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Nate Peterson

Even though the gondola plaza is a seven-minute walk from your front door, before Tuesday you hadn’t been to Aspen Mountain for nearly three weeks.After a week of chasing around the fastest women in the world at the Winternational in early December, you’d had your dose for the month. The trees at Snowmass offered a respite, as did flawed runs in the halfpipe at Buttermilk. Then the holiday crowds came, which led you to Highlands and small lift lines.When more fresh snow fell Monday night, you were tempted to hop on the bus again Tuesday morning and head to Highlands, maybe Snowmass. But when you missed the first bus after 9 a.m., you wised up and started walking.There was no line at the Silver Queen Gondola, just as you’d hoped. When you got to the top of the mountain, there was plenty of fresh snow to be had, just as you’d pictured it.You tried to set a new speed record on North Star, which was like a boardercross track with its icy bumps covered by the layer of new snow. Then it was over to the FIS lift, which led to a quick dash down Bear Paw. While underneath the lift, you caught an icy patch of snow and lost an edge, sliding on your butt for 10 feet. “Are you all right?” someone asked from overhead. “I’m fine,” you said laughing, before readjusting your snowpants.Since no one was riding the FIS lift, or the trees below, you decided to do a couple more runs there before venturing over to Ruthie’s Run.No one was riding that lift either, so you ripped off a few laps there, too. Soon enough, you realized there was only half an hour left before you were supposed to be at work for a meeting. You finished your day with a long, winding run to the bottom, capped by a little ollie off a small rock outcropping on Norway Slope. On your walk back to work, you realized how much you missed the convenience of Ajax. It’s not your favorite, for sure, but it’s only 10 minutes away each morning. No buses. No shuttles. No parking.Just a walk down the hill to fresh snow. You resolve to go back more often, maybe today, even.Snow reportLocal mountains are reporting 3 inches of new snow in the past 24 hours, except Aspen Highlands, which picked up 4 inches, according to the Aspen Skiing Co.’s 5 a.m. snow report.Avalanche reportThe backcountry avalanche danger in the Roaring Fork Valley is considerable with pockets of high at and above treeline. Below treeline, the danger is moderate.Avalanche danger details provided by the Roaring Fork Avalanche Center. For more information, call 920-1664 or visit http://www.rfavalanche.org. For conditions around the state, call the Colorado Avalanche Information Center at 920-1664 or visit geosurvey.state.co.us/avalanche.


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