“No fall Zone! Starts steep then narrows - expect runners, short but sweet!”
— Joshua Berland
Type: Backcountry or Sidecountry
CDOT says that the first 10 miles to summit lake will be open until the "first significant snowfall" or the first weekend in October, whichever is first. Exactly, what is a "significant snowfall" is not defined. The road then typically opens on Memorial Day in May. Though you can always hike up the road in the winter months and check out the conditions!!
Need to Know
Note: This chute is narrow, with only room for one at a time. Keep a spotter above and in the event of an incident, descend the larger, safer Sunrise couloir to skier's left.
Depending on the year, the couloir is capped with a fluctuating sized cornice. Still steep in the spring, I would recommend holding a good edge and side sliding through on either side of the diminishing cornice to enter the couloir.
Once in the chute, this top section will begin at about 10m wide and be the steepest skiing. Here's your chance to make two quick turns before the chute narrows. Halfway down at about 100m, the chute reaches its first choke and the runnel deepens. Only carefully timed jump turns here as there is only about 3m of room. Be careful of the runnel!
After the middle section the chute briefly widens to about 5m before splitting around a rock island where it then continually widens to skier's left. Stay skier's right just below the last section of rocks to give you a safe spot to watch your partner's descent.
Both down, you can now enjoy some quick open turns before traversing along the south side of summit lake. Once back to the road, it's just a quick walk to the parking lot and your vehicle.
History & Background