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Summer Stashes: Grizzly Peak, Colorado

By this point in the summer, photographs of steep South American couloirs and idyllic New Zealand peaks are probably filtering through your Instagram feed. With sweltering summer heat and the end of 4th of July festivities, you may have admitted defeat, tossed your skis into the closet and traded them in for your mountain bike. But rest assured—there’s still plenty of summer skiing to be had without spending your life savings on a plane ticket to the southern hemisphere—you just have to be willing to work for it.

Here’s the latest installment in An Skier’s Guide to Summertime Stoke. All summer long we’ll be sharing from our list of enough summer ski zones to keep you satisfied until the snow falls.

GRIZZLY PEAK, COLORADO: A CLASSIC COULOIR

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Grizzly Peak, standing just shy of 14,000 feet, is a classic summer ski in the Colorado Rockies. [Photo] Courtesy Mike Marolt

LOCATION: Independence Pass, Colo.
SUMMIT ELEVATION: 13,988 ft.
MORE INFO: Grizzly Peak is accessible from Lincoln Creek off the east side of Independence Pass. The ascent is a four-mile hike to snow. Read about various routes off Grizzly Peak at summitpost.com.

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Mike Marolt descends 2,000 vertical feet in Grizzly Couloir, an iconic line located right off Independence Pass near Aspen, Colo. [Photo] Courtesy Mike Marolt

“Grizzly is about the most classic summer ski in the Colorado Rockies. This year it’s as good as it has ever been in my life growing up in Aspen,” says ski mountaineer Mike Marolt of Aspen, Colo., who skied Grizzly peak on July 16. “We had about 2,000 feet of skiing. The guidebook says it ranges from 30 to 45 degrees with a roll near the top at about 50 degrees. To have this quality of skiing in mid July is why it has attracted people for decades for some summer turns. But this year…wow, there’s so much snow on this slope.”

If you are a summer skier and have an adventure or destination worth sharing, send your story and photos to intern@backcountrymagazine.com.

Comments

  1. 4 miles one way is too far. 2 miles is more realistic, especially with a fullpack and hiking in summer heat. If youre under 30 go for it, though.

  2. An important factor of skiing in summer is to know how the snow is. The snow starts turning into ice in July. It is best to know when the ice will have gotten enough sun to soften the snow surface. Cloud cover over night will typically keep the surface softer compared to a clear night sky. Warmer weather is better compared to a cooler temperature. In August, the ice gets even firmer. Some places it is possible to ski all months, especially after a big winter. The Mt Rainier area allows year round snow/ice.

  3. You might get more than you can handle, especially when the ice becomes more prevalent, later in the summer. I went 2 miles and 1,200 ft for mid-aug turns in the sierra. But I’m in my mid 50’s.

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