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King bluebird day

Brent Gardner-Smith
Aspen Times Staff Writer

Wednesday may have been the most pleasant day of the season to go up on the mountain and slide around.

Blue skies. Fresh snow. Bright sunshine. Oh, man. “Perfect winter day,” one person called it.

You went up, right?

That’s good, because today is supposed to be cloudy with a slight chance of snow showers with highs in the lower 30s to lower 40s. And Friday is supposed to be mostly cloudy with another chance of snow showers.

So it could be that Wednesday was the bluebird day of the week. And since we haven’t had a warm sunny day in awhile, it sure felt suddenly like spring.

That brought some twinges. Could the season be ending already? Should we dwell on the off-season yet?

No, let’s focus on the here and now. Let’s go skiing and riding. But be careful in the backcountry. The avalanche danger for the central mountains (that’s us) has been raised to “considerable” on all elevations and aspects by the Colorado Avalanche Information Center.

“The weakest snow is found in the Aspen and Crested Butte zones of the Elk and West Elk Mountains,” CAIC forecaster Dale Atkins wrote. “Only about a foot of snow has fallen in this area since last Thursday; however, winds on Monday caused some blowing snow.

“Numerous avalanches have been reported [Wednesday] in the Elks immediately south of Aspen. With light winds I don’t expect natural releases, but triggered releases will be probable at all elevations.”

If you go, go with care (she’s a close relative of hope).

Meanwhile, on Little Nell, the Jeep King of the Mountain Series course was shaping up yesterday.

The World Professional Ski and Snowboard Championship Finals are set for Friday and Saturday. The races begin with training runs on Friday at 9:30 a.m., the National Open Qualifier at 10:30 a.m., and the final Mountain Challenge race at 2 p.m.

The professional races will be held Saturday, with the first round of 16 at 11:30 a.m. and the semifinals and finals at 6 p.m. under the lights.

The races will be on a “Y” race course, which begins with a side-by-side dual slalom course. Midway through the course, the two racers are forced together into a single set of gates ending with a table jump just above the finish.

First one down wins, regardless of their time.

Skiers and snowboarders compete in a progressive race format where winners go to the next of three rounds.

And the winner is the King of the Mountain.


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