Hard headed | AspenTimes.com

Hard headed

Charles Agar
Aspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN ” Like an asthmatic kid watching from behind a screen door as his friends play in freshly mown fields, I missed out on the recent epic powder days because of a fall.

Over the weekend I was on my skis more than my street shoes. I had a great Saturday making laps in Hanging Valley Wall at Snowmass and a Sunday full of dropping into Temerity at Highlands.

But on my last run at the end of the weekend, I followed some friends down the bumps on Lower Stein at the base of Highlands. It’s a big climb to get out of the little valley at the base of the run, so I kept up my speed ” it turns out a little too much speed.

Instead of gliding up the catwalk, I hit a depression and pancaked. In an instant everything went black.

My skis stuck in the snow, I slid about 15 feet (uphill), bent one pole, and when I stood up my head was throbbing.

I collected my gear, a little dazed, and skied to the base of Highlands. And on the bus ride back to Aspen, my fellow skiers noted that my pupils were dilated, my eyes were a little glazed, and I didn’t look too good.

I talked with a patroller at the base of Aspen Mountain who said I probably had a slight concussion, my second in two years, which is frightening because head injuries are cumulative.

His advice: Take a few days off and ” most important ” slow down.

So these last few days, as my co-workers stumbled into the office with wind-burned cheeks, a certain glow in their eyes and these stupid perma-grins on their faces, I’ve been resentfully hunched over my computer wondering if all my synapses are still firing.

“How was it?” I’d ask.

The answer usually was an exasperated grunt and a look to the heavens.

Translation: incredible.

I’ve had to have that lesson burned into my consciousness.

The Aspen Skiing Co. reported 1 inch of new snow in the past 24 hours at all four local ski areas in its Wednesday morning report.

The Colorado Avalanche Information Center report for the Aspen zone on Wednesday, Feb. 6:

The avalanche danger is considerable on all aspects and elevations. Natural avalanches are possible and human-triggered ones probable on all slopes 30 degrees and steeper. Areas of higher avalanche danger are possible in the southwest corner of the Aspen zone, where snow totals are over 2 feet since Sunday. Keep an eye out for these variable conditions that can change from one valley to the next. The snowpack is tender and will require a cautious approach to backcountry travel at this time.

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