Until the week between Christmas and New Years, I hadn’t skied at a ski area in over 10 years. I much rather ski in the backcountry and have been doing a trip to the Eiseman Hut every winter for the last several years. My brother was here from Ohio. He’s 6 years older than me and I hiked the majority of the fourteeners with him. He was the one that I did most of my backcountry activities with when I was young and we did backcountry trips as long as 2 weeks.
When he was here we did one day of cross-country skiing near Montezuma and skied part of the Montezuma’s Revenge course. He also wanted to take his kids skiing at a ski area. Our other brother that lives here also went but he was never into the backcountry trips.
Here are some of the reasons I hadn’t skied at a ski area for over 10 years.
- Not only are there already tracks, but most of the time the snow is totally packed down. When we’re skiing in the backcountry we try to avoid going down where there are already tracks.
- There are lots of people. I don’t really hate people but I like to be with at most a small group when I’m out in the backcountry. I like to enjoy the mountain beauty and to hear the sounds of nature. In fact the reason I like hut trips is more about being away from it all than it is about the great skiing.
- Standing in line. We went to Loveland which is one of the smaller ski areas so the crowds weren’t too bad but there still were lines.
- People smoking. There seemed to considerably fewer smokers on the slopes than there were 10+ years ago but there were still some. Nothing like a good lung full of smoke to ruin the outdoor experience. If you smoke that’s your right but please be considerate of those of us that like fresh mountain air.
- Getting cold on the lifts. I’m not just talking about feeling cold because I’m just sitting there up at the tree tops with the wind blowing on a cold day. It’s also letting tired muscles get cold and then expect them to work when you get off the lift.