As a Colorado backcountry skier, the mere prospect of spring brings excitement. But I found myself particularly psyched for the upcoming season after poring over a copy of the new guidebook, Climbing and Skiing Colorado’s Mountains – 50 Select Ski Descents.
This book is long overdue. It’s co-authored by Ben Conners and Brian Miller, two Colorado ski mountaineers who have compiled years of first-hand experience into this new addition to the Falcon Guide series. It’s complete with full-page, color maps and detailed trip information for fifty backcountry ski and ski mountaineering routes in the state. Awesome photos accompany each route and should keep even a non-skier thumbing through the pages.
While great photography and accurate beta are requirements for any good guidebook these days, what impressed me most was the huge variety of routes described. A quick glance at the table of contents shows an impressive mix of backcountry ski lines and ski mountaineering objectives, from the straightforward and simple to the complex. And unlike some Colorado peak guides, the book doesn’t obsess over the highest summits in the state. It features 13ers and 12ers that aren’t as widely known or talked about as some of the their taller siblings, but that are every bit as worthy for skiing.
It really has something for everyone. A few examples:
- For those seeking fun and straightforward backcountry objectives, there’s info on skiing routes such as the Geisslers on Independence Pass, the East Ridge of Quandary, Crystal Peak, or the Box Creek Cirque on Mount Elbert.
- Backcountry skiers with some experience under their belts, or those looking to expand into the realm of ski mountaineering can get the low-down on many of the classics like Grizzly, Ice Mountain, La Plata, and Sneffels.
- If you’re on the other end of the experience scale, you can glean some valuable beta on committing ski lines on El Diente, the San Joaquin Couloir, or the Hourglass Couloir on Little Bear.
- Regarding the Elks, there’s essential info on some of our area favorites like Mount Sopris, the East Face of Snowmass, Castle & Conundrum, North Maroon, and Cathedral Peak. The details provided on these six peaks is reason alone to have this book.
Speaking personally, we’re not always looking to send big lines, but are often searching for a little spark of an idea and a bit of beta to send us on our way. As we looked it over, we immediately earmarked a few routes that we’ve long wished to ski. The North Face of Potosi Peak, the Dead Dog Couloir on Torreys Peak, the Silver Couloir of Buffalo Mountain, Mt. Arkansas, and Mt. Aetna have all been added to our to-do list.
Whether you’re looking for new ideas, or need beta on something you’ve been wanting to ski for years, this book deserves a place in the backpack, glove box, or on the coffee table of Colorado backcountry skiers and ski mountaineers. Pick up a copy and thumb through it, and I can guarantee you will find yourself with a whole new list of goals for this spring, and many springs to come.
Click here to order Climbing and Skiing Colorado Mountains – 50 Select Ski Descents today!