Tag Archives: Paulie’s Plunge

Skiing Triple Digits: Days 6-9, Backcountry Beginnings

Day 8-crestonDays 6-9 of the triple digits skiing quest involved two backcountry days, one slack-country day, and one resort opening. These have been my best ski days so far…for the friends I shared them with and, of course, for the fresh Thanksgiving powder.

Day 6: Skin up Paulie’s Plunge, ski down Cinch at Beaver Creek

I met up with my gal-pal Tarrie for this evening skin up to Beaver Creek from the Eagle-Vail trail, and Kai came along for some off-leash adventure. We skied from the top of Paulie’s down Cinch  into Beaver Creek village on some really rough track pack and then had drinks at the Coyote Cafe. Great vibe–World Cup crowd all packed in, gearing up for Raptor and Birds of Prey.

Day 7: Opening Day at Beaver Creek

I took a writing break to ski for a few hours with Antony at Beaver Creek for the season opener. Early-season-excellent snow in Rose Bowl, blue skies, light-fluffy stuff up high. Yee-haw! Happy day.

Day 8: Thanksgiving skiing on Uneva Peak (12,552)

Set off early on Thanksgiving morning with Bill, Kelly, and Kreston (above) to ski Uneva Peak. We parked at Vail Pass (10,662) and started skinning up the nearest trailhead on the north/east side of I-70. Kelly and Kreston brought along two dogs, including Otto, a gorgeous Malamute who belongs to a friend of theirs:

Day 8-otto

We skinned up to the summit of Uneva and checked things out. We decided to ski the east-facing bowl down to the lake, which was surprisingly good skiing! Kelly’s on her way down here:

Day 8-uneeva lines

We then skinned all the way back up to the summit ridge in order to ski back to our car, but because we felt some settling as we were skinning back up the bowl we skied down, we quickly changed our course and chose instead to ascend up a steep ridge, slick with sugary snow and icy rocks. We then had a little Thanksgiving celebration with sausage, cheese, crackers, and champagne. I like how this crew gets after it and knows how to celebrate, too!

Day 9: Resolution Mountain (11,911) and the Fowler-Hilliard Hut

The next morning, Tammy, Kai, and I set off from the freezing-cold Pando parking area (9,200) near Camp Hale in order to visit my friends from Boulder who had rented out the Fowler-Hilliard hut for a Thanksgiving hut trip. The adventure began pretty quickly out of the parking lot, as we needed to find a good place to cross the river in order to avoid adding an extra mile to our trip. We decided to trust a solid-looking beaver dam, but the crossing was delicate, and Kai (poor dog) was shaking as he followed us across. After a physical ascent, we stood on the summit of Resolution Mountain, Tammy here enjoying the blue skies:

Day 9-tammy on resolution

We took in the gorgeous mountain views and looked down on the hut where my friends were staying:

Day 9-view from resolution

Before we went over to the hut, however, we skied down a soft, buttery meadow until we hit treeline, and then we put back on our skins and hiked over to the hut. Some of the hut-trippers were on their way out for an exploratory hike:

day 9-hut hikers

Luckily, when we arrived, my friend Cathy was just heating up Thanksgiving dinner leftovers, so Tammy and I got to share in the lunchtime feast!

With full bellies, we hung out on the porch of the hut with everyone…

Day 9-hut hanging out

…until it was finally time for us to hike back up to the ridge and then rip off our skins for a full-on rodeo ski back out to the car. The beaver dam was much more tenuous this time, as the sun had softened the snow and ice–I think I was shaking as much as Kai was when I delicately slid my skis across. So…that’s it for Days 6-9!

Want more backstory? Read about the quest here:
Skiing Triple Digits: The Quest

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Skiing Triple Digits: Opening Days, 1-5

My skiing triple digits quest started on November 17, 2013, a week before Vail Mountain opened for the season. We had a big dump of snow, so the quest began:

Day 1: Skin and Ski Vail Mountain
I met my friend Tammy early in the morning at one of our secret parking places in Vail, and we suited up. In our lightweight-Dynafit-geek-race gear, we set off from Lionshead to skin up to Eagle’s Nest on Vail Mountain. We had to weave in and out of snow-making machines, and it was really crappy weather. Hence, no photographs. The ski down from Eagle’s Nest was also pretty crappy: breakable, variable snow. But that was it: Day 1. Gear sorted, legs warmed up.

Day 2:Downhill Ski Vail Mountain Opening Day

Day 2

On Day 2, I joined the masses and skied opening day at Vail Mountain. Low visibility, icy groomers, and not much snow. But…hey, sliding down snow slopes is fun, or I wouldn’t be doing it. I rode the gondola to warm up…check out the weeds!

Day 3: Double Duty, Backcountry Skin up Paulie’s and Downhill Ski at Vail

Day 3-1

Paulie’s Plunge is one of my favorite trails in the area. In the summer, it’s a nice mountain biking trail, and in the winter, it’s possible to skin up it and pop out on Cinch, a groomed ski trail at Beaver Creek. Paulie’s has become one of my comfort, go-to trails. It’s super quiet and beautiful, a forest full of aspen and pine trees.

Day 3-Tammy

Backcountry gal pal Tammy, above, joined me along the skin up Paulie’s, along with my dog Kai, a boxer-lab mix. Once we reached Cinch, we realized that things up high had been groomed, so we continued to the top of Beaver Creek’s Centennial lift and skied by ourselves down wide-open groomed trails, Kai running behind. Beaver Creek wasn’t open yet, so we had the mountain to ourselves.

Day 3 Blue Sky Vail

After a quick hot chocolate in Beaver Creek village, Tammy and I drove over to Vail and skied groomers for the afternoon. Superstar Vail blue-sky day.

Day 4: Downhill Skiing Vail Mountain w/ my man Antony

On Triple Digits Day 4, Antony and I went out for some downhill ski action on Vail Mountain.

Day 4 w Antony McCoy

Antony tore his ACL in March, and this day was his first back on skis. We skied some easy groomers, and he carved his first turns on that new, bomber cadaver tendon of his.

Day 5: Downhill Skiing Vail Mountain

On Day 5, I got up early and did all of my writing work for the day so that I could take off and ski in the late afternoon. It was basically a groomers day…no recent snow, dirt showing on the opposite side of the valley. I managed to cruise around on all of the Chair 2 groomers and came home from dinner, feeling happy, a bit more balanced with five days in my ski boots!

Day 5 Vail

Want more backstory? Read about the quest here:
Skiing Triple Digits: The Quest