Good, bad and just plain ugly
A recent trip to Jackson, Wyo., got me thinking about the best and worst days on the hill this season.Jackson Hole boasts some spectacular terrain – steep chutes, scary drops and rolling groomers with world-class views. Not to mention the leg-burning 4,139-foot vertical drop. But the snow this particular day made skiing as difficult as carving a Thanksgiving turkey with a spoon. Painful on the feet, legs and – with the incessant scraping – the ears. A routine fall turned into a 150-foot whipper through trees and over bumps.Not the best day. That goes to one Tuesday in January at Highlands – the date for this “Fat Tuesday” is forgotten and doesn’t matter – when it spewed thick, wet flakes the night before and all that day. Temerity was suffocating, snow in Highland Bowl (opened for just a short time) tickled your belly button. And no one was there. It was easy to get lost after a fall and hard to leave for work that afternoon.A February day that included an untracked, knee-deep discovery in the beautiful G-zones with a beautiful girl takes second. It was absolutely silent in those trees, except for the whooping and hollering from skiers who’d made similar discoveries all over the bowl.Jackson Hole wasn’t the worst, either. An easily forgettable but somehow hard-to-forget day in late January at Aspen Mountain takes that honor. It started out promising: a smooth, glistening layer of fresh and a bright sunny sky. But under that sweet layer was one not unlike Jackson Hole’s hardshell. That was all right, though. It was a day to try some new terrain. Trainors would be the place, but it was closed. How about those runs I’d yet to try off International? Closed, closed and closed. Bingo Glades? Nope.A ride up the gondola and some bumps on Bell could salvage the day. But on Little Nell, an embarrassing ass slide. Time to dust off and give up.I hoped the nice couple in the gondola who were planning their day with a trail map of Buttermilk (no, you can’t ski to West Buttermilk from the Sundeck) had better luck.
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A new 6-mile jug handle trail has been added to the Emma side of land known as the Crown. The Vasten Trail provides options for mountain bikers in the popular area.