Shrine Mountain, Vail Pass almost ready for prime time
December 1, 2007 —
People were pouring onto Vail and Beaver Creek mountain almost as fast as the snowflakes this morning when I heard the World Cup super-G had been postponed to Monday at 10 a.m., but I decided to blow against the wind this time, avoid the rush, and head into the high country.
Cost: $6 per day, $40 for season pass
With no further obligations at RealVail race headquarters I felt the kind of freedom one can only feel when an event has been cancelled and suddenly, in a moment, the dayís calendar becomes completely clear. I was still in the Beaver Creek parking lot when I looked up at the stormclouds, which seemed to be devouring Vail Pass, and I thought to myself: ďThatís where I want to go.Ē
So into the storm we went: my wife, Renee, brought snowshoes, and I gathered up the skins and skis to get my first taste of backcountry this season.
We discovered a shallow covering over Shrine Passí ski terrain. Snowmobilers are already out en force, blazing trails up to the ski terrain which awaits at higher elevations. Inspired to smell fresh pine rather than eu de tailpipe, we skinned off track and let my 8-month-old dog, Bode, tear tracks through his first-ever powder day.
I managed a few turns, but also managed to clip a few rocks. The beta on this baby is as follows: bring the rock skis and a relaxed attitude, Shrine Pass isnít quite ready for prime time. But just to be there was the thing, and it felt good to be up in the heart of the storm.
And tomorrow itís back to Beaver Creek for the giant slalom Ö Iíll be on KZYR, 97.7, starting around 8:45 a.m., prepping listeners for the big race.
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