Simi takes us through what he’s up to this April…
It’s been a pretty great ‘off-season’ so far. I’ve been home since the end of March, and Soph flew out on the 3rd to join me out here in Colorado. Since this is the one month of the year we’re not tied to organized training, we’ve been making the most of it. Most mornings consist of sleeping in (which is easy to do when the nights are still getting down to 20°), waking up, making a pot of delicious coffee, eating mom’s homemade granola, and then heading out on an adventure of our choosing. Colorado has had a great winter, and the temperatures as of late have leant themselves to creating a solid snowpack, so we’ve found ourselves getting out into the high backcountry on most days. Most XC fans probably think that the last thing we want to do in April is find snow and skiing, but the backcountry offers a completely different side of the winter that we’re used to and it satiates a yearning for getting up high in the mountains, skiing great snow, and sharing adventures with friends and family that we haven’t seen in half a year.
Today was a great day. I woke up at 5 a.m. to meet my best childhood friend who literally moved back from NYC yesterday afternoon, and two of my other best friends, Ben and Nils Koons (who also happen to be brothers). Last spring Ben and I had our eyes on a line in the Elk Mountains that is rarely skied. It’s a 1200’ couloir that averages about 50°, with two choke points that my 177 cm Kastles fit thru width-wise with only centimeters to spare. We ended up hitting the couloir in great conditions. The snow was soft and forgiving and made for excellent jump-turning. The highlight of the morning was having to straight-line a 10 meter section of the couloir that was only about 1 meter wide, and having to arc a turn into a tiny crevasse to scrub speed in order to set up for the next section of the chute. All in all, it was an awesome morning. But the day didn’t end there.
Rallying at about the same time that I woke up this morning, Liz Stephen and Celine Brun-Lie drove from the front range to meet Soph and my mom in Aspen mid morning. They skinned up a really cool trail on the flank of Highland’s mountain, meeting me at the top in time for a late afternoon lap in Highland’s Bowl. After one final skin up the ridge, we dropped into the bowl to find great snow that had stayed cold throughout the week. By the looks of their faces, they were psyched to summit out on top of the bowl at 12,500’ and ski a gnarly line down the gut of the bowl.
Tomorrow we head into our cabin for the weekend. I couldn’t be more excited to show Celine (she’s the only on of the crew that hasn’t been there before) our special place above the tiny town of Marble. There’s a storm moving in, which will hopefully bring some new, fresh snow to the high country, but even if we’re stuck inside most of the day it will undoubtedly be a fun-filled weekend full of good stories and good laughs.