Colorado to California – Backcountry Skiing

My last blog post was the windy flight to Salt Lake City for a meeting. Well, after the meeting I had a choice. Fly home, or fly on to Colorado to meet some friends in Vail, Colorado for skiing. I decided to fly on.

The weather wasn’t that great, lots of clouds with tops around 14,000 feet. I don’t have de-icing on my plane so I have to be very careful in the clouds. There was only scattered snow showers around, so I knew there wasn’t a lot of moisture in the clouds. I decided I would be OK for a short while in the clouds, but wouldn’t put my self in a situation where I would be in them for a long time.

What I did was fly VFR clear of clouds and found a way up through them and flew above the clouds to Vail. The clouds got higher, and I ended up at 15,500 feet to stay on top of them. I called up and got on an IFR flight plan for the descent into Vail Eagle airport. That was fun, though a bit intense – too intense to get any photos. The GPS approach starts about 14,000 feet, and you wind your way between mountains on your way down, and in my case in and out of clouds and through some light snow showers. For me, very thrilling! There was only a fine dusting of ice on my wings, so no problem there.

I had a great backcountry day at Vail Pass while I waited for my friends to show up, then a great day skiing at Vail. I flew out before weather came in, which also meant I missed some good powder skiing. But I flew home to Betsy, and we had a great backcountry ski day by skiing off the backside of June Mountain (and up through the hourglass to San Joaquin Mountain.)

Interesting that the photos from Colorado and California are similar:

Colorado Backcountry, Vail Pass
Colorado Backcountry, Vail Pass
Fresh Colorado tracks
Fresh Colorado tracks
California Backcountry (San Joaquin Mountain)
California Backcountry (San Joaquin Mountain)
California fresh tracks
California fresh tracks
Betsy on top.  Ritter Range in distance.
Betsy on top. Ritter Range in distance.

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