Still training for the Power of Four skimountaineering race coming up in just over a months time, I decided to combine a tour of two of the four mountains in the race with a visit to the X Games. I parked at Tiehack, the east lift of Buttermilk down which we will come during the race, leaving at 7 a.m. and in a nippy 4F. From there I practiced my skating with big skis and hiking-in-ski-boots-technique for a quarter mile over to Highlands. My theory, by the way, for right now at least, is the heavier equipment I use the fitter I will become, though during the race I will need much lighter gear. This I have yet to acquire, most likely through the beg, borrow or borrow method, though I am willing to entertain sponsorship should anyone be interested..... my big selling point is that I will be going so slow and therefore on the course longer than most anyone else and therefore your company/product will receive much greater exposure. Please leave a comment below with your contact information. Thanks.
The climb up Highlands is a long one though cut short on this day due to the bowl being closed. Although it would open a few hours later I didn't have time to wait so I did a few laps on the Temerity lift, finding plenty of knee deep powder stashes in the trees, before getting back on task and tour.
From the summit of Buttermilk the view up the Maroon Creek Valley is always spectacular. Highlands seems a long way from here too - no doubt it will feel as far as the moon during the race. A ski down to West Buttermilk, back up again, lunch at the Cliffhouse and finally down to the seething mass of humanity otherwise known as the X Games. I later read that Saturday was the day of highest attendance - 45,000 people showed up though not all in the afternoon. Still there were pleny of peeps there:
There were huge lines to get into stand at the edge of the superpipe but I could still see them fly up and over the edge - and watch on the big screen TV.
The big air jumps were more than impressive:
If I ever went off of one of these things (undoubtedly by mistake) there would surely be a brown streak in the snow behind me.
Yeah, that's me gapering ^^^
After the culmination of the Men's Skiing Superpipe Finals where local Torin Yater-Wallace took bronze with much delight from the crowd, I headed back to Tiehack. Or so I had planned. X Games security would not let me travel on foot, uphill, cross hill or even down hill without getting on a bus. Sooo not my scene. I hopped a fence, hid behind a few snowmobile trailers and then ran, hunkered down, into the trees to find the Owl Creek X-Country trail.
Ahhhh. Much quieter and more peaceful here.
Not quite the right equipment but I made it back eventually.
A great way to combine 6 hours of skinning and climbing with X Games gapering. And as always a good reason to go straight to the bar for a few brewskis where I have to say I saw more of the X Games on TV than in person.