13 February 2016

Stardate 2016.121


I journeyed up to Copper Mountain Ski Area, Colorado, to make some turns this past Thursday. Almost two out of three of the free parking lots were full; not bad for a Thursday. Lots of folks are possibly playing hooky and enjoying March/April temps. There were more people than I expected. The snow, old and abused, actually wasn't too bad either. (Old and abused indicating some fresh snow would be nice.) Above treeline, things are quite wind-scoured. Some fresh snow would be a boon.

Copper Mountain has natural terrain for all abilities. The east side (below) and backside bowl skiing is expert. The middle area boasts some fine intermediate glissading and the west side makes the aspiring novice grin.

A bird's eye view north above Tenmile Creek and the I-70 corridor.

Here's a typical groomed run amongst the trees. Copper has some nice fall lines.

Copper Mountain has several natural snow bowls on the backside of the ski area. The bowls offer sought-after powder skiing. However, they morph into bump (mogul) runs if the snow gods are playing hooky. This photo is of a mogul-ridden Spaulding Bowl. The ski area's high point touches the sky at 12,441 feet and is in the upper right corner of the photo.

The stately Tenmile Range provides Copper's eastern backdrop. Left to right is Pacific Peak (13,950 ft, state elevation rank #61), Atlantic Peak (13,841 ft, rank #86) and Fletcher Mountain (13,951 ft, rank #59).

A note on peak ranks: if a peak does not have a drop greater than 300 feet between a neighboring peak, it usually is not ranked. Left to right is Peak 10 (13,633 ft, no rank), Father Dyer Peak (13,615 ft, small background hump, no rank) and Crystal Peak (13,852 ft, rank #82).

A mellow-looking Point 12,293 with a nice cornice developing. In the photo, look for the bright, thin line of snow following the right ridge of Point 12,293. For those of you curious as to what a cornice is, it's an overhang of snow deposited by the wind off a terrain break like a ridgeline. One also may be seen in the Pacific Peak photo along the ridge in the right center of the photo. Cornices can be quite unstable and dangerous, often collapsing under their own weight. They also can get quite large and exist well into the spring until they collapse under their wet snow weight.

Late afternoon shadows start to mature on Crystal (left) and Pacific Peaks as I load up the 4Runner and head home.

Thanks for reading.


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