The smell of 2-stroke and the stoke of fresh powder on Buffalo Pass runs rampant throughout Dry Lake Campground as slednecks and hybrid skiers alike go over their gear checklists and read the updated avalanche bulletin from CAIC. The snowcam at Steamboat resort shows 8 inches of blower overnight, but the locals know of the “Fluffalo Pass” effect and expect a foot of fresh once they get to the top of Soda Mountain. Stu finally emerges from the USFS outhouse and Randy finishes scarfing his breakfast burrito from Creekside Cafe as I yell at everyone to remember why we woke up at 5am. We were the first to get our sleds off the trailer and now we are rewarded with fresh tracks on the snow road from Dry Lake all the way to our first stop at the Galaxy Drop.
We shuttle a sled down to the bottom of the Galaxy Trees and ride Canadian back to the top. The buzzing of idling engines from Dry Lake is no more and all that remains is the sound of a crisp breeze amongst the quaking aspens we are about to ski. Randy comments that these are the largest aspens he’s ever seen and Stu is still wrapping his head around how the entire stand has perfect spacing between each trunk. The untouched canvas in our field of view has us channeling our inner Da Vinci and our inner Billy Kid, minus the Stetson headgear. We roll over the top and drop into our line; the silence amongst the trees is met with hoots and hollers as we revert to our childlike selves giddy with the excitement and adrenaline of feeling alive and free. As we prepare to ride Caveman back to the top, we catch our breath and gaze at our lines meandering through the trees; It may not be the Mona Lisa but it is the closest we will ever get to creating a masterpiece.
Stu was itching to get into steeper terrain and we decided to spend the next couple of hours shredding In the Frey and South Park Ridge to our heart’s content. Eight laps later and our legs are screaming at us to take a break for just 5 minutes. In that same moment the skies rip to blue and we get our first glimpses of the day at the summit of Soda Mountain. We decide there’s no better place for a picnic on the Pass and we head uphill to take in the best views in Routt County. As we come to Zohan Point, we see a snow stake measuring 15 inches and Randy’s mouth broadcasts a shit eating grin- it looks like Buff Pass wringed out every bit of precip in northwest flow overnight. We waste no time and dedicate the rest of our day to the Carnival. After scouting from below we head back to the summit to ski our most technical terrain of the day. Steep skiing, tight chutes, and big airs summarize the second half of our amazing day on Buff Pass.
We head back towards Dry Lake after a full day of skiing, but we cannot resist the urge to ski one last fun run at Fiesta. We can see the congregation at the bottom of the run of other sled skiers reminiscing about all of the face shots had on this day. We ski one more line and make sure to put on a show for the locals and tourists alike watching from Lila’s Corner as we all three throw a Daffy on the booter some guys built towards the bottom. The excitement at Dry Lake as we load our trailer back up is intoxicating. Within earshot you can hear multiple proclamations of “Best. Day. Ever.” in some iteration or another. Randy, Stu, and I rally down to Slopeside for dinner and drinks as it starts to pound snow yet again. The forecast is calling for another foot of blower overnight and our sleds are already refueled.