February 24, 2004
Nasty, brutish and short may be the way some like their lovers, but it’s not the way anyone likes their skiing.
A Sunday afternoon sojourn to A-Basin on the west side of Loveland was exactly that: Nasty conditions and brutish light led to a very short day of skiing.
There are plenty of reasons to be glad you don’t live on the Front Range, and this winter snow conditions are one of the biggest.
A-Basin, located on a rocky mountain high in the Arapaho National Forest, has just a 45-inch base, the same as Buttermilk. But where a moderate base at the ‘Milk goes down smooth, the Basin goes down hard.
The slopes at Buttermilk, only moderately steep at their steepest, hold on to the snow after the last snowfall much longer than the steep, rocky terrain at A-Basin.
It took three hours simply to find an eight-turn mogul field that didn’t require one to cherry-pick their way through the rocks.
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The people factor also affects the base. Scads of people from Boulder, Denver, Littleton, Wheat Ridge and all those other cities spend their weekends at places like Loveland Pass, A-Basin, Keystone and Breckenridge.
Buttermilk at its fullest is still uncrowded by comparison to all the above-named crowded, highway resorts.
Buttermilk’s base is a creamy 44 inches on top and 42 inches at midway. Aspen is boasting 53 inches on top and 46 at midway. Snowmass has 68 inches on top, 49 midway. And Aspen Highlands leads the race with 70 inches on top, 55 midway.
There have been 1 to 2 inches of fresh snow in the past 72 hours and 5 to 10 inches, depending on which mountain you’re skiing, over the last seven days.