Fairplay snowboarder relishes Hoosier Pass turns in early September

Braden Litke of Fairplay rides through some early-season powder on a gentle, grassy slope by Hoosier Pass on Wednesday, Sept. 9.
Photo by Dan Scannura

BRECKENRIDGE — At just over a half-year old, Lincoln Litke of Fairplay was born into the snow life in February in the Colorado High Country. Wednesday was his first chance to join his daddy, Braden, and mom, Drisana, for a backcountry snowboard session.

On Wednesday morning, Braden Litke — who skied 231 days last season — woke up to a foot of snow blanketing his yard in the Warm Springs neighborhood just west of Fairplay. Litke had seen the weather forecasts leading up to Wednesday morning, up to 2 feet of snow in some places, and got stoked to begin his backcountry season. But the foot-plus of snow in his backyard was a bit of a surprise and a sign that he had to go to his favorite mellow, grassy slope off Hoosier Pass at the Continental Divide on the border of Summit and Park counties.

“I’ve been riding two to four times a month in July, August, and I rode like 1 inch of new snow on Ptarmigan Peak off Weston Pass a week and a half ago on Sept. 1, so I considered that the first day of the season,” Litke said. “And I wasn’t really planning on riding much more until there was fresh snowfall. But that happened way earlier than I anticipated, way earlier than I’ve seen before.”

So he, Drisana and Lincoln headed out to the 8-9 inches of snow covering the grass and scattered rocks off Hoosier Pass. It’s a shallow slope no steeper than 25 degrees where Litke skied in March 2018 when several storms buried Summit County in snow and avalanche danger was extreme.

Litke chose his lines carefully and, after five laps and 1,200 total feet of vertical, avoided core shots to his splitboard, though it did suffer some scratches. But they were worth it for the best and earliest September snowboard day he can remember, he said.

“We had a good time, and Lincoln was right out there with us,” Litke said. “He was around, watching daddy snowboard. My wife carried him around, hiking around the area when we were snowboarding.”

Braden Litke of Fairplay skins through some early season powder on a gentle, grassy slope by Hoosier Pass on Wednesday, Sept. 9.
Photo by Dan Scannura

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