Peaceful Valley, 03/23/2003
Due to the history making blizzard of last Tuesday and Wednesday, which dumped about 6 feet of snow on the area, the only parking at Peaceful Valley was on the side of the Peak to Peak Highway. We left the truck at 10:23, heading west along the closed road, with the snow so high that the gate across the road was protruding above the snow only about an inch. Leaving the road, we took the bypass trail, then rejoined the road at Camp Dick, and finally took a right from the 4WD road onto the Buchanan Pass Trail. The footbridge over the Middle St. Vrain was covered with snow up to the handrails and we thought it might be close to snapping in two from the weight, but we crossed over it with no problem. Skiing west on the Buchanan Pass trail, the going started out easy with snowshoe tracks having packed down the trail, but soon the tracks disappeared and from there it was fresh powder, which was MUCH more strenuous. We skied until the forest gave way to a beautiful winter view of Sawtooth Mountain and Buchanan Pass, where we took a picture, then continued heading west along the Middle St. Vrain, and finally crossed over the frozen snow covered creek, heading south a few hundred feet until we got to the 4WD road at 14:12. At this point we had been traveling through fresh snow with no tracks for about 80% of the way, so we were glad to see one lonely ski track to make the return a little easier. We soon passed the junction between the Middle St. Vrain 4WD Road, and the Coney Flats Road. Through much of the first part of the return trip the skis did NOT slide very well, since we sunk down into the snow too much, in spite of the ski tracks already there. Stefan applied wax to his skis which, he said, made the going easier. We returned to the truck at about 16:30.