I'm a little embarrassed by this story but I'll tell it because maybe someone will learn from my mistake. At least maybe someone will be entertained.
We were riding out of bounds in Vail when I lost Dino and followed some tracks out to the wrong side of one of the peaks out in Blue Ridge Basin. It didn't take me too long to realize that I was off the map. I started cutting right as hard as I could but it just wasn't enough, I had to unstrap my bindings and start hiking.
It was difficult to hike, in my shape and at that altitude. I would go about 10 steps before I fell down and panted like a dog for a few seconds. I found that pushing my board along the snow with my hands helped take some weight off my feet so I didn't sink into the powder past my knees.
After hiking for almost an hour, I finally made it to the ridgeline where i could drop into the correct side of the bowl. My cell phone still didn't have service, which was too bad because I really wanted to let Dino know that I was OK so he didn't make an expensive call to the search and rescue team. There was good powder on the ride down but I couldn't quite enjoy it since I was still a little shaken up by the experience. I just got down to the lift before it closed for the day.
So take it from me... Even if there are tracks going someplace on the mountain, don't assume that will take you to a lift. You might end up following my snowboard track which will lead you on an excruciating hike and a race against time to get back to civilization. I won't make that mistake again.
The woods are a lot more fun when you have your friends with you.