PlayLand Episode 1

Willis Brown and friends hit the backcountry around Aspen, Colorado to find their own type of play land.
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PlayLand originated from exploring fun zones around the Colorado backcountry. Skiing is about having fun and not letting anything get in the way of that. PlayLand is all about having as much fun as possible whether it is shredding playground-like zones of mountains around the world or partying til the sun comes up with all your homies and babes.

This series reflects Willis' lifestyle of having fun, riding hard and continuing good times into the night. PlayLand will follow Willis and his friends through winter and summer adventures both on snow and off. Stay tuned for episode two coming towards the end of March but for now, enjoy some powder and partying from the Aspen backcountry. Booyah!

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Driving on I-70 between the mega-resorts of Copper Mountain and Vail you crest 10,600-foot, Vail Pass, which gets a ton of snow because of it’s elevation and location right in the middle of the state. The west side of the highway is a popular spot for snowmobile use, as well as a starting point for some 10th Mountain Division Huts. The east side of the highway is a haven for human-powered ski touring.  Uneva Peak, at 12,520, is a perfect objective for a first visit to Vail Pass. The grade to the summit is relaxed, and 2,000 vertical feet of elevation gain is realistic for most weekend warriors. There are abundant slopes on which to play depending on weather, avalanche danger, and motivation levels. The south and west slopes are good for basic decision making, but the north and east are a bit more complicated.  To get there, follow I-70 to Vail Pass, and park on the west side of the highway. There is a ranger station, and day use will cost $6 per person. Chat with the rangers, get a handle on current conditions, and feel good about where your money is going. Cross the overpass and start skinning right at the summer trailhead.  

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As touring gear gets more sophisticated and bomber, backcountry skiing is gaining popularity across the country. But, for a variety of very good reason, it can be intimidating. And finding appropriate entry-level trips can be hard. To help make the transition to touring, we’ve got some beta to get you started. Each month, Donny Roth, owner of Alpine Ambitions, will share a few destinations that are great starting points for skiers looking to get out and explore. The first installment is from Colorado, check back soon for ideas from other states.