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Local obsessions

Allyn Harvey

Everything is baking.

The slopes are baking at an alarming rate. In some places, the snowpack is rotting away to the point of being unskiable.

The snow on Limelight at the bottom of Aspen Highlands was so rotten Saturday that a solid pole plant would push through to the handle, three or so feet to the ground.

Further evidence of the deleterious effects of the May-like weather conditions (the high temperature on Sunday was 67 degrees) could be found in Highland Bowl.

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At about 11:30 a.m. Saturday, the Highlands ski patrol closed the sunny side of Before, an east-facing locals’ favorite. At about 1:30 p.m., some self-obsessed local decided to sneak under the rope and enjoy the sun-baked corn snow that everyone else was walking past.

Turns out that sun-baked corn snow was just a little overdone. Our villain, the self-obsessed local, ended up setting off a point slide that moved slowly but grew to a fairly significant size.

A point slide is the type of slide that, looking up the hill, appears to start from a pinpoint, growing wider as it moves down the hill. The depth of Saturday’s slide appeared to be 5 to 8 feet, depending on who was doing the estimating, all the way down to the surface.

Pretty much everyone on the hill this weekend was baking, too. Intense spring sunshine and temperatures in the 50s and 60s had skiers and snowboarders shedding layers. In the 1970s, such weather would have brought out a handful streakers. The pious 2000s, however, don’t lend themselves to such sights.

Despite all the warm weather, the Aspen Skiing Co. is reporting base levels on top that are fairly close to what they were at the end of last week. Aspen Highlands is reporting 70 inches on top (unless you measure the sunny side of Before, where the depth, thanks to one self-obsessed local, is zero). Snowmass has 68 inches, Aspen Mountain 51 and Buttermilk 44.

Get it early, and you get it good.


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