Akin to the moon | AspenTimes.com

Akin to the moon

Steve Benson

Happiness is storm skiing.

Of all the great pleasures sliding on snow provides, I can think of none better than a day of relentless, inch-an-hour, throat-choking, mind-altering dumpage.

Free refills of fresh powder every run is reason enough to worship these days, but that only scratches the surface of what makes them so holy.

Something amazing happens when thick, moisture-choked clouds unleash a torrential downpour of frozen flakes. Sounds you don’t want to hear ” airplanes above, automobile traffic below ” are muffled out by the falling snow. The pounding of flakes against your jacket, hiss of your skis through virgin snow, beating of your own heart, and the occasional hoot of ecstasy echoing through the woods is all that can touch the silence.

Random encounters with strangers are akin to bumping into a fellow astronaut on the moon. You both nod, and smile, then disappear into the white.

With each successive run, the snow gets deeper and your smile wider, and this day joins the rest of the storm days, like a collection of paintings, that can never be touched.

While Thursday didn’t unload an epic dump, it was close enough. Three inches or a foot ” fresh snow is fresh snow.

Intermittent moderate to heavy snow showers and fog dominated the day, and by closing time, 3 to 4 inches had fallen on Ajax. The face, ridge and shoulder of Bell were all skiing well, while the back of Bell was funky and crunchy underneath. Most north-facing tree shots were smooth and soft.

As of late last night, the National Weather Service was predicting a storm total of 5-10 inches, with the heaviest amounts on north- and west-facing slopes. Skies are expected to clear today, with partly cloudy skies Friday and Saturday ahead of another shot of snow toward the end of the weekend.