Chasing Xavier: Gothic to Crested Butte ski traverse

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Xavier Fane, longtime Crested Butte local, is an impressive photographer and skier. After spending Christmas here in Gothic, he decided to ski all the way home, traversing two ridges and respective valleys before connecting to the nordic trails that would carry him to town. An aesthetic and practical route. He also did it fast, casually covering the 8 miles and 1700′ of climbing in a lean 2:23.

Naturally, I had to ski the route myself. And since I am (just possibly) competitive, his benchmark gave me a goal to chase after. All in all, a nice project to break up the routine nature of my skiing, and inject some of the excitement and satisfaction I get from running back into my life, a good 6 months before dirt will show in this part of the world.

I borrowed 40mm mohair skins for my 10th Mountains, and while they didn’t exactly climb like a champ, they kept sidestepping to a minimum, at least until they failed altogether halfway up the second ridge. No matter. It was a beautiful ski, with short steep climbs yielding to mellow but fast glade skiing on the backside of each ridge. Navigational errors tacked on a mile to my route, and I ended up rolling into town in 2:39. Next time, I guess. The out-and-back is also appealing…

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Alpenglow on Gothic as I began the traverse.
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The first ridge.
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The far side of the mountain.
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The final leg.
Screen Shot 2014-01-03 at 4.05.27 PM
Route details.

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