For a slow walker, getting up the gumption to hike Highland Bowl can be tough |

For a slow walker, getting up the gumption to hike Highland Bowl can be tough

A shot from Anna Stonehouse's first time hiking the Bowl two years ago.
Anna Stonehouse/The Aspen Times

What an awesome start to this season here in Aspen Snowmass. Am I right?

Aspenites, including myself, seem to be on a high from all of the powder turns we’ve experienced already this season. Smiles are abundant on the slopes and in town regarding Mother Nature’s generosity versus the dismal precipitation we experienced last year.

Like everyone else in this town, I truly appreciate the controlled access of our ever-so-majestic Highland Bowl. We are so lucky to have that option of skiable terrain here, and it opened on opening day! Hats off to the bootpackers and Highlands ski patrol.

I find myself staring at it every time I get off the Silver Queen Gondola. Already I have had several invites to “get a Bowl lap in” and I have declined them all.

The thing is, I am an extremely slow walker just in my general nature. Feel free to reference my best friend, Geneva, about my walking pace. Her bluntness about my turtle pace won’t elude you. Add my lack of exercising over the offseason and Highland Bowl might as well be my Everest.

Am I alone in this community in postponing my Bowl laps until I get in better shape?

I plan on skinning up Tiehack and Snowmass on a weekly basis to get some sort of endurance under my belt before attempting the Bowl this season.

Really, I’m doing this to benefit the Highland Bowl ant line and community. Well, really, I’m doing this because of my anxieties of holding up the line. If pulling over to let others pass is an option I will always jump to the side, so no need to worry I’m “that person” holding you up the whole way while you passive-aggressively create your own footpath next to me just to pass.

The thing is, as is with most hikes for me, I really hate them in the moment. I love nature, but would choose rafting or mountain biking anytime over a hike. Sorry if that offends the hikers out there — one less person for you to see out there, though.

After collapsing from exhaustion at the top of most hikes and catching my breath, including the Bowl, I absolutely love taking in this incredible landscape surrounding us. The 360-degree view at the top of Highland Bowl is breathtaking, stunning, humbling, spiritual and essentially unsurpassed. The ride down is always worth it, as well. I even forget about the exhaustion of the hike up in those moments but instantly remember later in the day when I find myself sitting really hard.

Basically, this is an ode to myself to “woman up” and get out there and just do it because these are just excuses.

If you see someone in leopard snowpants struggling going up the Bowl, feel free to offer words of encouragement or just say, “May I please pass?”

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