Page 1







Sierra Quitiquit



Head North Telemarking Lives!


Indian Peaks in Winter


forest woodward/

N O V E M E B E R 2 01 3


: with spirit lvan y in the s re roles u eat f Sweetgrass and latest ctions u prod miller warren sierra , flicks uit is . quitiq the sport charmingage 12). (see P

17 dressed to shred 23 The Great It’s time for EO’s annual fashion Powder road trip shoot. You won’t find Blue Steel and twiggy models here, but you will see folks like you, strutting out the latest winter threads and hard goods that will be on retail shelves this season. Photography by John Lloyd

We head north to find those legendary hidden stashes.

30 Elwayville What are your favorite ski memories? Peter Kray’s list includes Super Bowls and nudity.

departments 7 EDITOR’S LETTER

14 hot spot

How do we tackle the issue of diversity in the outdoors?

Ice climbing in Carbondale


Download the free View Ranger GPS app and head up Mount Audubon in the winter.

Telemark your workout, Summit County beer cruise, Gary Neptune’s museum upgrade...


Elevation Outdoors • PRINTED ON 100% RECYCLED PAPER

15 The trail

28 the road


Why I became an AMGA guide.

Pro skier and fashion model Sierra Quitiquit is breaking the mold when it comes to the way the media comes to grip with beautiful women who rip.

ON THE COVER: miss sierra quitiquit By adam barker/

OPENING DAY - NOVEMBER 22 Satellite Demo Day - December 8 Try the latest gear from Never Summer, Burton, Lib Tech, Union and many more!




















Denver’s best selection of At/tele Gear Demos • Rentals • World-famous Deals • Unlimited Savings!

WildyX owner Don Bushey going in deep at Berthoud Pass photo: Gary Apostalou









your gear.

How do you dress for success?




Dirty and watersoaked fleece leaves you cold and wet.

A clean, waterproof fleece keeps you warm and dry.


It really doesn’t matter, just as long as your PR person sends me a free sample.

johnlloyd Collared shirt, clean hair, dark blue pants and a confident delivery. No jeans. Perhaps I need to up my game?

aaronbible One word: Patagucci




I have a number of suits to choose from for a successful day: wet suit, dry suit, semi-dry suit, flight suit, bathing suit, jump suit, ski suit, Santa suit…


Nikwax Tech Wash

cleans effectively in a washing machine while preserving water repellency


Nikwax Polar Proof


adds safe, high performance water repellency while preserving breathability


D I G I TA L MED I A ONLINE DIRECTOR CRAIG SNODGRASS ELEVATION OUTDOORS is the property of SUMMIT PUBLISHING, LLC. ©2013 Summit Publishing, LLC. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written permission of the publisher.

NIKWAX GEAR REHAB 3 step program 1. Admit your gear has a problem. 2. Clean it! 3. Waterproof it!

ELEVATION OUTDOORS MAGAZINE P.O. BOX 7548 Boulder, CO 80306 phone 303-449-1560 fax 303-568-9785



rbo n ( P FC


ro Fl uor o



Elevation Outdoors • PRINTED ON 100% RECYCLED PAPER

Usually it’s in my favorite pair of jeans and remembering to put on my glasses when I’m heading out the door.

robcoppolillo There’s my Rab gear. And then there’s this little brand from England I love called Rab. Oh, and did I mention my Rab stuff? Especially the NeoShell stuff. Yeah, Rab. And some Patagonia. And Rab... it’s this alpine-genius stuff from Derbyshire. Totally legit.

hilaryoliver Usually in Chacos. Oh, it’s winter, you say? Guess I missed the memo.

scottyorko ca


sed Ba


At Nikwax we do all we can to minimize our impact on the environment and people’s health. We are the only established outdoor aftercare company to have a completely WaterBased, non-flammable and fluorocarbon (PFC) free range. We have always avoided using PFCs as we believe they are a risk to consumer health and the environment.


Dark colors hide stains much better and blend in with dirt for that versatile shabby chic look.

courtesy NOLS

E D I TO R ’ S L E T T E R



SMART AND EASY. new heights: the expedition denali team training at nols.

Scaling Diversity This magazine is not very diverse. It is a fact that bothers me, especially since I have sat through and promoted countless events, and speeches, and work groups, and brainstorming sessions focusing on how to make the outdoor industry more diverse. I have criticized the industry for talking about the issue over and over again without making any real difference, and yet, my own magazine is mostly a gallery of smiling white faces. The truth is this is pretty much what the outdoor space in Colorado looks like. It’s just not very diverse and it could be even more egregious to simply stuff diversity into the magazine to make it look different—that would be patronizing. It’s a conundrum. How do we make the outdoor space more welcoming to a wider range of people of different backgrounds. And why does it matter? The demographic makeup of the U.S. is changing. There is no one racial or cultural group that’s “American,” and few in the growing minority groups are visiting national parks or becoming skiers and mountain bikers. Why? For one, there just are not many people who look like them in our outdoor world, which paradoxically makes them less willing to be here. Then, there are cultural differences. Like it or not, moving to Boulder to bike with your lab and improve your Strava times is a bit of a privileged white-person idyll. It’s not necessarily what many members of the African-American or Hispanic community see as living the dream. Or is it? The real, complex answer comes down to individuals rather than broad ethnic generalizations. The National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) decided to face the issue... on a mountain face. Expedition Denali ( was the first African-American team to attempt to summit the continent’s tallest peak. Like so many others, the team decided to head down with the summit in sight last June when deadly storms rolled in. But the trip was just the catalyst for educational tours and a film that the team hopes will inspire kids to follow in their footsteps. It wasn’t so much an attempt to show that African-Americans could climb Denali for the sake of diversity as it was a chance for the team members to share their love of wild places with kids who rarely hear people like them talk about climbing. We can’t deny race, and yet we also can’t deny that there are simply people like the Expedition Denali team who just love to explore the wild. It’s about individuals as much as ethnicity. As James Mills, who is writing a book on Expedition Denali, told me when it comes to the minorities-inthe-outdoors issue: “The question isn’t why don’t black people spend time outdoors. The question is why don’t you spend more time outdoors or you or you or you. Ask yourself that question regardless of the color of your skin and decide whether or not it matters. The life-affirming benefits of physical exercise and establishing a worthwhile relationship with nature can be incentive enough for most. Add a sense of adventure and the desire to escape from the work-a-day world of modern society and you’ll find all the reasons you need. The simple fact remains, no one’s stopping you.”



The FREE RIDER 24 ABS and TOUR 32+7 ABS deliver the HIGHEST POSSIBLE SAFETY and VERSATILITY to increase your odds.

AIRBAG REMOVABLE for maximum versatility


FREE RIDER 24 ABS shown with removable SPS Pro2 back protector

XPEDITION Featuring Tubbs’ Cobra™ toe crampon and Grappler heel cleat providing superior traction in variable snow conditions, both uphill and downhill.


13-14 Tubbs ElevOut_Qtr 100113.indd 1

NOVEMBER 2013 • 10/1/13


11:07 AM

Made to Adventure

MADE TO TRAVEL Ever since we introduced our Give-N-Go ÂŽ underwear, adventurers have taken them around the world and relied on them to perform in any environment. Antimicrobial, quick drying, and lightweight, they allow people to explore the world unhindered.

South Australia

Reflecting at the Kangaluna Bush Camp in the Gawler Ranges of South Australia. Š ExOfficio 2013

Visit to find a specialty dealer near you.




On the Hill: You are always in the lunge.

Telemark This!

Who says dropping the heel is obsolete? It takes eight minutes for Mark DelVecchio to ski Vail top to bottom, and he’s lunging the whole time. DelVecchio, a Vail-based personal trainer and ski patroller, has been telemark skiing for five years, freeing his heels after 20 years of alpine skiing. “I think it’s a good transition to go from one to the other,” he says. “But I don’t necessarily think being a good alpine skier is going to make you a good tele skier, and vice versa.” DelVecchio explains that although there are similarities in the ski methods, the motions that you do during telemarking require different muscle isolation and strength building. “In telemarking we are always down in a lunge and there is always more pressure on one leg than the other,” he says. “In alpine, you are more often balanced on both legs at once.” It’s the added challenge and skill development of telemarking that seems to lead its devout following. “Telemark skiing reopens the way you look at the whole mountain,” says Sean Glackin, owner of Alpine Quest Sports in Edwards, Colo. “It makes skiing the mountain fresh again. It is a new challenge, a ton of fun and a great workout.” Glackin says the transition to tele from alpine can be pretty seamless. “It’s the same edge,” he says. “It is just learning to manipulate it differently.” When you’re learning and practicing your tele turns, expect to work your leg muscles, a lot. DelVecchio recommends building up your strength with a training program before even getting up on the bunny hill. He designed an eight-minute workout to reflect a tele trip down Vail. Use your body weight for resistance at home or in the gym. “From this eight minutes, you will get to know the endurance required to tele ski from the top of the mountain to the bottom,” he says. “This sequence will demonstrate how you will progressively work the leg, core and stabilizer muscles in telemarking.”

IN THE GYM: DelVecchio’s simulated vail workout will get you in Tele shape... or just kick your glutes.

DelVecchio’s Descent

8-Minute Tele Workout on Vail Mountain Top-to-Bottom 30 seconds: Lateral Skaters (Top of Chair 4 to Top of Ramshorn) 120 seconds: Alternating Body Weight Lunges (Top of Ramshorn to The Meadows) 30 seconds: Alternating Jump Lunges (The Meadows to Mid Vail) 60 seconds: Jump Rope (Mid Vail to Upper Lionsway) 30 seconds: Alternating Lateral Lunge Touchdowns (Upper Lionsway to Avanti) 60 seconds: Alternating Body Weight Lunges (Avanti) 30 seconds: Alternating Jump Lunge (Avanti - Bottom of Chair 2) 30 seconds: Alternating Lateral Lunge Touchdowns (Bottom of Chair 2 - Cross Cut)

Courtesy Mark DelVecchio

Isaac Stokes

Men’s Boxer Brief

Women’s Lacy Low Rise Bikini

Join the Give-N-Go ® underwear revolution. The antimicrobial micromesh is highly breathable, stays fresh, and dries fast. But most importantly, our award-winning underwear is comfortable.

GET YOUR EXOFFICIO CLOTHING AT: EXOFFICIO Cherry Creek North 105 Fillmore Street, Suite 107 Denver, CO 80206 Phone: 303-333-1233 ORVIS Cherry Creek North 2701 East 1st Ave. Denver, CO 80206 Phone: 303-355-4554 COLORADO BAG’ N BAGGAGE Cherry Creek Shopping Center 3000 East 1st Ave. #169 Denver, CO 80206 Phone: 303-388-0900 DENVER FLAGSHIP REI 1416 Platte Street Denver, CO 80202 Phone: 303-756-3100

60 seconds: Alternating Body Weight Lunges (Cross to the Bottom of Bear Tree) 30 seconds: Sprint Run (Bottom of Bear Tree to Vail Village)

Check out a video guide of this workout at

—Kim Fuller NOVEMBER 2013 •



Driven Under the Influence

Enjoy cruising Summit County’s breweries—safely. Nothing tastes better at the end of a great day of skiing than a couple of tasty brews when you can enjoy them knowing that no one in your party has to worry about driving. The Summit County Brewery Tour was created in March of 2012 to fill a need that everyone has had at one time or another in Ski Country—how do you enjoy the best beer that Summit County has to offer without worrying about the red-and-blue lights in your rear view mirror? The tour is offered year-round with door-to-door shuttle service to four of Summit County’s better brewpubs (Breckenridge Brewery, Backcountry Brewery, Dillon Dam Brewery and Pug Ryan’s Steakhouse and Brewery). The 4-5 hour tour includes a pint at each stop, dinner at Backcountry and numerous opportunities for entertainment. Owner Joel Godfrey, a 20-year veteran in the high mountain transportation business, decided he needed a new direction for his casino shuttle business and created the tour as a way to showcase the great beers being brewed in Summit County. The fleet consists of 7 shuttle vans, each equipped with a karaoke system that is often one of the highlights of the trip. Along the way, Joel and his staff teach revelers numerous bar tricks and drinking games. According to Joel, ”When you get home hopefully you will never have to pay for a beer again”. The goal for each tour is to create a memorable and safe night out for visitors and locals alike. The agenda on each trip can change according to the mood of the group. When asked about his most memorable group in his first season of business, Joel recounted a story of a group that was having so much fun with the karaoke competition that they decided to skip the last stop at Breckenridge Brewery and instead picked up some Breckenridge beer at a local liquor store. They then drove to a snowy overlook of the town and had an outdoor karaoke competition under the stars… Breckenridge Idol! —Hudson Lindenberger


Elevation Outdoors • PRINTED ON 100% RECYCLED PAPER

A Colorado charity supports the places where we love to play. Like many of us weekend warriors, Boulder-based adventurers Ron Grace and Mark Levesque get out on their mountain bikes, kayaks and motorcycles as often as they can to explore the beautiful and remote countryside we get to call home in the Rocky Mountains and American West. But that twinge of discomfort that strikes all of us as we ride through rural and poverty stricken communities along the way with our fancy and expensive toys pushed Ron over the edge. Looking back he recalls: “I began to notice that woven throughout the beautiful rock formations, the rivers and the deserts was a lot of poverty and a lot of people struggling to get by. I since have travelled back there several times and each time I wondered what could be done.” Ron and Mark started to pack various donations along with them as they continued to adventure and visit the places they loved. Word got out among their friends and the donations piled up to two truck loads that were delivered to a small community on the Navajo reservation. Recognizing a good thing, they started the charity organization Lost For A Reason (LFAR) and have expanded their work to include funding a women’s shelter, supplying food banks and supporting a kids’ soccer program. Because Ron and Mark are contractors they’ve donated their time and skills to build additions onto homes. Along with the work mentioned above they have raised over $17,000 since they started this project only seven months ago. Looking ahead they plan to continue their focus on the Navajo reservation and are planning fund-raising mountain bike rides and trail-running events in Colorado, California and Arizona. There’s even talk of connecting with an Australian charity. —Cameron Martindell Courtesy lost for a reason

Joel Godfrey


Courtesy vail resorts

Dudes, beer and a designated driver

It’s Time to Get Lost For A Reason

Doing more than getting a workout on the NAVAJO Reservation

doug schnitzspahn


Neptune’s Mountaineering Museum Goes Bigger

Roof Rack Systems · Cap/Topper Rack Kits · Ladder Rack Systems Alloy Trays · Awnings · Boat Loaders · Cargo Boxes · Steel Cargo Baskets Bike, Ski + Kayak Carriers · Off-Road + Contractor Accessories

Although Gary Neptune sold off Neptune Mountaineering, he still owns the items in the mountaineering museum housed within the retail store and he has just finished a redesign of those hallowed grounds. “The redesign has been an exciting project for me, the biggest difference is that the space, provided by the store’s new owner, allows many items to be at eye level and displayed in a much more coherent fashion than before,” he says. “A majority of the museum is located in the area that we use every week for presentations, but the museum fixtures will be moveable and it is now a great public area.” The museum houses various pieces of climbing and skiing equipment, mainly from the most significant period of mountain and polar exploration, the mid 1800s to the last half of the 20th century. There is also a large collection of photographs from this period. Many of the museum exhibits will now be distributed throughout the 15,000-square-foot store and the redesign will be aimed at organizing parts of the current collection, creating more story lines and enhancing the value for the skiing and climbing community from all over the world. —C.M.

Goggle Trends, or what’s hot in your vision.

APEX BY SUNGLASS HUT’S PRODUCT GEARU, BOBBY DEAN Tech Combining innovative tech features like HD video or GPS with your snow goggle means carrying less devices but having more tools to track and record your riding experience. With Zeal Optic’s HD Camera goggle ($399) you can become an overnight Internet sensation by filming and uploading insane tricks. Oakley’s Airwave 1.5 GPS goggle ($649) allows you to track your buddies on the mountain and record analytics like your speed, air time, and more.

Camo Yep, camo prints are a higher caliber choice for those that want something more distinctive than the standard issue black. The Smith Vice Trilaboration Camo ($140) takes out the competition by combining a blacked out lens, surplus green frame coloring and tactically cool camo print. Oversized Old-school oversized cylindrical goggles are making a comeback because they are less expensive than spherical shaped goggles, the oversized lens improves peripheral vision, and the intense side-side lens curvature is retro freakin’ cool. Spy’s Raider Stevie Bell ($120) flashes back to all that was awesome in the 80’s. Check out to view APEX by Sunglass Hut’s first-in-class assortment of snow goggles and to find a store near you.

COUPON For a limited time, enter promotional code: SKIELEVATION at checkout and receive 25% off on all ski/snowboard carriers. Part #s 566U, 564U & 562U Log on to / 877-744-6622 / 303-706-9700 / North American HQ: Denver, Colorado

Oakley Airwave 1.5



home style: she has graced cosmopolitan, but quitiquit’s most at ease in her utah powder.

watch a well-produced movie. One question “Valhalla” has brought up is whether big-budget film companies will move into this space soon, with attempts at actual plot and story. It’s hard to say if this is the start of an emerging trend or just an exciting niche that’s getting a lot of buzz. But throw a girl like Sierra into the mix, with her attractive personality, experience in front of a camera and her ability to “slay blower pow on some sick spines in AK,” and you’ve got potential for wide-ranging appeal.

Blowing Up

Going Big

Pro skier Sierra Quitiquit isn’t just one of the stars of the latest Sweetgrass Productions and Warren Miller films, she’s also a working fashion model. So how does she balance dropping big cliffs and looking good for the camera?

By Scott Yorko Sierra Quitiquit’s fluorescent orange fanny pack is bobbing up and down like a buoy in a hurricane. She’s charging through an up-tempo workout in bright green spandex pants and a purple Smt-shirt at Park City’s Municipal Athletic & Recreation Center, her long ponytail jogging along for the ride. These days, fanny packs are most common at retro 80’s theme parties and on the swaying hips of music festivalgoers—but for Quitiquit, the accessory is more function than fashion. “Purses are just so bad for my body’s alignment, so I rock a fanny pack most of the time,” she says. Then she bangs out high-knee track sprints, lateral hop agility drills, and 24-inch box jumps. Functional accessories are not the only part of Sierra’s life in service of the constant search for balance. She moves through this power hour circuit session with the drive and intensity of a


Scott Markewitz/



Elevation Outdoors • PRINTED ON 100% RECYCLED PAPER

serious athlete, but her long, thin legs prance with the fragility of a model in heels. As a newly minted pro skier under big sponsorship contracts with Spyder, Volkl, Marker and Discrete she’s landed feature roles in two of this year’s major ski films—Sweetgrass’s “Valhalla” and Warren Miller’s “Ticket to Ride.” She’s also a professional model, as in 200-foot Times Square billboard ads for American Eagle and full page spreads in Cosmopolitan, Teen Vogue, and Seventeen. She’s also a yoga teacher, a surfer and all-around free spirited hippie chick. “I’m kind of an oddity in the ski world… I can’t be captured with any one-liner,” she says. But a multi-talented female oddity might be just what skiing needs right now. “Valhalla” amassed a great deal of hype surrounding its September 13 premier because it’s more than your standard ski porn—the kind with meathucking cliff drops to hard rock music and park rats throwing flatspins off kickers with pants down to their knees. “Valhalla” has a narrative arc, it has fictional characters, and it’s artful. Rather than throwing the horns and shotgunning Red Bulls in mid air, skiers and snowboarders are sailing through high alpine pillow lines in musical slow motion, sometimes nude, and meditating on glowing red mountaintops. It’s more profound than what the world is used to in a ski film and hopefully more engaging to viewers who want to

So where did this 24-year-old mystic pixie come from? She grew up in Park City, Utah, with three brothers close in age, but their parents began home schooling when they were barely tweens, a.k.a. piling the family into a green 15-passenger Ford Econoline for several years and hitting the USSA ski racing circuit all over the Intermountain and Far West Divisions. The kids were coached by their father while poaching the training gates of organized teams. Losing was not an option. “My parents made so many sacrifices for skiing that there was a lot of disappointment if we weren’t winning… It seemed normal at the time,” says Sierra, who placed first in the Intermountain Division Junior Championships when she was just 8. “Growing up competitive and striving to be bigger, better, faster, stronger and all these things that I learned growing up ski racing from a young age—it doesn’t get more competitive than the Park City ski team—was a great application for modeling because it’s the most competitive industry a girl could ever work in.” But major injuries were a constant and the family fell apart with the death of her oldest brother. Their parents pulled the kids out of the racing scene for several years. Sierra was 15 when she ended up at a boarding school in Switzerland, where she’d secretly take the train to Andermatt on weekends, bumming a couch and a ski pass. She fell back in love with skiing and has been salivating for powder ever since, between stints at massage therapy school in Costa Rica and a summer in Alaska “living off the land” and working the desk at K2 Aviation. Then came the modeling. While on her way to Panama for a massage job at an international surf competition, Sierra’s mom bamboozled her to layover in Houston. Next thing she knew, Sierra was being dragged to the mall’s makeup counter and then an audition for “America’s Next Top Model” in 2010. She stunned the competition with her bubbly smile and uncommonly real persona and soon got a callback to Los Angeles. The show wasn’t for her, but modeling paychecks were a far cry from the $45 shift pay she was previously making flipping burgers. Fast forward two years, and she’s jet-setting all over the world shooting for Nike, LuluLemon, Athleta and more.

Dropping In Despite all this modeling mayhem, Sierra sees herself as an athlete first, which explains why she turned down a huge deal last year with The Ford Modeling Agency, as in the powerhouse company that represents supermodels like Christie Brinkley, Elle MacPherson, Kim Alexis,


etc. “I just don’t associate with the modeling culture,” she says, “When I was younger, I most wanted to be a downhill skier.” The problem with dropping big cliffs and skiing super fast steeps with a 5’10” model’s body is when it comes time to crash. “I’m not built to take that kind of impact,” admits Sierra, who has broken her femur, torn her meniscus, cracked her humerus in three places, snapped her collarbone, broken her nose compressing into her own knee, dealt with chronic whiplash and cervical misalignment for the last decade, and recently tore soft tissue in her shoulder. Sierra was injured for most of last season, a stark momentum killer in your first year as a pro. In “Valhalla,” she played the character Ayla, a sort of mystic nature woman who “floated on a grace all her own, without any of the world’s weight we all accumulate,” but she doesn’t actually ski in the film—a rather nettlesome detail that keeps Sierra anxious to prove herself. “The challenge is I haven’t shown anyone what I do on skis yet,” she says “Everyone freaked when I put out a video edit with me doing yoga in my underwear, but I also hit Fat Bastard [a 30-foot Jackson Hole cliff] in the same video and threw a three off a spine in Alaska!” Despite this, other courting sponsors originally wanted to sign her as just a ski model, like for photos of her holding up boots a la Bob Barker’s Beauties. And that’s something Sierra will have to contend with for a while. “It’s a challenge to earn respect as an athlete when because people are so quick to run the picture of me in a bikini. The

forest woodward/


not a stretch: quitiquit hopes the high-fashion modeling industry will “move away from skinny and into Beauty.”

media is so quick to capitalize on sex appeal to gain viewership. As both a model and an athlete, my challenge is to earn respect as an athlete without denoting my sexuality,” she says. It’s lightly charted territory, trying to make a name for herself as a legit female athlete in such a male-dominated sport without sacrificing her feminine appeal. Beautiful tennis players like Maria Sharapova and Anna Kournikova have struggled with the same dilemma. Sierra does ski in “Ticket To Ride,” ripping a wide-open face above the Arctic Sea in Iceland alongside Big Mountain World Cup champion Jess McMillan and Olympic Gold Medalist Julia Mancuso. There are tall orders to fill with the swath of high expectations Sierra has encountered. The big question is whether she’s ready for them, or

perhaps more importantly, is the macho-centric sport ready for her to break the mold? “I think the ski industry suffers because a lot of our ambassadors are embarrassed to show their feminine side,” she says, “But as a society, we’re starting to realize that it’s cool to be balanced and it’s not always about throwing the horns up and being more machismo. There’s a softer side that can be expressed and shown in all things.” If the skiing world is indeed gearing up for some kind of existential awakening with more films like “Valhalla,” there may be more of a place for women like Sierra—feminine weirdos who are quirky and fun and still beautiful ripping it up. All Sierra has to do is be herself and ski her ass off, two of her favorite things in the world. • NOVEMBER 2013 •



David Clifford/


Oh, Naturale: Simmering down at Penny Hot Springs

Highway 133, the Redstone Slabs are visible from the road on the west side of the valley, on the south side of the town of Redstone.

Mix It Up

BJ Sbarra

Lick it Up: Tasty climbing on The Drool (WI5)

Carbondale on Ice

Closer to the Front Range and less crowded than Ouray, the ice climbing around Carbondale is worth the drive—there’s something here for every ability level. But the hot springs, cozy accommodations and satiating eats will make you stay the weekend.

By Hilary Oliver

CLIMB If you’re new to ice climbing or just want a local hand, Aspen Expeditions (aspenexpeditions. com) can outfit you and help you thwack and chip your way up a number of frozen falls in the Redstone area, up the Crystal River from Carbondale. If you’re looking to go your own way, has the best info on local waterfall ice. Conditions are fleeting, so check with a shop or guide service before you go to find out what’s in, or be open to bailing in favor of a hot-springs soak. Also check out Jack Roberts’s guidebook Colorado Ice, Vol. I (Polar Star, 2005).


Top Rope Redstone is ripe with waterfall ice that can be toproped. Check out both pitches of The Drool (WI5), the area’s best pillar route, suggests B.J. Sbarra, local guidebook author and editor at splitterchoss. com. Hayes Creek Falls (WI2) is another popular top rope. Tip: Don’t forget to bring a solid length of cordelette—15 or 20 feet—to extend anchors and reduce rope drag. Getting There: Take Highway 133 south out of Carbondale. The Drool is an easy 10-minute hike off from 133, 0.7 miles past Redstone’s south entrance. A sign points out Hayes Creek Falls on the west side of the highway, 1.8 miles south of Redstone’s south entrance.

Lead The mac daddy area climb, Redstone Slabs (WI4/5), is three pitches of terrain varying from a vertical pillar to wide curtains. But just as the slabs are visually striking, their ice is fleeting. When this one’s in, it’s a classic, but Sbarra warns that on a sunny day, the danger from falling ice can be extreme. Getting There: South of the town of Redstone on

Elevation Outdoors • PRINTED ON 100% RECYCLED PAPER

Coal Creek, also up the valley from Carbondale, boasts a number of mixed routes from the moderate two-pitch Single Parenting (WI3) to the hard stuff like Cold Heaven (WI5, M5+), a chimney-to-ice mixed route. Getting There: At the town of Redstone, turn right onto Coal Creek Road from Highway 133. After about four miles, turn right onto Coal Basin Road. From parking at the prominent red cliffs along Coal Creek, there are more than 10 different routes within about a half-hour walk.


Eat and Drink A latte from Bonfire Coffee ( or chile rellenos with eggs at The Village Smithy ( start a day of tool swinging properly. When you’ve had your fill of shivering exertion, warm up with a spicy curry at Phat Thai ( or a pie at White House Pizza (, which offers glutenfree crust options. If you’re in a hurry, hit up Dos Gringos ( for a burrito.

Soak and Sleep If au natural is your style, Penny Hot Springs are undeveloped springs along the Crystal River, just a few hundred feet north of mile marker 55 on the east side of Highway 133. If you prefer your soaking a bit more posh, try Avalanche Ranch (, where the private pools are still designed around the natural landscape. But be forewarned, they close at 5 p.m. for non-lodging guests, so consider getting a cabin. The historic Redstone Inn (redstoneinn/ also runs weekend room specials in the winter. •


thetrail Your Objective: At 13,223 feet, Mount Audubon lords over the surrounding Indian Peaks.


James Dziezynski

Map C 2013 Open Cycle Map. Map data CCBYSA 2012 & contributors.

4 3

Once you’ve had your fill, head back to the trail and begin picking your way up the final rocky ridge toward the summit.


1 The Peak of Solitude

During summer, the Indian Peaks’ Brainard Lake area is hard hit by droves of city-dwellers and tourists—but, in winter, this same spot is a ghost town. Download the free GPS app and head to the top of 13,223-foot Mount Audubon for some serious alone time.

By Chris Kassar


Ditch the Car: Brainard Lake Gate Closure (40.08083, -105.535652) One reason so few people venture to Audubon this time of year is that from mid-October to May, the road closure adds 2-3 miles each way. Conditions vary—sometimes wind scours the pavement or the snow is so frozen and crunchy that you can ride a mountain bike, at other times the powder requires skis or snowshoes. No matter what you choose for this first leg, bring snowshoes (see Trail Gear, below). You’ll want them once the slopes steepen. Foray into the Forest : Summer Trailhead (40.08373609744, -105.58119934984) At the Mitchell Lake Trailhead, ditch your bike and/or skis and begin snowshoeing through the beautiful pine forest and up the mild grade of the Mt. Audubon Trail. About .25 miles later, the route


turns sharply to the left. After a mile of moderate, steady climbing, the trail shoots right on a steep switchback where you’ll reach a break in the forest that affords panoramic views of Mitchell Lake, Little Pawnee Peak (12,466 feet) and Mt Toll (12,979 feet). At this point, tall spruce give way to stunted, Seusslike specimens that provide insight into the intense winds that sweep through the area. Tundra Trekking: Trail Junction (40.098621351644, -105.58644348755) Shortly after leaving the forest behind, you’ll encounter the Beaver Creek Trail Junction. Bear left to stay on the Mt. Audubon trail which climbs through open tundra for the next 2 miles. The route is direct, marked with cairns (which may not be visible in snow) and provides excellent views of Longs Peak (14,259 feet) and Mt. Meeker (13,911 feet) to the north. Be ready for varying conditions as you navigate your way toward the summit.



Nearly There: Broad Plateau (40.103394, -105.613518) From the saddle, the trail traverses the north side of the mountain for another .75-1 mile until you reach this expansive plateau. Pay attention. A cairn usually marks the left turn that heads for the summit, but many miss this junction because the area is strewn with trails. After locating the turnoff, walk a few hundred feet past it and pause for a moment to stare up at Paiute Peak’s jagged summit (13,012 feet) and its intimidating snow-covered couloirs.

Toppin’ Out: The Summit (40.099803116173, -105.61577939428) After .5 miles of climbing over mixed scree, talus and a big pile of boulders, you’ll reach the top of Mount Audubon. Hunker down inside one of the many stone windbreaks built on the long, flat, rocky summit and enjoy the spectacular views. On a clear day you’ll be rewarded with visions of the vast Indian Peaks, the Never Summers, Rocky Mountain National Park and even Pikes Peak to the south. After you’ve rested sufficiently (or you’ve reached your limit for frigid temperatures and gale force winds) head back the way you came. Give into gravity and enjoy tromping through the tundra. Upon returning to the Mitchell Lake Trailhead, swap your snowshoes out for the bike or skis you stashed, cruise back to the car, crank the heat and revel in your accomplishment. •


powered By

Download the app and this route on your phone for free now:

Route code ELEV0022


Trail Gear KEEN Summit County III These toasty, insulated and waterproof kicks look burly, but feel super comfy and light, almost like you’re wearing a warm, supportive slipper. $150;

Kahtoola Mountain Snowshoes Kahtoola’s incredibly unique and adaptable design allows you to easily change from a crampon to a full snowshoe and vice versa by just stepping into or out of a durable snowshoe deck. $279-$289;




Let’s have a party tonight!

We’ll come pick you up for a full evening of FREE BEERS, FREE DINING, and magical entertainment!* * restrictions apply


summit county

brewery tour

Includes round-trip door-to-door service from any metro Summit County location.


Elevation Outdoors • PRINTED ON 100% RECYCLED PAPER

S now and S tyle

Dressed to Shred


Welcome to Elevation Outdoors goes high-end style. Well, sort of. We did decide to get out and give you a look at the hottest apparel and hard goods on the shelves this winter. And damn, the choices look good. Photography by John Lloyd


High-performance fabrics get you to the goods... but that doesn’t mean you can’t look good, too.

Oakley Elevate Snow Goggle ($150; Mountain Hardwear Caelum Dome Hat ($30; Mountain Hardwear Snowtastic Jacket ($500) MONTBELL Ex Light Down Jacket ($199;

Bergans Soleie Merino Baselayer ($85; Eider Kanda Pant ($330; Jones Solution Splitboard ($849;

MontBell Women’s Powder Cache Parka ($249; MontBell Women’s Chameece Jacket ($49) Bergans Soleie Merino Baselayer ($85; POC Women’s Retina Goggle ($125; Eddie Bauer Notion Beanie ($20; Dynafit Manaslu Skis ($700; Dynafit TLT6 Mountain Women’s Boots ($750) NOVEMBER 2013 •




N3L 13-7772 Apex Dealer Ad.indd 2

10/2/13 10:05 AM

N3L Optics

See Ski Job Number: Project: Job For: Start Date: Revised: Creative:

N3L 13-7772 APEX Dealer Ad Dealer Ad Elevations Outdoors Augd27th, 2013



Bleed: Trim: Live: Inks: Part # Notes:

9.125” x 5.75” 4/0 CMYK -


elevation outdoors wants you to get outside and play with new gear. sign up to win at snow goggles OF YOUR CHOICE FROM APEX BY SUNGLASS HUT (UP TO $300 VALUE) Choose from brands including Oakley, Smith, Zeal, Spy and Dragon. Visit our stores at the Cherry Creek Shopping Center, FlatIron Crossing or Twenty Ninth Street.


Light enough for serious ski mountaineers and burley enough for whatever the mountain delivers.


Elevation Outdoors • PRINTED ON 100% RECYCLED PAPER

OAKLEY – Airbrake Shaun White Gold Future Primitive / 24K Iridium Lens

S now and S tyle



Dress classic to hit the slopes in Colorado.

Eider Lake Placid Jacket ($280;

Eider Manhattan Pant ($180) Chaos Knit Hat ($30; POC Women’s Retina Goggle ($125; Salomon Q-96 Lumen Skis ($500;

Eider Spencer Jacket ($585;

Dynafit Mercury DST Pants ($200; Outdoor Research Northback Sensor Gloves ($139; Anon Comrade Goggle ($150; Burton Custom Snowboard ($395; NOVEMBER 2013 •



S now and S tyle


You earned it. So look the part.

Mountain Khaki Women’s Lodge Jacket ($179; Mountain Hardwear Burned Out Stripe L/S ($65; Mountain Hardwear Trekkin Flannel ($75) Prana IKAT Scarf ($38

Prana Women’s Canyon Pants ($85)

Patagonia Wanaka Down Jacket ($399; Mountain Khaki Peaks Flannel Shirt ($90;

Prana Bronson Lined Pants ($95; Merrell Mountain Moc ($95;


Elevation Outdoors • PRINTED ON 100% RECYCLED PAPER

Location thanks to the Boulderado Hotel (

S now and S tyle



Because being a beast on rock and ice requires a dash of style.

Outdoor Research Women’s Valhalla Jacket ($350; adidas TS All Season Pants ($150; Wild Country Summit Harness ($85;

Salewa Pro Gaiter Mountaineering Boot ($449; Petzl Nomic Ice Tool ($299;

Outdoor Research Lodestar Jacket ($450; adidas Terrex Cocona Fleece Jacket ($120; Black Diamond Dawn Patrol Bibs ($329; Mountain Hardware Dragons Claw Gloves ($155; Scarpa Mont Blanc GTX Boots ($449; Petzl Nomic Ice Tool ($299; Native Eyewaer Sidecar ($129; NOVEMBER 2013 •


Started by a couple of skiers who imagined better gear for the mountains.

Independent Homegrown Mountain Raised Flylow co-founders Greg Steen and Dan Abrams during an après-ski design meeting, Alpine Meadows, California. © Robin O’Neill

f ly lowge ar .com


We’re hitting the road again at this winter’s coolest events! Come by our booth for chances to win cool gear from our sponsors! Colorado Ski & Snowboard Expo, Nov. 8-10 Warren Miller, Boulder CO, Nov. 11-17 Warren Miller, Denver CO, Nov. 21-23


Elevation Outdoors • PRINTED ON 100% RECYCLED PAPER


Great Snow

Liam Doran

Road Trip

Earning It: Hiking for stashes at Big Sky.

Yes, some of the world’s best resorts are in Colorado, but so are the crowds. We suggest you hit the road and head north this winter to seek out spots where you can enjoy powder turns all by your lonesome.


t’s time to plan a winter road trip that will bring you to the only thing that matters—the places with the most snow. This guide to resorts beyond the friendly confines of Colorado will help you get it done.


by Doug Schnitzspahn tain by finishing with a tour on Mary’s Nipple. Where to Stay: The resort offers some nice deals including a Stay and Ski free package that includes a lift ticket and lodging at the base strating at just $65 per night. No day at Targhee is complete if you don’t end up at The Trap bar.

grand Targhee


alta, wyoming • Distance from Denver: 10 hours Why to go: Targhee may not be as well known as its mighty neighbor Jackson Hole, and it may not have the same steeps, but it does guarantee one important thing: powder, lots of it. The little resort on the other side of the Tetons gets hammered with more than 500 inches every year, making it one of the snowiest places to ride a lift in North America. Since it’s tucked in behind the Grand Teton—you need to get here from the Idaho side—the low-key resort sucks a big percentage of the good stuff from storms headed east. What’s more is that you won’t be assaulted by egos or tourists at Targhee—the crowd is a mix of homegrown locals and powder afficianados. Make it stop one in search of powder. Where to find the goods: If you want more than the blessings inbounds, the resort’s snowcat operation will ferries you out for 14,000-20,000 verts of untracked lines on the other side of the ropes. A $413 Snowcat Adventure package includes three nights of lodging, one day of lift skiing and one day on the cat. Of course, you can also score the goods if you simply use your own engine and hike the famed (patrolled) terrain of Mary’s Nipple, too. Insider Knowledge: Start your day off on the Blackfoot double chair, then move across the moun-

big sky, montana • Distance from Denver: 10 hours, 30 minutes Why to go: It’s one massive resort­—strike that, actaully three including Moonlight Basin and Spanish Peaks—with no major population center nearby. That means that during a big dump you will be skiing fresh lines all day long instead of trying to hunt for little spots the crowds missed. It also helps that this monster of a resort claims 5,570 skiable acres and over 400 inches of white stuff each season. The highlight is the Lone Peak Tram, a giant beer can that shuttles skiers and riders to the summit of 11,166foot Lone Peak. While acessing Moonlight—which sports some impressive steeps and high-alpine stashes of its own—used to require a more expensive ticket, Big Sky’s ownership acquired Moonlight and Spanish Peaks this fall, making claim to “the Biggest Skiing in America.” They have a point. No matter the stats, powder seekers will love that all the terrain offers ample chances to find stashes and blown-in snow even days after storms. Where to find Powder: Your best bets are high up on the mountain. The Big Sky Tram acesses terrain that feels more like the Alps than Montana—a smorgasbord of lines that ranges from the big, wide open turns down Liberty Bowl, a classic chute in the

Big Sky

Big Couloir and varrying steeps with a short turnaround back to the Tram in the Patrol Gullies. Insider Knowledge: The Tram terrain is world class, but you should also head over to the Moonlight side to hit the steep chutes of The Headwaters on the north side of the mountain. Where to Stay: It’s not right at the bottom of the lifts, but Buck’s T-4 ( is on Highway 191 at the turn-off to the resort and the place combines upscale class and a donwhome Montana hunter vibe. Ask general manager David O’Connor for beta on the mountain and other activities in the Gallatin Canyon and Yellowstone National Park.

Bell Lake Yurt pony, montana • Distance from Denver: 11 hours why to go: This yurt high up in Montana’s Tobacco Root Range was recently purchased by former Backcountry editor Drew Pogge. Mister Pogge does not mess around when it comes to seeking out untouched snow. The range represents the highest cluster of peaks in the state and the cirque of Bell Lake and Branham Peak where the yurt is situated serves up a whole bevy of lines—from safe lowangle tours in the trees to sketchy couloirs in the peaks. It’s an ideal base of operations. It would be a good idea to check the place out in spring as well, when the snow stabilizes and opens up big lines. Where to find Powder: The choice is up to you. If you are on your own, however, do be wellschooled in avalanche safety as well as the weather, terrain and peculiarities of the Tobacco Roots; carry the right gear; and exercise solid mountain judgement. NOVEMBER 2013 •


necessary please contact your account representative. If we do not receive notification we will ass advertisement is correct. Phone: (206) 418-0747; Fax (206) 418-0746. Thank you.

ARREN 13 W MI 20





ARREN 13 W MI 20
















NOV. 8 + 9 NOV. 13 NOV. 14 - 17 NOV. 20 NOV. 21 - 23 NOV. 25 - 27 NOV. 29 + 30 DEC. 7

Offering vacation rentals, long term rentals, and HOA/Property Management for over 30 years. Properties available in Keystone, Breckenridge, Frisco, Silverthorne, and Dillon. • 970-668-3174


Elevation Outdoors • PRINTED ON 100% RECYCLED PAPER

Courtesy Bell Lake Yurt

Insider Knowledge: If your muscles are aching from all that ski touring, hit the undeveloped Upper Potosi Hot Springs on the road back down to Pony and near the Potosi Campground. It’s just a small pot that averages about 110 degrees with a fence to keep the cows out, but it’s worth a stop. Where to Stay: The yurt, of course. The cozy spot sleeps up to six and rates start at $265 per night. Pogge also offers fully guided and catered options (with locally grown organic produce and meats) as well as custom trips. The yurt will also be hosting three certified Avy 1 courses this season.

Smoking Something: The Bell Lake Yurt is a safe haven for skiers and splitboarders seeking out the stashes of Montana’s Tobacco Roots.

british columbia Fernie

fernie, british columbia • Distance from Denver: 16 hours, 30 minutes Why to go: Because Fernie is, well, out of the way, making it one of the best little-known hills in existence. That’s a good thing for powder seekers and even better when you consider the resort averages 444 inches per year and the terrain here—which includes some sublime tree skiing and a chain of five bowls, including some puckering steeps—tends to hold onto that goodness. Plus, you won’t have to share that snow with too many tourists. Where to find Powder: The Currie Headwall is the place to lap big, steep lines here on a pow day. Insider Knowledge: A $90 CDN RCR Rockies Card gives you three days of skiing but is only on sale until December 26. It’s also good at Kicking Horse, Nakiska and Kimberley. Where to Stay: There are plenty of solid options at the base of the resort, but also try staying in town, which is in the midst of a revitalization project. Check here: •

Percentage Fee / Free Consult



new Seasonal

NOW Available!

brewed & bottled in grAnd junction, colorAdo



Elevation Outdoors • PRINTED ON 100% RECYCLED PAPER




















SNOW bound

Grand Targhee


Alta, WY


here’s one statistic that stands out when you consider a trip to Grand Targhee: 500+ inches. That’s the average amount of light, dry powder that pummels this laid back Wyoming resort each season (the most snowfall in the state), thanks to a high-alpine barrier that deposits consistent double-digit dumps on its 2,600 acres of glades, bowls and groomed runs. Tucked into the Tetons, the resort will be celebrating its 45th anniversary this season, and it has become an institution when it comes to skiers and snowboarders who are seeking out an authentic spot to revel in powder turns. So make it the year to visit. There are certainly deals that make a trip to Targhee easy. Stay and Ski Free packages start at just $65 per person, per night and Snowcat Adventure packages start at $413 and include three nights of lodging, one day of lift skiing and a full day of Grand Targhee Cat Skiing. You don’t have to be hard core to enjoy the place, though. Visitors can soak in the Wyoming vibe on a Sleigh Ride Dinner with cowboy Paul Martin— his horse-drawn sleigh will carry you to a yurt for a Western dinner and homemade scones. Naturalist Tours, snowshoe adventures that delve into the natural history of the greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, leave from the resort. And if you are unfamiliar with the skiing here, you can join a Daily Mountain Tour. No matter how you enjoy Targhee, you are in for an adventure.

Jackson Hole • 1hr Idaho Falls • 1.5hrs DENVER • 10hrs






@grandtarghee GrandTargheeResort



NOV 22 Opening Day JAN 18 3rd Annual Fat Bike Race FEB 22 Mary’s Nipple Challenge, Annual Breast Cancer Fundraiser FEB 28-MAR 2 Big Mountain Telemark Series

Mini Moose lessons ages 2-5, Powder Scouts lessons ages 6-12, child care 2 months to 5 years




Mary’s Nipple, inbounds, hike-to terrain; 602 acres dedicated to snowcat

APR 12 Cardboard Box Derby APR 19 Sink or Skim Pond Skim Contest


99 20%

The Trap bar with live music and NFL Sunday Ticket at the base; Wildlife, Royal Wolf and Teton Thai in Driggs






What a Long,

Strange, Certified Trip It’s Been Kristoffer Erickson/

A young climber once decided he wanted to be an AMGA/IFMGA mountain guide. After years of training, studying, short-roping, cooking and a new family growing up around him, he’s finally close to the goal. Was it worth it? by Rob Coppolillo


tacks of cash, bright yellow Bentleys, hangin’ with rappers and hot tubs crammed with Swedish minxes. Yes indeed, friends, these are the reasons I began my apprenticeship as a mountain guide over a decade ago. Life doesn’t always deliver on our little fantasies, however. It’s now fall of 2013 and the reality of guiding looks a little different for me. A silver Honda Fit in place of the Bentley. No hot tub, but a gear room that would make Walter Bonatti’s gnocchi tingle. And oh yeah, the only rapper I know is Timmy O’Neill. But hot damn, folks, I’ve finished all my courses with the American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA) and the International Federation of Mountain Guides Associations (IFMGA) recognizes me as an “aspirant guide” on rock, on skis, and in the alpine. Three final exams separate me from full recognition with the AMGA and IFMGA. It’s been a long, expensive, tough journey, totally devoid of Swedish minxes. So why do it, you ask?

The Apprentice I met Markus Beck, a Swiss-born resident of the U.S., in 2005. He had just finished his guide exams that year and showed up with a good tan and a silver pin on his sweater. Little did I know at the time this little trinket—a round medallion the size of a 50-cent piece with a mountain in the middle— would become the source of great motivation and


stress for me and a posse of men and women who’d soon be my friends. Internationally certified guides wear these pins to announce themselves. Once upon a time mountain villages like Zermatt, Chamonix and Grindelwald had their own designs, but today it’s the standard IFMGA version. Markus had his and I was interested. He and I discussed working as a guide, what it entailed, and whether or not I was suited to it. I managed to convince him I might have the goods, so we agreed on a climb in Eldorado Canyon just to make sure I wasn’t a total punter. Days later we met there and did the West Buttress (5.9+) on the Bastille. I’d been racing bikes for a decade (read: tiny arms, big ass) and took a gulp. 5.9 in Eldo, I’d flail for sure. I faked it as best I could, pulling on gear when Markus wasn’t looking, trying not to cry like a wuss when I was leading. My “performance” bought me a season of apprenticeship. I felt lucky—Markus’s company, Alpine World Ascents, had a bunch of good guides working for it. Brian Lazar was a co-founder and he’s since gone on to become the Assistant Director with the Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC) and Executive Director of the American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education (AIARE). Tim Brown, became an IFMGA guide, CAIC avalanche forecaster, and now spends summers in the Tetons

Elevation Outdoors • PRINTED ON 100% RECYCLED PAPER

working for Exum. Suddenly I was around this crew, hanging on the back, trying to learn as much as I could. I took training trips with to Utah, Washington and Nevada. I took notes, I imitated, I asked questions. I practiced coiling ropes and placing fast anchors, obsessed over skinning technique and rehearsed complicated rescue procedures. It would be two years before I tied a client into a rope, but it seemed worth it. Markus and his boys had high standards and took the gig seriously.

The Student By 2006, Markus urged me to start my AMGA courses if I was going to pursue certification. I enrolled in a “ski guide course” in Aspen that winter. I did pretty well and for the first time envisioned getting my own pin. Half my family is from Italy and the idea of going to the Alps to guide gave the scheme a veneer of practicality—after all, to guide on big peaks in Europe, you need the pin, no exceptions. Guiding without it can land you in jail. I moved through coursework in places like Aspen, Valdez, the North Cascades and the Sierras. My instructors included Vince Anderson, a winner of the “Piolet d’Or,” alpinism’s Oscar award, and Silas Rossi, whose name popped up in the magazines the last two years for major first ascents in Alaska. In short, I’ve gotten a thorough education from worldclass guides and alpinists.

B A C K YA R D A D V E N T U R E The AMGA certifies guides in three disciplines— rock, alpine and ski. Each of those disciplines has a beginning and an advanced course, to be followed by a three-day “aspirant” exam and a year or two later, a final exam (five days for rock, seven for the ski, and 10 for alpine). Alpine also includes a five-day ice-climbing course. To complete the ski and alpine, you also need the AIARE 1, 2, and 3 avy-safety courses. To progress through the courses, you must amass bunches of days guiding, too. By the time it’s done, it’s over 100 days of instruction and examination, with dozens of days (at a minimum) of work in the field. Factor in missed work, travel and lodging expenses, and it’s a $30,000 investment. This assumes the candidate is pursuing her certification in all three disciplines, which entitles her to receive that elusive pin from the IFMGA. To date, less than 100 American men and 10 American women have received it.

What is a Guide, Anyway? So I’m getting close to my pin, but what’s that really mean? What’s a person “get” when he hires an AMGA-certified mountain guide? Training, technical proficiency with ropes, the ability to climb more demanding routes (5.10+ is the exam standard)—sure, all those things, but the rope stuff and guide tools are easy enough to learn (come climb for a day and you’ll see!). The real value in working with a guide is judgment, routefinding, that sixth sense of when to push on, and general “mountain sense”. Add to those qualities, the willingness to deliver a “great day”—a safe, appropriately challenging, fruitful day in the hills. You

learn more, waste less time looking for trailheads. You pick up little skills that make you a better, more competent skier or climber on your own. In large part, you’re buying judgment, hard work, courage, experience and the knowledge this person’s been tested to a minimum standard when you hire an AMGA-certified guide. Hopefully you get the whole package, too—all the skills in a friendly, no-attitude, all-fun mountain (wo)man. If you’re not, then look elsewhere. There are plenty of friendly, respectful guides to work with—don’t compromise on somebody you don’t like and respect. Simple.

The payoff Back to the big question—why? Like I said, you need your pin to guide in Europe, which made a ton of sense for me a decade ago. Nowadays with kids and my wife working here in Boulder, it’s more of a stretch. The cash? As wages increase, sure, but I make more dough writing (believe it or not) and renting out a little farm we inherited. Most guides enjoy being in the mountains with (usually) cool people. Most of us take pride in the work, too. It seems to me the allure of the trade is the simple satisfaction of showing folks a good time in potentially dangerous and uncomfortable environments. Maybe the real reward is waking up the next day and just having the opportunity to do it again. That’s a pretty good payoff in itself. Rob Coppolillo is a contributing editor at Elevation Outdoors. Read his blog, Master of None, and follow his training on


It Takes Disciplines Here are a few highlights from the exams in each of the AMGA/IFMGA disciplines.

Rock Candidates must demonstrate onsight ability up to 5.10+ (at least 5.11 on a bolt route). Another component, the “rock rescue,” simulates assisting an injured climber below you on a route. You must raise, lower and then rappel to the climber, then get to a lower anchor and continue your rappel in less than 45 minutes.

Ski The ski rescue exam involves building a sled, packaging a patient, and lowering her to safety—again, in less than 45 minutes. There’s also a crevasse rescue scenario during which you must haul a skier out of a hole. You must ski comfortably up to 50 degrees and demo proficiency on a variety of snow and terrain.

Alpine Climb 5.10a in sticky shoes, 5.8 in mountain boots, do the rock-rescue scenario (again!), and climb water ice up to grade 4. The real trick in is managing so much different terrain—rock, glaciers, snow, and endless ridges—without wasting time or getting off route. —R.C.






What are your favorite ski memories?


inter is my favorite season. It’s when Colorado seems the most alive, filled with the brisk bustle of people hurrying from bright bars to warm beds, the mountains beam like white castles on the horizon, and all those skiers and snowboarders in blue, pink and purple coats zip by like fast flowers underneath the chairs. I’m sure it’s the short days that make the sunsets seem more vivid, and dramatic, followed by the stars exploding in the dark mountain sky. Or the cold air that makes even the briefest sight of skin seem more erotic, hidden as most of it is from November to March under sweaters, parkas and scarves. And maybe also why my memories of each winter seem so much clearer than my memories of any other time of year. Here are just a few of the special skiing recollections that keep coming back, warming me with a lasting smile.

Forever When I was growing up, my father was a volunteer ski patroller at Vail. And every weekend we would drive up I-70 to ski Prima, Highline, Blue Ox, Look Ma, Giant Steps, International and Ramshorn, skiing faster and faster every year. I got to meet President Ford there once at the top of the Eagle’s Nest Gondola. I got to steal a kiss from the first girl I ever loved on Chair Four. And I laughed until I cried when my future cousin-in-law took off all his clothes and skied through Mid-Vail. But my favorite memory was getting first tracks on Forever in the Back Bowls, floating through untracked powder as if frozen thistles were exploding everywhere.

Ambush Anyone who ever got to ride the Denver Ski Train to Winter Park on Saturdays know how sad—and ridiculous—it is that we don’t still enjoy this amenity now. Especially with I-70 so horribly overloaded every weekend. Each ride was like a rolling soda pop social with all the kids you could meet (and


by PETER KRAY all the candy you would eat), and as soon as you arrived you had your own shred posse ready to terrorize the hill. A few of my best friends were made on that train, and are best friends still. We got to be pretty good mogul skiers whacking all those Mary Jane bumps. The memory that comes back the most though, is of the blind skier who came whipping by us with his guide on Ambush. Getting schooled never gave me such a thrill.

first line until I had to ask him to chill). The terrain was fantastic, the snow was perfect, and Schmidt skied everything just like he does in the movies, with an inimitable sense of speed, grace and control. He also couldn’t have been nicer, and for the last run he and I, along with Ralph and one of the guides, skied far past the snowcat boundaries, deep into old growth glades, then down to the highway where a van brought us back to the hill.


Go Ravens!

For decades I thought Ajax was the only mountain in Aspen, bopping down Gentleman’s Ridge or the Face of Bell and finishing right at the top of the storied alpine town with beautiful people everywhere. Once, after a day skiing there with my college girlfriend, I thought I achieved the Aspen dream by making out with her in the hot tub while her parents mixed cocktails indoors. More than a decade later though, I got a bigger kick skiing Snowmass with a childhood buddy, and dropping into AMF with an instructor who had taught there for 40 years. On the way home, in the left lane through Glenwood Canyon, a guy wearing a motorcycle helmet driving a beat-up sedan passed us on the right like we were standing still. We finally caught up to him near Edwards, realized he had no front windshield, and backed way off the accelerator as he roared away down the road.

Last football season’s playoff loss to the Baltimore Ravens left a hole that hopefully this season will fill. I still ended up rooting for them in the Super Bowl however, because I don’t care much for the 49ers and the Ravens are in the AFC after all. I also kind of enjoyed not being too stressed about watching the Super Bowl, and met up with a friend at Loveland, ripping around under a perfect blue sky in search of soft snow. After passing Loveland by for quite a few years, opting for other areas up the I-70 carpark corridor, I had forgotten just how good the skiing there can be—and how relatively touristfree, with the slopes filled instead with Denverites, and Boulderites, and Evergreenies, and the chance to share some hometown friendly conversation on every chair. I can’t wait to get back there this year, because it feels like home.

Legendary Day When my wife’s parents moved to Salida, we quickly fell in love with Monarch Mountain, reveling in its open runs and the friendly nature of both the people who work on and visit that hill. Runs such as Mirkwood Bowl, High Anxiety and Curecanti are particular favorites, especially with a couple inches of fresh snow. But the day Marketing Director Greg Ralph asked if I wanted to go cat-skiing with ski legend Scot Schmidt blew that all away (even if the brother-in-law who I brought along kept poaching

Elevation Outdoors • PRINTED ON 100% RECYCLED PAPER

As for riding the chairs at Copper Mountain, Arapahoe Basin, Ski Cooper and Beaver Creek (especially while watching the adrenalized glory of the annual Birds of Prey World Cup stop), or skinning or hitching for freshies on Loveland Pass and Berthoud Pass, I’ve got plenty of memories there as well. And I plan on making a few more this year. I can’t wait to get started. Let the snow fall! Peter Kray is EO’s editor-at-large and co-founder of the Gear Institute ( His first novel, The God of Skiing, is due out soon.

kevin howdeshell/

Blast from the

One. Two. Free. This winter, there’s no reason to hurry home. When you stay two nights with us, your third is free.* Sleep more, ski more, spa more, experience more. Just 10 minutes from Winter Park, you’ll find your new old favorite.

And plan on joining us for one of these special events: December 13th - Holiday Beer Pairing Dinner December 14th - Tommelfest Nordic Festival & Holiday Gift Market December 31st - Grand County’s Best New Year’s Eve Party with the Rob Drabkin Band January 25th - Stagecoach Classic Point-to-Point Race Reservations required for most special events.


3530 County Road 83 • Tabernash, Colorado 80478 • * This offer may not be combined with any other promotion or package. The complimentary night will be applied to the lowest nightly room rate during stay and all nights must be consecutive. Blackout dates apply. Other restrictions may apply. Not valid for groups or existing reservations. Limited time offer.

One. Two. Free. This winter, there’s no reason to hurry home. When you stay two nights with us, your third is free.* Sleep more, ski more, spa more, experience more. Just 10 minutes from Winter Park, you’ll find your new old favorite.

And plan on joining us for one of these special events: December 13th - Holiday Beer Pairing Dinner December 14th - Tommelfest Nordic Festival & Holiday Gift Market December 31st - Grand County’s Best New Year’s Eve Party with the Rob Drabkin Band January 25th - Stagecoach Classic Point-to-Point Race Reservations required for most special events.


3530 County Road 83 • Tabernash, Colorado 80478 • * This offer may not be combined with any other promotion or package. The complimentary night will be applied to the lowest nightly room rate during stay and all nights must be consecutive.


dates apply. Other restrictions may apply. Not valid for groups or existing reservations. Limited time offer. Elevation Outdoors • PRINTED ON Blackout 100% RECYCLED PAPER

Elevation Outdoors November 2013  

The November Edition of Elevation Outdoors