Life is a long shot |

Life is a long shot

SNOWMASS ” Last Sunday I took my first run down Long Shot at Snowmass.

I’d seen people trudging up the hill on skier’s right at Elk Camp for a while now, but every time I asked, friends told me it was just a long, dull, intermediate run.

Well, it turns out I love long, dull intermediate runs.

In fact, one of my best memories of skiing as a kid was the six miles of trail on Killington Mountain called Juggernaut. It made skiing more of an adventure than just dropping down some steep ice sheet among the masses ” it was more about getting far away from the lifts and the chaos.

And so it was with Long Shot.

I’d met up with a bunch of skiers earlier in the day, and it took us the better part of the day just to get across the wide expanses of Snowmass from the Big Burn to Elk Camp (plus a stop for Rice Krispies treats and lots of cell phone calls to round up a crew).

A field of trees at the top of the run yielded surprising powder stashes a few days after the last snow, and then the trail narrowed to make a few fields of “hero bumps,” the kind you can just fly through and look like a circa-1994 Glen Plake without all the cartilage loss.

As it’s name suggest, Long Shot just doesn’t quit. The long runouts at the bottom meant covering some real terrain, and I was at once relieved and kind of let down to reach the Two Creeks lift.

Like that kid who fell in love with long trails at Killington, I was ready for “just one more” on what’s now one of my new favorites.

The Aspen Skiing Co. reported no new snow in the past 24 hours in its Saturday morning snow report.

The Colorado Avalanche Information Report for Saturday, Jan. 19 in the Aspen zone:

The avalanche danger is considerable on northeast, east, southeast and south aspects near and above treeline. Natural avalanches are possible and human-triggered ones probable. Triggered avalanches may be large and destructive. The avalanche danger on all other aspects near and above treeline and all slopes below treeline is moderate. Human-triggered avalanches are still possible on these slopes as well.

As the snowpack adjusts to the weight of our last storm, avalanches become harder to trigger. During this period, backcountry travelers commonly trigger slides in areas where the slab thins out or where more weak snow exists, around rocks, trees, or vegetation. Unfortunately, we don’t have x-ray glasses that allow us a look into the snowpack. Avoidance of likely trigger points, careful terrain selection, and conservative route finding will help you avoid triggering big avalanches.

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