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Wyoming 02/03 - Page 11

 

01-06-03 This is it- the backcountry access gate to the Minturn Mile. Ed has skiied it every year for the past 10 years. It's different every time. Sometimes untracked light powder- and sometimes breakable crust death cookies. Do not access this gate if you are not a strong technical skier in excellent physical condition. And- you realize that Vail Ski Area has nothing to do with this backcountry trail. Traversing will not get you back to the ski area, you must ski what's there.  You are on your own. Groups will come to rescue you, but it will take a long time for them to arrive and will be expensive. You will be out in the dark for sure. If you and your partner(s) are qualified- go to the top of lift #3 and start the run at 3pm (#3 at 3). To find the gate- ski down "Lost Boy" Trail, staying hard left till you spot the gate. Bring some food, water, 2 way radios, cell phone (service is ok at best with Verizon), shell, shovel and any other items you deem necessary for travel in avalanche terrain. We had a cautious expert skier with us, and it took 2 hrs and 15 min to descend in good snow/light conditions. I expected it to take 1 hr and 30 mins. Weaker groups should start earlier.

 

 

01-06-03 The start. 4 inches of windblown on a firm base. Very nice (if you are a strong skier).

 

 

01-06-03 Jen takes a break after the initial steep hill. That's part of the hill up in the background. Jen was still building strength after knee surgery last Fall 2002.

 

 

01-06-03 More good stuff. Pick your own course. The trail is skiied quite a bit. We encountered about 15 other skiers/boarders. We were faster than 2 groups that had weak skiers. There was a mom at the bottom of the trail looking for her overdue family. We had seen them at the start and they were slow.

 

 

01-06-03 Getting towards the end the sun was low, even at this elevation.

 

 

01-06-03 We're out. Down on the road, ready for an easy half mile walk to the Minturn Saloon. First we call Bob on the cell to let him know all is well (we also had Motorola radios as backup to the cells). Then it's off to the Saloon for the best Margaritas in the world (or so it seems after the backcountry run). Everybody is psyched !!!!

 

 

01-06-03 After the Minturn Saloon head across the street to the Minturn Country Club for grille your own eats. Forget about the Country Club part- There is no friggin golf course. Just...

 

 

Excellent Meats !!!!

 

 

01-06-03 Bob impresses us with his cooking skills. His Texas toast was definitely toasted.

 

 

01-06-03 The gang after a few toasts of their own. A great last day of skiing out west.

 

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