I unexpectedly lost my brother five years ago, March 5th. He left behind a wife and son. I didn't plan it this way, but I ended up skiing on the 5th anniversary of his death. This was quite fitting since he was my primary skiing partner throughout our childhood and early adulthood. We've made thousands of turns together.
The above pic was taken while getting dressed at Copper Mountain Ski Area, Colorado. There was a brilliant blue sky, some wind and about 25 Fahrenheits jumping about. Perfect! I skied hard, skipping lunch, just as my brother and I did years ago! I skied until my legs mutinied and ultimately gave out.
I like Copper Mountain Ski Area. They make sure they cater to all aspects of alpine skiing: beginner, expert, freestyle, even 45-degree extreme skiers.
I was planning to play in Copper's back bowls. However, while leaping from lower chairlifts to the upper chairlifts, I made some turns on easier ground to get my legs under me. This may be an age thing because Kelly and I would have been straight to the back bowls.
From high on the West Ridge at 12,300 feet, the views weren't too bad either. Touching the sky at 13,950 feet, Pacific Peak is the 61st highest summit in Colorado. It calls the Tenmile - Mosquito Range home.
To the left of Pacific Peak, Crystal Peak climbs to 13,852 feet and ranks at number 82.
The drop into Copper Bowl from the West Ridge (double black diamond extreme terrain rating) is spectacular.
Looking back up at the steep drop into Copper Bowl from the West Ridge, all you see is steep and sky. Although it appears flat, there's still some steep skiing before the end of the run.
There was avalanche mitigation throughout the morning. I could hear and see the ski patrol shelling wind-laden snow across the bowl from me. Post-avalanche blasting, skiers are given the go-ahead to ski the couloir.
Above is a wide-angle view of Copper Bowl. It's not as sweet and tamed as it looks.
A feather cloud forms over the top of Drift Peak (13,900 feet, unranked) and slowly drifts toward Fletcher Mountain (13,951 feet, rank 59). Drift is unranked because there is not 300-plus feet of elevation difference along its saddle with Fletcher Mountain.
Above is a zoom-in on the snow cat that deposits skiers in upper Copper Bowl. Skiers can then "hoof-it" along the ridge to access the southern couloirs. Notice the massive cornice forming on the ridge in the upper right.
Skiers enjoy choppy snow in Union Bowl while Pacific Peak rises in the background.
As the 3 o'clock hour approached, my legs spent, I called it a day. A fine one at that! I stopped for one last photo on the way home. I shot 14,267-foot Torreys Peak from the Bakerville Exit along I-70. Torreys is a nice climb, ranking number 11 in the state.