A blessed opening at Aspen Highlands
December 8, 2007
ASPEN ” With 46 inches in 48 hours, Saturday’s opening day at Aspen Highlands meant snorkels, face shots and glee.
Locals who managed to get out on Friday at Aspen or Snowmass surfed through more than a foot of powder and ended up at Highlands with sore legs and joy in their hearts.
“I’m very tired from yesterday but the endorphins are helping me overcome my fatigue,” said Jamie Hozack of Aspen.
Down at the bottom of the Deep Temerity chair, Highlands Patrol Director Mac Smith was joking with skiers and boarders as they got in line, covered in snow and grinning.
“I’m down here because the smiles and jubilation are my reward,” Smith said. “We need our skiers, we need our community here.”
For Smith, it’s been a serious six weeks getting the mountain ready for opening day. In the three days before Saturday’s opening, he said patrollers threw 1,000 avalanche bombs.
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With additional bombing in the morning, the patrol was able to get Highland Bowl open for an hour and a half in the afternoon. With such significant snow, the skiing in the bowl is likely to be great for days to come.
Further, Smith said that the wet base brought by the storm might make it so the B and Y zones in the bowl won’t need to be boot packed, enabling the whole bowl to open sooner.
Highlands was truly blessed in the latest storm. The Aspen Skiing Co. reported that Snowmass got 37 inches in 48 hours while Aspen got 29 inches and Buttermilk got 21. That’s compared to nearly 4 feet dumped at Highlands.
The deep snow led to more than a few crashes in the fluffy stuff out on the mountain, where many people seemed to be learning to ski all over again.
“There’s carnage everywhere,” said Aspenite Dylan Hoffman.