Back in the bowl | AspenTimes.com
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Back in the bowl

Steve Benson

Following a bombing campaign of epic proportions, Highland Bowl opened on Friday for the first time since Tuesday, when it opened only briefly. The sun was strong on Thursday for the first time in what seemed like weeks, revealing Alaskaesque conditions as waves of deep powder left the bowl glistening fat and deep. Like tiny stick figures, patrol could be seen tiptoeing along the ridge, from where they set off countless charges. Most of the B-Zones hung tight, at first. But by Friday morning, the gut of the bowl resembled a vertical ocean, as massive slides ripped down Be One and White Kitchen. Fracture lines were scary and huge – “as big as a man,” remarked one bowl hiker. Maybe if that man is Manute Bol. From a distance, one fracture appeared to be 7 feet deep, which is what patrol estimated fell in the bowl during the historic storm. The G-Zones were void of wind ripples and appeared relatively unscathed from control work – in other words smooth and perfect. G-6 and G-8 opened Friday afternoon. Patrol will re-evaluate avalanche conditions this morning and will likely open the North Woods gate, which will provide access to the rest of the G-Zones. By midmorning, patrol had secured the first shots in the bowl, with Filips Leap and Boxcar skiing deep and soft. Hordes of powder junkies hoofed it up the ridge in a steady stream all morning. Dozens sat at the rope line waiting for additional terrain to open – the openings were staggered – as others leapt through silly deep snow en route to another lap. As for the rest of the terrain at Highlands, it’s questionable whether it could be skiing any better. There are stashes left all over the mountain, even in the lower-lying areas. And shots that have been totally skied out are still soft and grippy. Steve Benson’s e-mail is sbenson@aspentimes.com


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