March 17, 2023 | SPORTS | By Isabella Ingersoll, Co-Editor-In-Chief

You probably know my good friend Julian. Yes, the one with the hair. 

Julian Wiseman ‘25 is a renowned force on campus. Whether he’s posted outside Sig Chi flipping pancakes, zooming around on his homemade motorcycle, or hosting fight nights in his dorm, he’s certainly doing what no one else is. 

This past weekend, he showed me that it is possible to ski for free. 

We all know skiing is not an inclusive nor accessible sport. Ikon passes, even with the student discount, are over $600. Single-day lift tickets can surpass $150. Not to mention all the gear and gas required for even getting to the slopes.  

So where does Wiseman fit into all of this? 

Flashback to freshman year Block 5. Block Break. We were both itching to ski. Our bank accounts were begging us not to. So, we opted to rent a Toyota Prius, park it on the side of the road near a resort, sleep in it, and ski all four days of our long weekend.  

We parked on the side of the road on Highway 6, right below Loveland Pass’s summit. At 11,990 feet of elevation, it is said to be the highest road in the entire United States that remains open the entire year.  

The first night of our adventure was one of the most beautifully bizarre times of my life. The whole night, the temperature remained below five degrees. We cooked with a Coleman on the ground and started a fire with a container of gasoline we found on the side of the road and a wood pallet a grizzly-looking man with a pack of dogs handed to us.

It happened to be a full moon that night. We were oblivious of what was to come. Out of nowhere, tons of cars pulled over and parked next to us. We panicked. 

Tons of lifties piled out of the cars, and suddenly we were in the middle of a side-of-the-road mountain rave. There was music. There was beer. There were joints. Oh, and fire dancing…?  

In the middle of the rave, Wiseman and I looked over across the highway, and we saw people skiing the pass with only the moon and headlamps providing guidance. And just like that, the idea to ski Loveland was born. 

“I absolutely prefer skiing Loveland to a resort,” Wiseman declared over a year after our adventure. He explained how there are no lines, you can ski fresh snow all day without it getting skied out, you make awesome friends, and, most importantly, “People aren’t dicks.” 

After our Prius camping adventure last year, I wasn’t stoked to come back to Loveland. Despite how fun the rave was, I associated it with not being able to sleep at all – it was so cold that the moisture from our breath turned into ice – and being constantly anxious that the space heater we kept in the car was going to give us carbon monoxide poisoning. Wiseman, however, has returned to Loveland every weekend this winter. 

Last weekend, he convinced me to tag along.

Wiseman, our friend David Mims ‘25, and I pulled out of the South parking lot at 5:45 a.m., a typical ski day routine. I quickly passed out in the back of his Subaru Impreza and woke up at 7:45 a.m. to Julian telling us we’d arrived. I was shocked. We usually don’t arrive at Winter Park or Copper until hours later due to I-70 traffic holding us up. When you ski Loveland, however, you can literally be on the slopes by 8:00 a.m. 

We parked the Subaru on the side of the road: exactly where we’d camped in the Prius a year ago. We ran across Highway 6, dragging our gear with us, and sat down on the snowbank. There were already several boarders there, sticking their thumbs out at the incoming traffic. I’d only ever hitchhiked in a hiker town before. I was nervous. 

“Isabella, stand in the front of us and look pretty,” Wiseman said to me, half-joking. “We’re more likely to catch a ride if they see we have a woman with us.” I did notice that out of the group of snowboarders waiting for ride, I was the only female bodied person.  

We waited a few minutes, and one of the men standing next to us who introduced himself as Cookies declared that a truck would come by in two minutes. Sure enough, a Ford F-250 quickly came around the bend and when it saw us, slowed down. We all piled into the bed. 


Once we were in the bed, some people started chatting, asking names and ages. One of the snowboarders was there with his son who seemed about 10 years old. “I’ve been riding The Pass here for 30 years… and now the next generation’s here,” he told me, gesturing to his son. 

As we snaked around the highway’s tight turns, the wind was harsh. I was transfixed by the scenery around us. It’s one thing to be sitting in the car and staring at the mountains, it’s another to be outside watching them pass by. It was mesmerizing.

We made it to the 11,990-foot summit, thanked the driver profusely, and stumbled out of the pickup. Again, we had to cross Highway 6, where we climbed a little up from the road, snapped on our skis and adjusted our boards’ bindings. I looked down below me and saw nothing but untouched powder. 

I zoomed. 

The run took about five minutes from top to bottom. Five minutes of weaving through trees, soft powder, and even some jumps. We ended back up at the original snowbank where we took off our gear and began the hitchhiking process again. 

The rest of the day we caught rides until they slowed down in the afternoon. I noticed how not only did this adventure provide unparalleled skiing, but it also showed skiing and riding as a much more social, connected sport than you might experience at the resort. 

“It’s the community,” Wiseman agreed with me, “If you forget something, you can find someone there who has it. You can stand in the parking lot and look hungry, and someone will give you food.”

Sure enough, we shared our snacks with new friends and were handed beers in return.

The best part? The wacky people we met. “Anyone who would stop on the side of the road to pick up a bunch of hippies is probably really cool,” explained Wiseman. To me, it felt like we’d somehow found heaven. I was at peace. I was doing my favorite thing in the entire world, without having to pay the exorbitant price to achieve this peace.  

“I want the CC community to know about [Loveland], but I want them to adhere to the etiquette,” said Wiseman. “Pick up your trash, if you have a spot in your car, pick someone up, if you see someone who forgot a lunch, give them some food… that’s what Loveland’s all about.” 

At the end of our incredible day, I identified two caveats to the heaven we’d found.  One, it’s not a place for beginners. All of the terrain available would be considered at least a black diamond at resorts. The terrain is steep and requires the ability to be able to ski turns through trees. Two, avalanches. 

“Safety? Just don’t be a dumbass,” was Wiseman’s response to me asking him about avalanche concern. He explained that if you check the report, and have proper gear, and ski with a friend, it shouldn’t be a concern. CC’s Gear House rents out beacons, shovels, and probes.

“It can be difficult to get people up there because they’ll be intimidated about the fact that it’s backcountry, but it’s safe… There’s a dad with two eight-year-old kids who’s there all the time, almost every weekend, lifting his kids into the back of the truck,” Wiseman shared. 

Wiseman isn’t going to buy a pass next winter season.  “It’s fucking awesome. I want this to be a place people can go to forever.” he said, and after the day I had with him, I couldn’t agree more.

Next season, reconsider your Ikon pass, and hit up Loveland. Or, if you’re on your way to A-Basin and you see a group of skiers standing on the side of Highway 60, consider letting them hop in your trunk. 

1 Comment

  1. Love the article about pass. Loveland pass is accessible and that’s what makes it awesome.

    However you as someone who sharing this incredible place has a responsibility to not perpetuate the don’t be stupid and have the avy gear mindset.

    If you buy a scalpel and surgical instruments you aren’t a surgeon. Training and knowledge are key.

    Loveland Pass is not inherently safe and a quick Google search of “Loveland Pass Death” will reveal every year a hand full of people die there. The CAIC also reports on accidents. You need to forecast and the gear, you also need the training.

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