Fresh flakes make for blue-bird day |

Fresh flakes make for blue-bird day

Brent Gardner-Smith
Aspen Times Staff Writer

Well, the 3 to 4 inches of fresh snow found on both Saturday and Sunday mornings certainly helped keep this season up to par (at least with the past four winters).

No, you still cannot simply charge down most of your favorite steep runs without watching out for, and nicking, some rocks. And yes, we only have a 49-inch base at the top of Snowmass (it can get to 80-plus, remember?) and a 37-inch base at the top of Highlands. But, still, the skiing and riding is quite fun, and Sunday was a blue-bird day.

Snowmass has 90 percent of its expert terrain open, including the Cirque and the Headwall. Aspen Mountain has 100 percent of its steeps open, although there is a difference between imminently skiable and open. The steepest part of Viagra, for example, still has closed signs on it, and for good reason.

We could see some more snow later this week. Today is to be mostly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of snow and high temps between 19 and 32.

Tuesday is to bring wind and a 20 percent chance of snow during the day and a 70 percent chance of snow Tuesday night. On Wednesday, snow is likely.

We likely that. Very much.

Out in the backcountry, the Colorado Avalanche Information Center wrote Sunday afternoon that “With obvious clues of avalanche danger such as triggering avalanches, whumpfing, collapsing and shooting cracks, nature is reminding backcountry travelers to use extra caution in all mountain areas and to stay off steep slopes.”

One guy in this world who is not staying off steep slopes is Bode Miller, otherwise known as The Man.

Bode of the U.S. Ski Team regained the overall World Cup points lead Sunday by coming in second in a slalom run in Bormio, Italy. However, Miller, with 690 points, is downplaying his World Cup lead, especially as Austrian Stephan Eberharter, who had the lead on Saturday, has 655 points and did not race on Sunday.

And Australian skier A.J. Bear was in good condition a day after an ugly high-speed crash in a men’s World Cup downhill, according to The Associated Press. Bear suffered worrisome head injuries and a broken left arm when he crashed in the sixth men’s downhill of the season Saturday.

The Australian sent his weight forward coming off a jump, then dove head first, tumbling forward before coming to a complete halt on the snow. He lay completely limp on the snow, blood covering his face, as medics and course workers rushed to his side. He was in a coma for six or seven minutes.

But on Sunday, the tough Aussie was joking with hospital workers.

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