Here’s to keeping the family safe and sound while skiing Aspen’s resorts | AspenTimes.com

Here’s to keeping the family safe and sound while skiing Aspen’s resorts

Anna Stonehouse
The Aspen Times

Let's be honest, those of us who ski or snowboard have probably ended up on terrain we don't belong on at some point in our lives.

Last year, two of my relatives who live in the North Carolina and are good skiers but far from experts did just that out in Whistler, B.C. They managed to ski off the resort into deep snow in the backcountry or sidecountry, weren't wearing helmets, fell off a cliff and miraculously got rescued by a film crew who was back in the same area.

This was one of the most horrific stories for me to hear. I love these relatives dearly and the thought of losing them from making a mistake I'm sure most of us have made was incredibly scary.

It's accidents like this that we write about in the paper that don't always have the positive outcome that occurred this time with my uncle and cousin. After hearing this story, I reached out to my aunt and said, "Why didn't they come to Aspen? I would've kept them safe and they could ski incredible terrain inbounds here!"

My aunt firmly agreed, the annual ski trip got changed and she brought them to Aspen for the first time this past weekend. My uncle told me he'd like for the family to all be on the same mountain Friday but my aunt and other cousin are strictly green-run skiers.

They had every intention of going up Aspen Mountain all together, and I'm sure a lot of people have made the mistake before, because I knew if they were beginner skiers they would for sure have a bad time on the steep terrain of Aspen Mountain.

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We ended up at Snowmass for a full day of skiing with terrain we all could enjoy. Conditions couldn't have been more perfect: bluebird skies but not too hot, fresh snow from the storm we had all week and barely a crowd. After getting set up with rentals and helmets we were ready to hit the slopes. I still get blown away by the views and awesome skiing around here after living here for three years. It was so fun to share it with people I love and see their excitement. Definitely had an "I told you so" moment on the lift with them and have hopefully created an annual visit from them here on out.

I had to work Saturday but sent the family to Buttermilk in the morning and my uncle and cousin joined me on Aspen Mountain for the afternoon. My uncle was in shock on his first run on Aspen Mountain. It was a blue heading down to Buckhorn Cabin to see me. He successfully made it down after losing some confidence with the steep grades on Aspen Mountain.

"A blue on Aspen Mountain is quite a bit different than blues on Buttermilk," he said.

Isn't that the truth?

I took a run with him all the way to the base and he was just beaming from the enjoyment of the rest of the run. He immediately hopped on the gondola to do take another.

When you love where you live it's such a treat to share it with friends and family. I'm so glad I got to guide them around our special ski town we have here and kept them safe.

Anna Stonehouse is the staff photographer for The Aspen Times.

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