Aspen Untucked: The magic of a few inches of snow

by barbara platts

I hate to admit it, but in the winter time, we are a town that runs on snowfall. The lack of it lately has left everyone – from business owners to visitors – very frustrated.

It’s not just Aspen, either. The Colorado mountains as a whole have seen the worst winter since we had the appropriate technology to accurately record snowfall — sometime in the 1970s — according to OpenSnow’s meteorologist Joel Gratz, who was quoted in Outside Magazine recently. Here in Aspen, all four mountains are open, but the terrain is vapid, at best. Most days, it feels like we’re skiing on more rocks than snow.

Because of the warm weather and limited precipitation, locals are seeking adventures in other places. Some have found powder in Canada while others head to Utah to mountain bike, hike and spend time on the river. The rest of us hang in Aspen, keeping an eye on the weather forecasts and attempting different kinds of snow dances and prayers to make Mother Nature shed her frozen tears. We’re surviving without the snow, but we sure as hell aren’t happy about it.

However, this weekend, something changed. A shift in the winds brought in 4-plus inches of snow to a little place called Aspen. We all went to bed early Saturday night and woke hours before the lifts opened, just to see how much white stuff finally fell. By 8:30, locals and visitors alike were lined up at the lifts, smiles smeared across our faces from ear to ear. All day, we could talk about very little besides the new snow. Was it good? Is there enough? Did new terrain open? It was incredible to see the shift in mood, the renewed hope in people’s eyes. Even the dogs seemed happier. Our ski town was back, and we were all thrilled.

The days after the snowfall have been warm and a lot of what we received has melted away. But, with a little luck, more snow will be on the way soon. We still have plenty of ski season left to enjoy and, at this point, things can really only get better. Right?

When Barbara Platts wrote this column, there was a winter storm warning in the forecast for mid-week. Hallelujah! Reach her at or on Twitter @BarbaraPlatts.

Aspen Times Weekly

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