UPDATE: If you're looking for more current trip reports, current avi conditions, other backcountry ski areas, or backcountry ski weather, please check out my new website (which is under construction) at www.PowProject.com
This past weekend I had a great time backcountry skiing at Hidden Valley, in Rocky Mountain National Park. Hidden valley has actually been a favorite and regular spot for me since I got my first AT setup this fall. Being only an intermediate skier, and still pretty scared of avalanches, Hidden Valley offers easy access to great backcountry turns, shelter from wind, low avi danger, and easy route finding.
I first heard of hidden valley from my friend and lab-mate, Mike R., who is a phenomenal skier. I did a little online research, and quickly found an interesting history of hidden valley in the book "Powder Ghost Towns: Epic Backcountry Runs in Colorado's Lost Ski Resorts" which is available online through google books and offers a wealth of beta on the route. Hidden valley was a full on ski resort until they pulled the lifts out in '92, which explains why there are such great open tree runs in the middle of a national park. A historic ski map of the area can be found on BOC's website.
I've found my favorite runs to be laps on "Aspen" on windy days and in the main bowls above trail-ridge on nicer days. Hidden valley can get crowded on weekends, so i like to get an early start, and sometimes we're already done with a couple of good laps by lunch time!
Of course, always be safe when traveling in avalanche terrain:
- Pack the appropriate gear
- Check the weather
- Check the snow conditions
- Use your head.