14er skiing history
My attempt to climb and ski the Fourteeners in less than 362 Days has begun. It started on January 4, 2016 from the top of Mt. Elbert. In a tribute to the 14er skiers and snowboarders before me who have all done an incredible job of climbing and descending these peaks on skis, my goal is to finish these peaks and ski from them all, and do it as quickly and as efficiently as I can. I would love to finish them by the end of May in 2016, but only time will tell. While I’ll be trying to do what few people have done, I also know that there may be times where I wont be able to ski down every inch of every peak due to conditions and the fact that time won’t be on my side. If that happens I will just do the best I can. My goal is to climb every 14er and ski as much as possible and as much that is safe. But also, the goal is to just have fun and enjoy the journey.
Giving Credit Where Credit is Due:
In 1991, Lou Dawson became the first person to ski down all 54 of Colorado’s highest peaks. Dawson has also skied most of the the fourteeners on many other occasions, including numerous first descents of routes, which actually number in the hundreds.
As far as I know, there are 14 people who have finished skiing or snowboarding all of Colorado’s Fourteeners. Lou Dawson was the true pioneer, exploring the absolute unknown, and finishing in 1991 after a whole lot of effort. But, then the fourteener window seemed to close to wait for the gear to catch up. When it finally did, technology had unleashed the information superhighway and suddenly beta was much easier to obtain. The Internet allowed backcountry skiers to easily find out informtion on routes, weather, and avalanche danger. Chris Davenport was perhaps one of the first to really utilize all of these resources to their max, becoming the second person to ski all of Colorado’s fourteeners in 2006, paving the way for others behind him and ushering in a new generation of ski mountaineers. Davenport is considered by many to have set the standard for Colorado fourteener skiing. From January 22, 2006 to January 19, 2007, Chris Davenport was and still is the only person to ski from the peaks in less than a calendar year, though he had to utilize two winter seasons to accomplish his feat.
For me, I climbed and skied my first Colorado 14er when I was in High school, way back in 1997. I carried my old Rossignol skis and heavy Nordica boots up Mt. Elbert and just remember how difficult that was! With today’s gear we can do it so much more efficiently. That’s where it all started and in the past 20 years I have skied 46 different 14ers with lots of repetition or new lines on the same peaks and at times wondering when I might focus on just getting them all done. This project will also allow me to stop putting off trying to finish all the peaks, and I will be able to pull from my past skiing of repeat peaks to help me move through as many as I can – with the goal in mind. I’ve also got a new guidebook in the works about skiing all over Colorado- 14ers, 13ers, 12ers, and more, so this project will help me with that book project.
Special thanks to all of the Pioneers of Skiing Colorado’s Fourteeners for motivating me and providing inspiration to go after this project, it’s going to be an awesome adventure!
The Great 14er Skiers and Snowboarders:
- Lou Dawson 1991
- Chris Davenport 2007 (Fastest Finisher)
- Ted Mahon 2008
- Frank Konsella 2008
- Jordan White 2009
- Joe Brannan 2009
- Christy Sauer Mahon 2010
- Jarrett Luttrell 2010 (First Snowboarder)
- Brittany Walker Konsella 2011
- Carl Dowdy 2013
- Matt Kamper 2013 (Second Snowboarder)
- Mark Barella 2014
- Austin Porzak 2015
- Michael Steinman 2015