A week of sun and warm temps crusted up the powder in the backcountry, so we thought a different type of ski tour was in order. We grabbed the light skis and made a loop around nearby Mace Peak.
The lollipop loop begins in Ashcroft and much of the trip is straightforward, following snow covered jeep roads and trails that access the local Braun Huts. One section through Cooper Creek, between Lindley Hut and Mace Saddle, requires a bit of route finding and navigating, and is the only section you might describe as a crux.
We opted to make the trip in the clockwise direction, which meant we first ascended to Lindley Hut, and then made the trip up Cooper Creek to Mace Saddle. From that high point of the loop in Pearl Basin, we pulled our skins and skied down past Green-Wilson and Tagert huts, and then followed the Montezuma Basin Road all the way back to Ashcroft.
The trip stats aren’t too intimidating: 11.5 miles, 3100 vertical feet ascended/descended. It’s a cool half-day tour through a beautiful part of the Elk Mountains. If you’re lucky (like we were) you might even see some bighorns up on the flanks of Mace Peak.