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Going Big

By Ann Driggers

- big adjective big-ger, big-gest, 1. large, as in size, height, width or amount, 2. of major concern, gravity, importance or the like, 3. outstanding for a specified quality. Yesterday was a big day in the San Juan's. My ski buddy Jack Brauer, along with friends Parker and Aimee, skied two big lines which added up to around 5,000 feet of vertical. The recent storm refreshed the relatively consolidated snowpack with a foot of powder, allowing us to center punch north faces in fantastic conditions. Here's how the day went down: Jack and Parker skin up on their splitboards through light wind buffed powder. The San Juan mountains above Red Mountain Pass provide the back drop.

Skinning.jpg

After two hours of climbing we receive our reward, the first descent of the day. Parker rides between the rails - mine and Aimee's ski tracks.

Parker Rides.jpg

The bottom of the face converges into a large gully, all of it serious avalanche terrain. Jack enters the half pipe. Our run ends at the road far beneath us.

Jack enters the gulch.jpg

Our second ascent of the day starts with a little creek jumping which was accomplished without mishap. Jack makes the leap:

Creek Jumping.jpg

Above tree line our goal comes into view. This massive face is almost 2,000 feet long.

For more photos from this trip and others check out Jack Brauer's website.

Skiing.jpg

Jack continues the shredding.

Jack shreds the face.jpg

And keeps on going.

And Keeps on Going.jpg

Upon reaching the base of the face the valley curves around for even more descending and it was a couple of miles before we hit the road. After almost 8 hours and with barely a break, we reach the car exhausted but exhilarated, a combination which is achieved after a big day.

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