Eager skiers carve turns before carving the turkey
Unlike years past, hordes of eager skiers were not anxiously awaiting the opening of the lift at Aspen Mountain yesterday morning, but the 18 or so skiers who did stake out positions in line were not disappointed.
The skiing, albeit limited – one lift-served one run, Little Nell – proved better than most forecasted, and early birds were treated to relatively crowd-free lines and slopes during a picturesque snowfall Thanksgiving Day morning.
“I think this is definitely going to be one of the best days for skiing in the year,” said an exuberant Paul Jung. The 9-year-old Aspenite and his dad, Dennis, both season passholders, spent what they hope will be the first of many days together on the mountain yesterday.
“We’re thankful to be outdoors and to have the day off,” said Dennis Jung, a former Ajax ski patroller of 17 years. “And it’s real nice to have a little natural snow on top.”
Despite the predominantly man-made snow conditions, skiers yesterday seemed to exude an air of thankful relief as they carved their first long-awaited turns.
“I stopped having ski dreams,” said season passholder Jon Taylor. “I was having them two months ago, great ones, but with this weather we’ve had, they just stopped. But this feels really good – I’ve been waiting all year for it – so maybe my powder dreams will kick back in.”
Bill Frisbee, a season passholder who launched his first Aspen ski season yesterday, characterized the Thanksgiving Day day conditions as famine-like, rather than feast.
“But it’s just good to get out, and it is snowing, we’ve got that going,” he said. “I decided to get in one quick winter here, as they say. Everybody I’ve talked to has said, `Oh yeah, I did that about twenty years ago, and I’m still here.’ Who knows where I’ll end up.”
“This reminds me of a day in the Midwest: cloudy, one lift, and one short run that’s over in thirty seconds. All we need is some hunting jackets and jeans,” joked Ken Walsh, a Chicago native and recent Aspen transplant.
“I’m most thankful for the technology to make snow,” he said, “but I’m predicting a feast of a season.”
Skico ski instructor Bernhard Hradovsky and his 9-year-old son, Bennett, started their season by remembering Bernhard’s father, an Austrian ski instructor of 40 years.
“We’re dedicating this first day to my dad in Austria, who passed away [Wednesday] night,” Bernhard said. “We’re having fun out here for him because he was a skier, and he wanted us to come out. He just loved skiing.”
Bennett said while he wished more terrain was open, “it still beats school.”
“Mom’s home cooking the turkey with our little girl, while us boys are out having fun,” Bernhard said. “It’s wonderful being out here again. It’s going to be an awesome season, absolutely awesome.”
At the Snowmass ski area, where the Fanny Hill and Coney Glade lifts served three trails yesterday, the man-made conditions were pleasantly surprising, several boarders reported.
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