Tag Archives: snow


Finally…a Snow Day!

08 Dec 14
Heidi Kumm
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I am headed into my fourth winter in Colorado and for the past three years I’ve kicked off the season by strapping on my snowboard before October 31st. This year has been a little different, to say the least, but I never expected for December to roll around before I had an opportunity to frolic around in the snow. But alas, I didn’t even take my snowboard out of its bag until December 5th! What is this world coming to?! What has happened to “love all things mountain-y” priorities?! Why am I letting silly what-grown-ups-are-supposed-to-do excuses get in the way of my fun!?

Honestly, I can’t even make up good lies to answer those questions so I’ll distract you with mountain photos instead! On Saturday I finally got a chance to layer on my winter gear and wait in weekend lines at Keystone. Only a small portion of Keystone was open but it was still worth the trip. We did a few loops on the [busy + rocky] front side of the resort then took the Outback Gondola to the back side in search of solitude and legitimate snow cover.

Spoiler Alert: we found snowy tree runs! Yes! The front side of Keystone was littered with icy patches, toppling children and rocks, but the back side?! As usual, that’s where the magic happens at Keystone. The groomers were rock-free and the trees were tracked up by still hiding pockets of fresh snow! But really, no matter where you went on Keystone it was refreshing just to see snow after knowing how bare the runs were just a few weeks earlier when I hiked near Peak One with a view of Keystone’s back bowls.

In my world you cannot work your way all the way to the far back side lift at Keystone without hiking a bit…so hike we did. We didn’t make it far before the snow started to thin, just a few hundred feet past the North Bowl/South Bowl sign. But that was good enough for us! The true beauty of tree riding is the solitude you get. Even on busy days the trees are not a popular place to be! Plus, when there are almost not back side trails open the lift lines on that half of the mountain are nearly non-existent, a huge weekend riding win!

After a few hours of riding we decided we needed to head home…we had a very important experiment to execute. There was a sparkly new oven just chilling in a newly remodeled kitchen that needed to be tested out and it became clear to us that baking cookies was the only possibly way to ensure the oven was fully functional! Two batches of cookies were baked and many samples were tasted but we eventually came to the conclusion that not was the oven working properly it was VERY good at backing cookies! In true cool kid fashion we topped off our Saturday night with multiple airplane heists + evacuations on Grand Theft Auto, a long drawn out game of Settlers of Catan and few major eye rolls at “A Million Ways to Die in the West”. Yup…I think my Saturday kind of rocked!


#ExplOregon: We would have died. Literally.

05 Dec 14
Heidi Kumm
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I proudly pack ALL of my weekend adventuring gear and backpacking essentials into a 22L Columbia pack and wrangled tent poles through airport security with big plans for some backcountry backpacking in Oregon with Erin and Weez. After a day of wandering around Portland on my own it was time to explore the great outdoors. On Friday morning I carefully packed up my food and reassessed my layers. The weather was much chilly than forecasted but we had high hopes for rising temps as the world woke up.

By mid morning we’d packed everything into the car and headed southeast toward the Three Fingered Jack trailhead. Our game plan was to spend the next two days/nights backpacking the 20-24ish [depending upon which website you ask] loop around Three Fingered Jack. In our diluted minds we’d spend the days hiking and exploring than camp along the trail with rainy but bearable temperatures that *might* drop below 20 degrees. The closer we got to our destination the more “uh, we might die” talk swirled around the car. The thermometer in the car kept spitting out lower temperatures…by the time we got to the trailhead, at 2pm, it was reading 11 degrees. ELEVEN DEGREES! In the afternoon…on a very sunny day. Oh, and we were surrounded by heaping piles of snow. As in the trailhead was not accessible because it was buried under 2-3 feet of fresh snow. This was not going as planned…

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Oh, Portland!

20 Nov 14
Heidi Kumm
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This past weekend I did a little exploring on the west coast. Oregon was one of the many states that I hadn’t been to yet so a few weeks ago I booked a flight, sent Erin an email and made plans to harass the crew at the Columbia HQ. I flew into Portland late on Thursday night and Erin was at the airport waiting for me…and that was only the beginning of a weekend of being spoiled by Erin and Brian!

We arrived at their new home and I was welcomed with the cutest list of things to do around Portland, snacks and car keys. We crashed as soon as we found our pillows then got up early to take on the day! Erin and Brian headed to work like responsible adults and I wandered off to explore Portland! Up first, Multnomah Falls!

Thanks to crazy ice on the roads as I ventured east it took me about 90 minutes to get to the falls. Holy ice! When you’re driving around a new state you learn all sorts of interesting things…like how Oregon doesn’t really do ice removal or provide legitimate pull off areas for truckers to put chains on! The last stretch of interstate was…interesting, to say the least. But once I got to Multnomah Falls…wow!

At first I was going to just take a few photos from the bridge but the sign said it was just a mile to the top…and who doesn’t want to see the top of a waterfall?! Turns out the top of waterfalls are kind of boring. However, the river leading up to the gigantic drop?! Absolutely gorgeous, especially when covered with inches of pristine white snow! Whip cream snow!

I made the trek up to the waterfall overlook, explored the river trail for a bit and then ran down the trail. It felt so good to just run. My Achilles was happy, the air was crisp and the snow was crunchy. I was a freaking pile of smiles when I got back to the car! Up next…lunch with Tori, a tour of the Columbia Headquarters and more Portland exploring with my very own Tori tour guide! We visited Pittock Mansion, nearly died on a black ice parking lot and took a few selfies with all of Portland behind us…then wandered around the trendy part of town and filled ourselves with lattes before parting ways for dinner.

#ExplOregon - Pittock Mansion - Portland, Oregon
Portland in the afternoon…Portland after dark!

Erin, Brian and I went for “eclectic” and had dinner at Le Bistro Montage, an interesting place “under the bridge” where we got to try alligator! After a stop at Deschutes Brewery we called it a night…far too early to say we experienced the Portland nightlife but we had big plans on Saturday. The “just in case” email I sent out to my mom said we were going to backpack the Three Fingered Jack Loop, a 20-ish mile trek in the Cascade Range between Portland and Bend. That’s not exactly what happened…but we still had an awesome, snowy week! More on that later…


Learning the Cold Way {Winter Camping}

14 Feb 14
Heidi Kumm
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Remember that one time when we went winter camping with Sierra Trading Post? Turns out it was more than just a weekend in the wilderness. For us it doubled as a bit of a learning experience. Of course we expected a learning curve of some sort but we weren’t prepared for one quite as cold…

As I mentioned earlier we were a little under prepared in the gear department. We knew that going in and we knew it wouldn’t be a perfectly comfortable night. Heck, Chris and I are yet to figure out how to have a “perfectly comfortable night” while camping. We tend to be rather minimalist in our packing and I think we pay for it while attempting to sleep. This time we packed everything we owned but when you don’t have quite the right gear it doesn’t matter.

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Keeping the Chaos Fun

12 Feb 14
Heidi Kumm
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Plans are great. They give you a purpose in life and expectations for your future. We all makes plans and usually have high hopes for things to go as planned. Some times they do. Other times…not so much. Reality happens, life gets in the way, roads ice over…

When plans to awry things get interesting. More often than not you can react one of two ways – work yourself into a quivering mass of anger or readjust your expectations and enjoy. This past weekend I watched a lot of people lose their cool over things they had no control over, all while I did what I could to take a step back and find some fun in the chaos.

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Riding Solo-ish

04 Feb 14
Heidi Kumm
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Welp, all that “hey, look at me because I might be a runner” blabber clearly did not work as a long-term motivator. All that running I was supposed to do this weekend? Yea, I decided to take up cross-training instead. I’d blame all the snow that finally arrived in Denver but the trails/sidewalks got cleared quickly, I own traction + gaiters and there were no arctic winds. All that kind of shot my Friday/Saturday excuses right in the foot. But my Sunday excuse? Oh, it’s a good one…

Rather than go on a snowy long run like a responsible runner-in-training would do I jumped at the opportunity to head west and play in the feet of fresh powder that got dumped on Summit County. It was Superbowl Sunday and I had high hopes for an empty mountain…Keystone did not disappoint! Traffic did not exist, the lift lines disappeared at 11:30 and the powder was glorious!

I made the early morning drive up alone with the intent to spend the day riding hard, alone. I was actually really excited for a long day on the mountain looping along tree runs just to see what I was capable of. As I made my way up the mountain it became apparent I wouldn’t have to ride alone. Heather and Will were already in Summit County, Piper was on the road somewhere ahead of me and Lynne came up for afternoon skiing! I had all sorts of friends to frolic in the snow with!

Lynne, rocking at life after just 1 year on skis! She hit the black diamonds and even the deep tree runs! So proud!

At some point throughout the day I met up with pretty much everyone I knew on the mountain and even made a few new random friends. That did not stop me from riding hard and pushing my limits. I immediately headed to the back of the mountain, did some hiking up to the North/South Bowls and spent as much quality time in the trees as the lifts would allow.

The first thing I noticed while riding alone? I’m much more aggressive when I’m by myself! I was hitting lips while sucking it in and crouching to fit through the trees – I’ve never done that before! At least not on purpose!

Sure, I beat the crap out of my helmet and may have made direct contact with a tree more than once but it felt so good! Well, except for the part where I try to hug a tree only to have 2 pounds of fresh snow fall onto my head…and melt down my back. Yup, that happened more times than I care to admit. And yes, my jacket had a hood, I was just being stupid!

Somehow I managed to dig up just enough responsibility to go to work today…and probably tomorrow, and the day after that. But this weekend? Definitely have plans for more hard tree riding – counts as cross training, right? Trust me, my body says it does! Riding powder is a lot of work!