Dave Landers

Dave’s thoughts (such as they are)

XC Ski Overnight Outing

Trip MapI just got back from a fun overnight with my son Paul and his friend Nick. Around Christmas, Paul decided we needed to do a “Cross Country Ski / Backpacking” overnighter. We had planned to go last week while I was on vacation, but we decided to wait due to our colds. So I took off a couple extra days from work and we headed out yesterday.

We decided to hit the Sourdough trail – an area we are familiar with (at least in the Summer). The forecast called for high winds along the Front Range, and snow in the mountains. I figured, due to the area where we were going, that we’d have one, both, or neither :).

We get to the trailhead, and it snowing lightly and somewhat windy. By “somewhat windy”, I mean that my estimate at the time was 60 MPH or more. That was confirmed today as I checked the Niwot Ridge data (a set of CU weather research stations). Their Saddle Site is the closet to where we camped (about 1.5 miles south), and it showed average wind speeds at around 50 MPH, and gusts in the 60-70 MPH range. One of their other stations registered a peak gust of around 106 MPH that morning.
Fortunately, once we were off the road and in the forrest, we didn’t experience much of the wind.

For the first mile of the trail, the snow was pretty poor – we walked about as much as we skied But south of the Beaver Bog TH the snow was pretty decent.

We made it to the junction of the Wapiti/Baptiste Ski Trails, (about another mile) and decided the location would be a good spot to make camp – the area seemed to be reasonably sheltered from the wind, and there was a good place where we could camp without worrying about snags or widow makers.

We set up camp and built a fire, intending to do a bit more skiing (without the backpacks) but it didn’t happen. Just a quiet afternoon and evening around the fire.

The trip back this morning was nice – more downhill than the trip in. Downhill is obviously easier, but for us novice cross-country skiers carrying backpacks it also proved to be occasionally exciting. But no one was injured, and we had a great time.

I hope to do things like this more often, it was fun.

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