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Joyous, soft, forgiving

Brent Gardner-Smith

It’s kind of like being in love. When the snow starts to pile up, the whole world is suddenly joyous, soft and forgiving.

All runs get fun and all slopes hold promise. And, oh, the simple pleasure of carving turns on soft corduroy. To arc a turn and not hear, or feel, any scraping. Ooh, that’s nice. Ah, yes, a little lower …

At Snowmass, the 72-inch base and 2 feet of snow that has fallen in the last week have combined to bring the ski area to a level not seen for a few seasons. Snowmass is now scrumptious. Full-bodied.

And, no, I am never satisfied.

For Snowmass skis really well when the base gets into that 80-inches-and-above range. The chutes fill in. And you can romp with impunity through the trees.

So now that we’ve got a decent snowpack out there, it is time to really bring on the snow. Just think think how good it would be to get a couple of 2-foot dumps …

But for now, we’ll welcome the consistency of a bit of snow each day.

Last night, there were hopes for 1 to 3 inches (among skiers). Today, snow showers are likely all day and another 2 to 4 inches is possible by day’s end.

Tonight, there’s a good chance of snow showers. Same for Saturday. On Sunday, there’s also the possibility of some showers.

So on we go.

There are now six weekends left for Highlands and Buttermilk and seven for Aspen Mountain and Snowmass.

Seven weekends!

Seven more chances to call your best friend and have him or her meet you at the bucket at 8:45 a.m.

Seven more weekends to take the whole fam damily up to the ski area for a few runs and a nice long late lunch with a bottle of wine.

Seven more weekends to ski both days, all day, and come home in a new state of mind.

So hop to it.

And good luck on Saturday to all the freeride competitors at Snowmass.

It was clear, by all the traffic Thursday on the steep slopes to the skier’s left of the Hanging Valley Headwall, that there are some skiers in town with some serious courage who are willing to take some sick lines through steep, narrow, rocky chutes.

Of course, this is not to be confused with a line in a closed area to the left of Roberto’s taken earlier the week by one lucky young man, who was swept off a cliff only to stick what must have been huge, huge, huge air.

Now, no rewards should ever be given for skiing into a closed area. But maybe this young kid who wanted so badly to enter the freeride contest has already impressed the field.


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