XC crust skiing with your skate skis up on Rabbit Ears Pass is a seasonal springtime highlight. Weather and snow conditions have to be just right so timing is important.
The weather pattern has to set up to be warm enough during the day to get the snowpack wet on top and melting. The critical next step is a clear night with below freezing temperatures. And with that combination, like magic, a solid crust forms that opens up the entire backcountry to skate skiing.
Start early enough to catch the morning crust. Watch your time and distance and judge how the crust loosens up during your ski. Skiing a loose layer of snow will feel wonderful as the crust softens.
You just want to judge your timing back to your trailhead. Don’t stay out too long because the crust can transform to a punchy and collapsable snowpack. If that happens your fun day may just turn into a not so fun day!
See you out there!