Due to travel for work, I've been lucky the last couple of years to finish my ski season with a weekend of skiing in Colorado. This year was again the same, as I was able to ski in Colorado on April 12th and 13th.
The debate each year is exactly which places to ski at. Two years ago, I skied Copper for 2 days. Last year, I picked a day each at Breckenridge and Loveland. This year, I thought about skiing A-Basin, as I've never been there. But some possible low vis conditions shied me away from there. So I diverted and wound up skiing Copper on Friday the 12th, and Loveland on Saturday the 13th... and had a ball at both places.
I was lucky that Wednesday night into Thursday a good storm came through and dumped 13" on Copper, and 11" on Loveland, making for nice conditions for the weekend. So I headed up to Copper early on Friday, to get my lift ticket and boot up. I like being early and making some groomer tracks with fresh groom and empty slopes, and Copper didn't disappoint.
I paid for the good parking
First lift up on American Flyer - the groomers were soft, smooth, and fast
PugSki sticker shot on American Flyer
Early I headed up to the top, to check out the conditions up high. I was the first person on the Rendezvous lift. It only served green terrain, since (unfortunately) Copper Bowl was already closed for the season. It was a good place to test out the off-piste though and see how it was.
Riding solo on Rendezvous lift
The whole area was mine
After a run back to the bottom I took the new American Eagle Chondola ... kind of weird riding a chair behind a cabin. This is the second Chondola I've ridden, alongside Sunday River earlier this season. The groomers continued to be great, and crowds non-existent.
The American Eagle Chondola
View down to the village
After a couple of laps there and off Timberline, I went back up high to Sierra and the runs underneath looked nice, so I skied Revenge. It's a tough run for me, but the snow was really nice. Some hidden bumps threw me a few times, and it veered from "good" into "good for me" by the time I got back to the lift.
View from the top of Revenge
Wide view from the top of Revenge
The snow was soft, and variable deepness depending on the surface underneath
Later I met up with @tball and his nephew for a few runs off Timberline. A couple of usually groomed runs were left ungroomed and were in nice shape with some crud and soft bumps. And of course we skied the blue bump run Little Burn - I'd have been disappointed to meet up with tball and not ski some bumps!
@tball and nephew
@tball about to zipperline
@tball mid-zipperline (nice form... and fast!)
Later I went off to ski some of the runs over near American Eagle and Superbee, and ended my day with some nice views of the chutes across from Copper. They definitely looked wider than when I had been to Copper a couple of seasons ago.
View down, I think, Andy's Encore
Last year, I had to park down the valley at Loveland, as I arrived a bit late. So on Saturday I headed over early to Loveland, getting there around 8:00, and got into the main lot when it was about half full. Loveland parking fullness is no indicator of how busy the mountain is, so it didn't worry me that it was filling up by the time I bought my lift ticket and got booted up.
The storm earlier in the week had things looking good, and I was excited to check out some of the bowls and the south and north chutes that I enjoyed before. I thought about going up lift 9 to the top, but that would potentially be difficult terrain for me, the visibility was pretty variable, and I was skiing solo. So I opted to stay a bit lower.
Lift 2 on to lift 6 for my first runs... and a sticker shot
Looking over at Ptarmigan from Lift 6
The off-piste was mostly nice, though a little lumpy or crunchy in spots.... and it snowed some and there was some sun - sometimes both at once!
Sun and snow off Ptarmigan
I had to try to get a @nay shot... pretend these are Fatypus skis
The view of lift 9... this was a spot of good visibility and almost had me heading up
After some fun runs off the bowls and the south chutes, I headed over to lift 4 for a few runs. I skied some trees and bumps and bowls... the bumps were actually pretty crappy and scraped off, but it was nice to work on for me, as I'm still learning bumps. Western bumps - and Loveland in particular it seems - are so widely spaced! Makes it a bit easier to practice.
The view down Splashdown to the top of the I-70 tunnel
Heading down North Chutes - the South Chutes are facing the camera, with lift 9 running through the valley
Looking up South Chutes (I think). These are blue, but pretty steep (they'd honestly be double black at my local hill) - just right for a bit of challenge for me.
View from the top of Ptarmigan later in the day
Two of the lifts at Loveland cross... always looks strange to me
After a lunch break, I headed over to the lift 1 side for a few runs. I ran into @jmeb in the Excelerator bumps - and it's always cool to put a real person with a handle on here. Maybe next time we can get a few turns in together.
Lift 1 had some nice terrain, and steeper, and I hit some of the bumps. Nix Nox was really fun last year, but it wasn't nearly as soft this year, and the bumps were deeper (though the pic doesn't do it justice - they were pretty big).
Nix Nox bumps
Afternoon heavier snow
I finished the day with a couple of runs through the Dealer's Choice trees. I've just started skiing trees this season, so this was a lot of fun as they were open and gentle enough glades.
Dealer's Choice trees
Dealer's Choice trees in a bit more sun after the snow stopped
And that's (almost certainly) the end of my season... great place to end it on and I hope to get back next year!
Colorado April is still winter in Colorado!
As long as I can remember I've tried to get a week of skiing locally in April before the big resorts close. It's rare the snow isn't good, and often it's outright fantastic like this year. It's really cool to have these huge resorts pretty much all to yourself.
I've got a few more white pictures to add to the collection.
Here's Spaulding Bowl at Copper Mountain the day I had the pleasure of skiing with @dbostedo:
And, a couple of days later (April 14th) it was still snowing. Here's my son in a snow globe on the Little Burn blue bump run at Copper:
It's remarkable how it goes from high-season and crowded at the Colorado resorts the last week of March to low-season and deserted starting April 1st.