Tag Archives: Loveland

Face shots galore on an epic powder day

Yesterday was the greatest powder day of my life. I’m still smiling about the experience, more than 24 hours after leaving the slopes. Here are some video highlights:

All powder, all the time from Mitch Tobin on Vimeo.

I worked all weekend to meet a deadline and was grouchy by Sunday evening, but I held out hope that a much-advertised storm would deliver salvation.

I woke up at 5:45 am, expecting maybe 4″ of snow, but I was giddy to see nearly 11″ had already fallen at Loveland Ski Area. I could tell that it was still coming down hard along the Continental Divide when I looked at web cams from the Colorado Department of Transportation.

My companion on the ski lift
My companion on the ski lift

You can never leave Denver too early on a powder day, and I was at Loveland by 7:30 am. I parked in the first row, grabbed a bagel sandwich in the cafeteria, and did a solid hour of work to assuage my guilt and clear my head. I’m usually super-productive in that cafeteria before the lifts open because I’m always in a good mood.

By the time the lifts opened, there was around 15″ on the mountain. I was expecting the snow to be rather heavy since it’s already spring, but lots of people on the chair lifts were remarking about how light and fluffy the powder felt (“blower snow” in the alpine argot).

This type of powder is unbeatable because it’s easy to turn in, unlike the thick “Sierra cement” that’s common in California. When you hit a deep pocket just right, snow blows right over your head. It’s a rare, exhilarating treat that powder hounds will drive hundreds of miles to experience.

Face shot at Loveland
This is what I call fun

It’s almost always windy at Loveland, so there was huge drifting going on, including some spots I measured at 30″ deep. Conversely, I still hit a couple of hard patches, and even after 417″ of snow have fallen this season, you’ll still see bare spots at Loveland (and other resorts) that just won’t hold any snow. Weird.

Although we’re well into April, it felt like the middle of winter, with wind chills well below zero and whiteout conditions that induced a little vertigo.

It’s been an incredible season, and I feel so fortunate that Colorado has been as snowy as California has been dry. This year, it looks like the pending arrival of our baby will cut short the ski season before mother nature does.
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Pineapple Express ski videos

Over the past two months, Colorado has been slammed by three waves of warm, wet storms that dumped snow measured in feet across the state’s northern and central mountains. These atmospheric rivers are nicknamed the Pineapple Express because they transport subtropical moisture from around Hawaii to the Western United States, as shown in this National Weather Service graphic:

Pineapple Express
Source: National Weather Service

The animation below illustrates the last of the atmospheric river events. The map doesn’t show what happens on land, but this depiction of water vapor gives you a sense of what’s transpiring.

Atmospheric river
Animation of atmospheric river event, February 2014. (Source: NOAA/ESRL Physical Sciences Division)

Good things happen, from my perspective, when the jet stream taps the Pacific Ocean and plows it into the Continental Divide. A couple of weeks ago, I skied at Monarch Mountain after 118 inches–nearly 10 feet–had fallen in the prior 14 days. In the shot below (click to enlarge), I would guesstimate the snow drift was 15 feet tall right along the Divide.

Snow drifts atop Continental Divide at Monarch Mountain. Photo by Mitch Tobin.
Snow drift atop Continental Divide at Monarch Mountain. Photo by Mitch Tobin.

Here’s a video I filmed during my day at Monarch, where I’ve been able to ski for free this year in abundance thanks to the perks of annual passes at Loveland and Copper/Winter Park.

118″ at Monarch from Mitch Tobin on Vimeo.

The atmospheric rivers haven’t been enough to overcome California’s epic drought. In Colorado, the San Juan Mountains have been bypassed by some of this moisture. But most of Colorado’s ski areas are enjoying one of their best seasons in years.

Here’s a video I shot with my buddy Forrest at Loveland Ski Area, which includes some of my best impressions of farm animals during the walk under the I-70 tunnel.

Loveland Jan 30 2014 from Mitch Tobin on Vimeo.

I had fun with these two videos, but there’s no story, so I decided to create a clip with some narration and a narrative. The video below, filmed at Copper and Winter Park, includes cameos by friends Pat and Diane.

Rocky Mountain Way from Mitch Tobin on Vimeo.

I flexed some new video muscles with this last piece, though it did require a fair bit of time to record and time the narration. My goal was to create a 90-second video with about 30 clips averaging 3 seconds each.

In addition to skiing/snowboarding as much as I can before becoming a father, I’m trying to improve my video skills (see more clips here). I’ve found the only way to do all of this while maintaining a full-time job is to combine the alpine exploits with the filming. It’s the editing that takes forever, and it’s not nearly as fun as pushing the start button on the GoPro camera and then carving turns down the mountain.