Sleep In The Dirt

Apparel Testing and Spring Skiing in North Routt County

Essays From the Field

North Routt County, CO is a pretty fantastic place. So, when given the opportunity to ski up North for work, undoubtedly you take it. We pile into a couple of trucks with our gear and set our sights on goal #1 – obtain delicious sandwiches. The Clark Store abides. Next stop, the Cabins at Historic Columbine for gear shakedown and pre-skin prep. It’s springtime and conditions can be variable, so we load up on avalanche gear, layers, snacks and tasty beverages. The skin begins!

A mix of clouds and sun makes for a comfortable hike. We are testing out some new apparel and so far it’s footing the bill. Our new Performance Pullovers seem to be the perfect layer for the skin up. The stretch panels allow for great range of movement, and the weight of the material is just enough warmth for a nice sweat session.

The beauty of this venture is that there’s no pressure. Have fun, take breaks when you want and be safe. We stop shy of the summit of Hahns Peak because the snow was getting a little bony. No sweat! Drink water, crack a beverage, knock sticky snow off of skins and kick back. The views are glorious from up there, but they seem even better when in good company. The sun starts getting lower, so it’s time to ski down. The spring snow starts getting crispier by the minute; a fun but slightly harrowing descent (for me at least.) We get back to the road and hoof it a short distance back to our cabin.

Suppertime! Some of us jump into the kitchen and chef up some burrito fixin’s while others chop wood and set up tents. It’s the best when you switch into mellow mode after the homestead is set. The wood stove is raging and pitchers of margaritas and tasty vittles are followed by time spent outside by the fire. Our Shovelhead and Fire Tower Belay down jackets keep us cozy while we reminisce about the day. Clouds are out, but so is the big moon. Beautiful night. Our proximity to the sauna on site is fortuitous; it’s too easy to stop there before closing the loop, which for me is on the bottom bunk inside our cabin.

Wakey wakey. Coffee starts flowing and bacon starts frying. We take our sweet time packing up and porch sitting before squeezing in one last roadside skin and ski on the way back home. This snow is a lot more forgiving than yesterday’s. A short and sweet skin leads to some springy turns. Fun ski! After loading up and hitting the road we head back to Steamboat and get a few hours of work in. We have had a packed 24 hours and we are all pretty tired. Sign of a great time…that I wouldn’t mind having again as soon as possible.

Words by: Allison Harris – longtime Big Agnes employee – Queen of This and That

Photos by: Noah Wetzel, @noahwetzel

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