Backcountry Livin' in Rocky Mountain National Park

Here in Colorado, a few of us are still holding onto winter and snow bound pursuits.  With multiple storms each bringing several feet of snow to the Rockies, even friends who had hung up their skis for the season decided to take them back out.  This group, however, never put the sticks away and decided that long day of backcounty laps in Rocky Mountain National Park under bluebird skies was in order.  Leaving from the Bear Lake Trailhead, we took the long way around to Flattop Mountain.  

Dan Jones leads the uphill charge

After a long approach, we were in the wide open field at the base of Flat Top.  It was time to gain some vertical and earn some turns. Our first lap took us all the way to the top of Flat Top.  In my quest for pointless summits, I decided to scramble up the rocky outcropping at the top of the mountain and was greeted with incredible views of the west side of Longs Peak.  Bri decided to take advantage of those views with some sharp looking turns with Longs looking on...

Nailed it.

...while Harris decided to make some clouds with Ptarmigan in the distance.

I don't always tour with snowboarders, but when I do, they are Bosnians named Harris who make stylish turns in front of big vistas 

Lucky for us, the conditions only improved as the day passed, with excellent classic spring skiing after our lunch break.  The group was eager to get as many laps in as possible and we skied until they turned the lights off on us.  

On a day like this, what comes down, must go back up.  

We capped of the day with a quick stop in Moraine Park for some Back-of-the-Truck grilled quesadillas and clandestine beers.  With our mouths burning from unexpectedly spicy hot sauce and our legs burning from an incredible day of spring touring, it was an easy decision to leave the ski gear in the truck for as many more days like this as possible before we call it a year. 

Big, rocky mountains and fields full of elk, yet Dan Jones is still the most majestic part of RMNP