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Ski adventure runs from Avon to Aspen

Lauren Glendenning
lglendenning@vaildaily.com
Avon, CO Colorado
Kristin Anderson/Vail DailyAvon, Colorado resident Mike Devloo sits with gear that he will be using to travel from Avon to Aspen through the backcountry during the last week of March or in April.
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AVON, Colorado ” Avon and Aspen, Colorado are about 40 miles apart, as the crow flies, and two Avon men are planning a bold trip to show 40 miles is a lot farther than it seems.

Mike Devloo and Jason Schlarb are using the Colorado backcountry as their highway to Aspen.

Devloo, 26, has done parts of the route in the summertime, but doing the whole route in the winter is a goal he says he’s always had.

“I’m sure there’s some really good ski lines to be had in there,” he said.

The men also plan to bring high-definition cameras to make a documentary movie of the trek.

“I think people here in Eagle County would like to see a local oriented ski video rather than one of the Chugach Range in Alaska,” Devloo said. “It’s all the more inspiration to try something new.”

Devloo says extreme adventure appeals to him ” it always has. He’s done a lot of skinning and backcountry ski descents, and a few overnight winter camping trips, but nothing like this.

This is his backyard, as bare bones as it gets. There won’t be corduroy groomers or perfectly bumped out power

Devloo and Schlarb, once at the top of Beaver Creek, have to traverse south on skins over the Bald Spot to the real Grouse Mountain ” a 12,800-foot mountain about two miles south of Beaver Creek’s Grouse Mountain.

From there, the men plan to ski and snowboard down into Cross Creek Basin and camp there for the night.

“I’m a little bit nervous about the ski descent on Grouse Mountain,” Devloo said.

The next day they’ll skin again to the headwaters of Cross Creek and over Carter Creek Pass ” a 12,000-foot summit.

Once they ski and ride down to Carter Lake, they’ll camp again, before an all-day skin on day three heading west. If all goes well they’ll continue south to Margy’s Hut, but if weather and conditions are tough they’ll camp for the night at the Fryingpan River.

After Margy’s Hut the guys are home free ” one more skin and ski south and they’re in Aspen.

Devloo has planned out most of the details, and he’s incorporated things like weather and rugged terrain into the itinerary. He says he isn’t too worried about avalanches as long as they do the trip in nice spring conditions. And if some of his mapping skills prove to be a little off, they’ll just have to find another route, Devloo said.

“Are we going to see a monster 40-foot cornice, or will it be too steep to skin,” he said. “If there’s too much powder it will be very difficult. There’s usually always a way, from my backcountry experience.”

Devloo had to convince Schlarb to take the journey. They’ve been friends a long time, and they always push each other to the next level.

“I’m definitely pushing the envelope on this one for sure,” Devloo said.

Devloo has budgeted the trip down to almost the dollar. He thinks it’ll cost about $2,000 to do the trip, which includes renting video equipment for the week, staying at Margy’s Hut, $100 in food and some video editing.

So far Devloo thinks he’s secured some cash from the Steadman Hawkins Clinic and some meals from a Boulder-based outdoor food company called Backpacker’s Pantry.

It’s a tough economy to be donating money, Devloo said, but he’s hoping the unique and local aspect of this trip will inspire others as it has inspired him.

“There’s not a whole lot of (videos) out there featuring the Colorado backcountry,” he said. “Just capturing some of the scenery in there would be amazing if there’s good weather.”

Devloo wants to showcase Beaver Creek Resort in what he calls a survivor style documentary. The resort’s tagline is “not exactly roughing it” ” Devloo plans to show locals that you can rough it, maybe not in Beaver Creek, but certainly just beyond it.

And he thinks the name of the journey is pretty catchy, too.

“Avon to Aspen has a good ring to it I guess.”

Lauren Glendenning can be reached at 970-748-2983 or lglendenning@vaildaily.com


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