the fog. It was a nauseating couple of switchbacks, only helped by closing my eyes. Once on the ridge, the visibility was a bit better, and it highlighted the cliffs on both sides. Those of you who know how much I LOVE heights won’t be surprised when I say that I made the traverse fairly quickly.

DSC_5896

The building at the top of Hahns used to be a fire watch-tower, and the watchman would live at the top year round. Rumor has it they are going to open it to the public starting in the fall, which is too bad, because we could have used a reprieve from the wind right then. Instead we settle for a few Oreos, some elk jerky (fresh – thanks mom and dad!), and got ready for the descent.

DSC_5892

Which wasn’t bad at all!

DSC_5923

DSC_5993