/ Skiing tips for Vail area, Colorado

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chris_B 07 Feb 2020

Hi everyone,

Myself and my wife are heading to Colorado in a couple of weeks, staying a few miles west of Vail. Does anyone have any recommendations for ski touring/must visit resorts/must do descents? We’re planning a mixture of resort days and day touring.

We’re experienced skiers and mountaineers, happy with most terrain but not interested in really steep descents. 2000m ascent days not a problem but also enjoy shorter days and using lifts!

More specifically, does anyone have a recommendations for a good guidebook? And where to buy maps?

Thanks in advance

Chris

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IainL 07 Feb 2020
In reply to chris_B:

REI Denver will have maps, guidebooks and people to talk to.

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JohnV 08 Feb 2020
In reply to chris_B:

Download the powder project app- it shows the ascent and descent lines for a bunch of different ski touring zones. Expect short runs and lots of transitioning from ski to skin and back. The app works offline. 

While you're downloading stuff, get the CAIC app for avalanche forecasts. Yr.no app has been pretty reliable for weather. Caltopo is another good mapping app which shades the relief which helps you stay out of avalanche terrain- you can adjust the app to save the tiles you look at and zoom into so you can look at them when you are offline in the backcountry.

I'm sure you're aware that the avalanche situation in Colorado is complicated- lots of windslab, depth hoar, persistent weak layers... It's a snow geeks dream. A giant storm has just rolled through, strong westerlies as usual, interstate closed. It's worth monitoring this daily on the CAIC site, and don't expect to get above the treeline- either it'll be loaded or stripped by the wind. 

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chris_B 08 Feb 2020
In reply to JohnV:

Great, thanks, some useful stuff.

Yeah, we're expecting the snow/avalanche situation to be different to what we're used to in the European Alps. The CAIC site looks good on a first glance. 

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