ASPEN - For the love of apple strudel, I had to ski Sunday in temperatures that were rarely above zero at the top of Aspen Mountain.
My daughter is heading back to college in the Midwest this week, so we wanted to ski Aspen Mountain one last time so she could mow down some strudel. We couldn't get motivated to venture out Saturday. It was too cold in the morning, and we, like everyone, anticipated reveling in a Broncos victory in the afternoon. (Don't get me started.)
We wasted what time we could Sunday morning waiting for it to warm up. I even resorted to unplugging a clogged bathroom sink. We took the dog for a walk at midmorning and judged it warm enough to hit the slopes.
There definitely wasn't an inversion on Sunday. While the temperature was tolerable in Aspen, it was considerably lower on the mountain. We stepped out of the relative warmth of a Silver Queen Gondola cabin at 12:40 p.m. and immediately ran into the one person I knew would be skiing. He rarely missed a day. He quipped that it had just warmed to zero degrees. We arranged to meet him at Bonnie's restaurant 45 minutes later.
We almost didn't make it that long. We took a couple of runs off the Ajax Express before our fingers and toes started aching from the cold. We ducked into the patrol shack and warmed our bones beside the woodstove for a few minutes before venturing out again. We gritted through another couple of runs before we reached Shangri-La. Muffin, the dessert server at Bonnie's, was delighted that both Hannah and I wanted strudel, and she dished out warm ones. I took a medium amount of whipped cream; Hannah took a bunch. We sat with three friends who cheered when they saw we skipped lunch and went right for dessert.
We skied down to the gondola after feasting, rode to the top and plotted one last trip down. The electronic message board at the top of the mountain was saying minus 6 degrees as of 2:45 p.m. We saved the best run for last. Seibert's gave us the softest snow we found all day. Glade 1 was quite tolerable, and the cruise down Copper Bowl was delightful. Hannah lost an edge on Little Nell and took a spill. She'll resume classes with a bruise to remember her Christmas break by.