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Ah, the memories

Catherine Lutz

Now that the lifts are closed, it’s worth a look back at a stellar 2004-05 ski season.A September storm cycle raised hopes for the season; then those hopes were dashed a couple of months later when the resulting layer became rotted and unstable. High avalanche danger ruled the early season, and a whole section of Highland Bowl slid to the ground. Locals gave thanks at the end of November for a storm that dumped nearly 2 feet of snow on local slopes, although World Cup crews had a hell of a time pulling off the Thanksgiving weekend races. December was fairly dry, but Christmas wishes for abundant snow came true in the New Year, when storm after storm pounded the local mountains. The stats? Two feet over a three-day period over New Year’s, during the third biggest storm cycle ever recorded by the Aspen Skiing Co. In total, 220 centimeters fell in the first two weeks of January, a month with double the average snowfall.The memories? In those first few days of January was the best day of the ski season, according to one local, who enjoyed untracked turns in Highland Bowl. “I’ve never skied South Castle Chutes with such reckless abandon,” said another.Heavy, wet snow that blanketed the slopes during a couple of those storms was both a blessing and a curse. One day, frustrated powder hounds waited hours for Highlands’ lifts to open, then could barely push through the snow on the gentler slopes. But rain in January actually packed all that snow into a firm, thick base, portending a solid remainder of the season with lower-than-average ski and board damage.February was again above average, with consistent, well-spaced storms and a total of 176 inches – nearly 6 feet – falling on Snowmass. March was less wet – though considerably more so than March 2004 – and the last significant storm cycle provided many surprise powder runs around April Fools’ Day. Late in the season, everything was good – happy memories include more days than ever in Trainors, multiple untracked runs on lower Highlands and glorious bluebird days with ample fresh snow at Snowmass.Bring back memories?


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