Two months into my first Aspen ski season, I’m starting to find my stride. I’ve sought out moguls instead of accidentally stumbling upon them. Black-diamond runs are becoming a integral part of my morning routine. On Monday, I ramped up my speed and degree of difficulty, carving wide, quick turns down Ruthie’s Run. The sense of accomplishment and confidence was exhilarating.I’ve been living dangerously on flat ground of late, too. When I head down the steps at the gondola, I no longer hold the railing. Despite the urging of Skico, I go without sunscreen; with a few more days like Monday, the bottom half of my face will look like a red delicious.Just this weekend I went in for a haircut and when the barber asked if I wanted to go with No. 3 on the back and sides, I replied assertively, “No. Let’s go with a two this time.” It was not my best decision – I look 15. I fill my fondue pot well past the manufacturer’s suggested max-limit line. I continually throw dirty clothes on my bathroom floor, even though the laundry basket is clearly within tossing range. Instead of green beans or peas with my grilled chicken, I have Cooler Ranch Doritos and Dr. Pepper. I even ate out three times last week, and put it all on my credit card – I’ll be paying for that until mid-February. And when the plow makes its early-morning runs, beeping its horn to urge tenants to move their cars, I stick pieces of toilet paper in my ears and pull the comforter over my head. It’s just my way of saying thank you for the habitual 5 a.m. wake-up. Living dangerously. Just wait until I start skiing double-blacks.Avalanche reportAvalanche danger in the backcountry is moderate, with pockets of considerable above treeline.An avalanche Sunday on Grizzly Peak up Independence Pass is a prime example of what can happen on wind-loaded terrain above treeline. In fact, these pockets of considerable danger will be found any where above treeline that has had some wind loading during or after the last storm. Avalanche danger details provided by the Roaring Fork Avalanche Center. For more information, call 920-1664 or visit http://www.rfavalanche.org. For conditions around the state, call the Colorado Avalanche Information Center at 920-1664 or visit geosurvey.state.co.us/avalanche.
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Had Hailey Swirbul decided against going to Europe, she would not have finished with a career-best result in Friday’s World Cup opener. Yes, there was a time, and not long ago, when the U.S. ski team member and Roaring Fork Valley native questioned her desire to put on a race bib.