After a very dry start to the 2013/14 winter in Lake Tahoe, it was time for Le Grand Adventure Tours team to pack up the gear and head to higher ground. It was an easy decision, as Colorado had been in a great snow cycle for weeks and the temps were to stay cold over the next seven days. Time for a Colorado road trip to find powder! Hank DeVre’, Jeff McKittrick, and I hopped in the car and at 5am and we were off to the land of the 14’ers. It was a quick 15hr drive as the views during the drive make up for the long hours behind the wheel and the never-ending high plain deserts. Our first stop would be Vail, Co to enjoy some of the sweet nectar known as Colorado Powder. We just missed the last storm but there were still plenty of secret stashes to explore and find those magical powder turns we had not truly experienced this year. California was in a state of drought and the temps were in the mid 50’s for 2 weeks. It’s been a tough winter for the Tahoe community and many locals have fled to other snow filled locations so they could ski the white gold. We arrived that night just after sunset and we were treated to a magical full moon rising over the CO Mountains and high deserts of the west.
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Our 1st day on the hill rewarded us with blue bird skies, excellent views, new and old friends, great skiing and a classic back country run at sunset finished off by cold beverages at a local saloon in Minturn. We got to meet our old friend Drew Rouse, pro skier and part owner of Grace Skis on the mountain and spent the next couple of days ripping the local spots with our buddy. Our 2nd day was suppose to be in the high country of Colorado somewhere on Vail pass or Loveland pass, but due to the extreme avalanche danger and considerable snow conditions we enjoyed a day of driving in Colorado to checkout some of the incredible views and terrain in this beautiful state. We ended the day with a cold European beer and local grilled sausages of Buffalo, Elk, and Lamb in a unique little bar restaurant in Frisco, Co. Prost to a great day of learning the local history and making the best of what we had. The next couple of days in Vail were like the 1st day we had and it was nice to make as many runs as we did. All in all it was a great time and we even got to watch the Denver Broncos win the AFC championship! Go Broncos!
Steamboat Springs, Co
It was a cold start to the morning in Vail as we woke up to 9 degrees in the valley. The temperatures didn’t bother us, as we knew that just 1.5hrs north was the promised land of cold blower champagne powder in a little place called Steamboat Springs. I use to live in Steamboat (93-2000’) and over those years I can tell you one thing, we skied a lot of very deep blower days. The winter of 95/96’ when the month of January unleashed one of the most amazing snowstorms that any of us will ever experience. We received over 22 feet of snow that that month and it will live forever in the memories of those that got to experience it! It’s why we keep coming back every year to experience this amazing place.
Upon our arrival the warm hearts of the locals and many old friends greeted us. We had 3 days of skiing ahead of us and were very fortunate to be staying the Grand Hotel right at the base of the mountain. The mountain offered incredible views, beautiful weather, great-untracked snow and skiing with the local boys (Dan Gilchrist and Andy Knouse). We went to an old spot off the mountain and were treated with fresh snow for 2,000’ vertical feet and an amazing sunset as we toured back to the mountain. No ski day is complete without stopping by the local watering hole to share a story and reminisce about the day. Insert sunset shot and snow crystals, skiing shot
Our next day was going to be a long one as we had scoped out a bunch of new lines the day before and knew we would be out there for at least 8hrs. The excitement was high, the weather was perfect and we had cold snow that had formed an amazing surface hoar that was mesmerizing to look at. The crystals were so delicate and defined that the sound it made when you skied though it was incredible, a truly unique ski experience for all of us. The day did not disappoint, as we were able to ski a lot of our lines we had seen the previous day. With great weather and good snow conditions, Hank was capturing all the great moments on film as only he could. It was great to show our Tahoe friends this hidden gem and a place that was full of deep powder memories. If you have not skied Steamboat I would highly recommend signing up for one of our trips as it will be a once in a lifetime experience of skiing deep champagne powder! Insert photo of Hank shooting, boulder field, sunrise pic
That night we enjoyed one of the best meals we have all had in recent memory. Our good friend and local chef, Jason Salisbury at Mahogany Ridge Brewery created some of the most amazing appetizers and main courses that we had tasted in a long time. The restaurant has a lot of history and also brews beer on site, which is always a nice treat. Needless to say we left overly satisfied, full of great food, taste buds in delight and craving more! We could not stop talking about the experience for the rest of the trip and still think about our time there. This will be a spot on all of our trips to Steamboat for sure. We all had a couple great days of skiing at both resorts, planning new trips to Colorado, and seeing old friends. With rumors of a snowstorm and big swell about to hit California, it was time to drive home to Lake Tahoe. Next stop, the Mavericks surf contest on Friday January 25th and a fun filled weekend in Santa Cruz checking out new spots for trips. Check back soon for an update on our Mavericks day and future surf and mountain bike trips to Santa Cruz. Insert Photos of drive, steamboat crew, vail crew, and other stuff.