April means it's time to get out in the backcountry and take advantage of that warmer days and a typically stabilized snowpack. This past Saturday was no exception, the weather called for bluebird skies, warm temps and a little bit of wind. To top things off, according to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center avalanche danger was low on all aspects and all elevations across the entire state of Colorado!
Knowing we would be rocking out hard to American Pinup at the 7th Circle Music Collective the night before, Nic and I decided we would sleep in and have ourselves a lazy day at Berthoud Pass just to get up into the mountains.
Our plan was to get some short quick laps at Berthoud and call it a day but on the drive up we changed our minds and set our sights on Moonlight Bowl west of the pass. Feeling a little groggy from the night before, we knew that we only had one ascent in us that day and that we might as well make it count. We also were itching to get back there since we planned to in February but after seeing recent slides in the area then we pulled the plug on Moonlight.
Like I had already mentioned, we were a bit groggy and arrived at the parking lot around 1 pm. We started making our ascent at 1:20 pm. I initially started with my splitboard in skin mode until the final steeper ascent. I stopped to switch to snowboard mode and through my board on my pack as Nic took a quick nap. He was on skis and made short work of the final ascent in skin mode.
On the ascent we were scouting the zone and decided to drop right next to the star of the cornice that ran most of the length of Moonlight Bowl as this appeared to be the best snow. The our goal was to make the quick hike up the ridge and following it to what we think was Y Chute before eventually making our way back down to HWY 40.
Once we got up there we saw that it was a fairly long but easy stroll a little further back to get some more turns in before dropping into the bowl so we made our way out. Not realizing we wouldn't have any landmarks to find our ideal drop we started making our way to where we thought was our goal. Little did we know we were heading way lookers left of where we had intended. We ended up on the wrong end up the cornice and had to back track to our target.
When we got to the end of the cornice, we quickly came to realize that the snow was not the soft corn we were expecting. The wind crusted everything over and we feared it was forming a slab. At this point in the day the wind was really picking up to the point that walking was a bit of a challenge so we wanted to get out of there as quickly as possible. We adjust our line slightly to make it as safe as possible and dropped in one at a time.
The snow itself was a bit crusty but still a lot of fun. Even better was Y Chute down below which did have fun soft snow you could really rip into. We followed the drainage track out back to the road, hitched a ride to the top of the pass and were back at the truck at 4:40. Not too shabby for a lazy Saturday afternoon in April!