High Points: The recipe for a perfect ski day | AspenTimes.com

High Points: The recipe for a perfect ski day

Paul E. Anna
High Points
Stein Eriksen skiing through powder on Snowmass, 1967. Fifty-six years later, skier and riders are still on the mission for a perfect powder day.
Aspen Historical Society

No doubt there were plenty of skiers and boarders who described their ski days this week as “the best day ever.”

Especially this past Tuesday after a snowstorm piled powder higher than half a foot in spots, and a brilliant sun came out of hiding to shine, putting a sparkle on the freshly-fallen snow. And, while it was cold enough to keep the snow feather light, it was not the below-zero cold that came the following morning. Yes, the last day of January 2023 had all the ingredients needed to make it one of the best ski days ever. While nothing is perfect, that Tuesday came pretty close.

But that’s the thing about skiing, right? Everyone has a different idea of what constitutes the perfect, or the best, day. I mean, if you are that person who climbed and conquered the Highland Bowl for the first time Tuesday, the satisfaction surely comes from the scope of your accomplishment as much as from the conditions of the day. If you are a regular, it may have been just another day in paradise.

That same morning, up on the Magic Carpet at the top of Elk Camp in Snowmass, there likely were more than a few “never-evers” who made their first turns in the groomed residue of the previous night’s powder. For them, this may have been the best day ever — even it was just their first — again, because of the achievement of trying something new combined with the sublime conditions of the day.

Over at Buttermilk where the clean-up was still going on after a successful X Games, the thrill may have been a ride in the half-pipe for a boarder who had come to work the games and finally gotten a shot at a run, post-events. There’s no better way to have a great day than to ride in the grooves laid down by champions. Especially in the sun.

For some, the perfect ski day is solo in the powder. “There are no friends on a powder day!” goes the saying, as powder hounds are lone dogs who look to get in as many turns as possible, unencumbered by others who may slow them down. Then there are those who are social skiers, who find perfection when skiing with a group with friends and/or family members. The “Over the Hillers,” that ski gang of over 50-year-old plus skiers who meet each Tuesday at the Ullrhof on Snowmass, surely had a day of days this week skiing with friends in the freshies.

But I guess that’s the other thing about skiing. And nobody knows this better than the “Over the Hillers” — just about every ski season has its own perfect day. In fact, most have more than one. While perfection is a “to each his/her own” thing, the fact is that, in skiing, there are always great days that fill the perfection agenda. That may be why so many people do it.

There are few things in life that give many of us as much joy and happiness as a great ski day. To be able to live in — or just visit — a place that provides the opportunity to debate the question of whether a given day is more perfect for sliding on snow than any other is a complete gift.

The bottom line? Any ski day can be the best day ever.