Peaks & Valleys

east snowmass creek

Making our way up the East Snowmass Creek Valley.

[Christy here] It’s been a different kind of winter this year. Not bad, just different.

The little snow we’ve received so far has left us with a pretty unstable snow pack, and not-so-desirable ski lines in the backcountry. We haven’t skied any of the peaks were thinking about earlier this fall, have yet to ski with some of our closest ski buddies, and definitely don’t have our powder legs under us. However, there are good things hidden in times like these! It just takes getting out the map and looking between the peaks.

Lately we’ve found solace in our light Dynafit touring set up. With skis this light, and boots this comfy (a.k.a. the Elf Shoe), you can really cover some ground and with the snow becoming a bit more stable, we’ve started making good use of our time in the valleys surrounding Aspen.

east snowmass creek

Anda climbs with the West Willow Ridge behind.

On Saturday, Anda and I completed a ski tour that connected the East Snowmass Creek valley to the Maroon Creek valley via Willow Lake. We chose to start in Snowmass and shuttled a car in the morning up to T-Lazy 7 Ranch, where we would come out. Starting at the Snowmass Ditch Trail, we followed it to the East Snowmass Valley and were on our way.

This magnificant, 17-mile loop was great training in prep for this weekend’s annual Elk Mountain Grand Traverse, the 40-mile backcountry ski race from Crested Butte to Aspen. After taking last year off, Ted and I are back as Team “Mahon Power.” The course this year is seeing some changes due to the lack of snow so it should be an interesting night out. Check out details here if you’re interested-

And here are some more photos from the day.

willow - east snowmass pass

Atop the pass between the East Snowmass and Willow Creek valleys.

Willow Basin willow lake

Anda skis down from the pass.

willow lake anda smalls

Skiing over to Willow Lake, not a bad place for a picnic.

buckskin benchmark

Buckskin Benchmark

willow peak

Willow Peak looking pretty bare.

A beautiful hidden valley that we named Očijeva Dolina (Slovenian for Ochi’s Valley, after Anda’s dad).

Dry conditions on the ridge between Willow Lake and Maroon Lake.

Well, almost dry.

Anda skis down into Ochi’s Valley.

Pyramid Peak amphitheatre

Taking a moment, with Pyramid Peak’s North Amphitheater behind.

maroon lake

It’s pretty thin through the chutes down to Maroon Lake.

And out.

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4 comments to Peaks & Valleys

  • You folks have some great days out, looks awesome. Beautiful weather.

    That looks like the view from Buckskin 3rd from the bottom. I only saw it for the first time last October, and honestly… it doesn’t look THAT different. Crazy winter.

  • Anda

    What a fun outing Christy!! Many more to come, I’m sure : )

  • Fry

    What a FUN day for your two! Good luck this weekend! I’ll be out richmond ridge cheering you on:) Go Team Mahon Power!!! xoxo

  • ted

    Wish I could’ve joined.

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