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Highland bar

Steve Benson

Did anybody not hike Highland Bowl on Saturday?The top of Highland Peak looked like a bus stop most of Saturday, as patrol opened the North Woods gate for the first time since the storm. The gathering, which was visible from a distance, offered a surreal scene at 12,392 feet. Perched above the massive cavern of Highland Bowl, the small shelf-like summit was at full capacity for most of the day – wading through the crowd was like bellying your way up to a crowded bar. Cameras and smiles were flashing in abundance. While the North Woods Gate was opened mid-morning, it was temporarily closed mid-day as patrol altered the position of a few ropes. The middle of the bowl – Full Circle to B-Fore – remained closed. Patrol planned to conduct more control work in that area overnight and will re-evaluate conditions today. But don’t expect an opening for at least a couple of days. G-6 and G-8 were loaded with deep, heavy snow and crowds. Reports indicate the snow is lighter farther out in the G’s.With all of the attention given to the bowl, most of the rest of the mountain seemed like a ghost town. Oly Bowl was totally empty of people and full of soft snow. The groomers are skiing like a race track – smooth and fast. Aspen Mountain is 100 percent open – except for Trainors. But the steep, technical and rarely opened rocky area off the shoulder of Shadow Mountain has not been forgotten. Patrol will continue to keep an eye on Trainors and allow the snow to settle. There are whispers the gem may not be far from opening. There’s a slight chance of snow today through Monday with high pressure keeping skies sunny and dry through the rest of the week. Steve Benson’s e-mail is sbenson@aspentimes.com


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