Local Spotlight: Snowmass kids Emily and Siri Bassion aim for a perfect ski season
Sisters on track to ski every day of 2020-21 season
Snowmass Village sisters Emily and Siri Bassion love the Coney Glade terrain park at Snowmass. And the Powerline Glades near Big Burn. And the moguls near the Village Express, and the cruisers on Max Park, and the jumpable tree trails anywhere they can find them.
In just over an hour of after-school skiing, the Aspen Elementary School students (Emily, age 7, is in second grade; Siri, 9, is in fourth) shred more of the mountain from 3 to 4:15 p.m. than some cover from bell to bell.
Every single day of the season, too, with longer sessions on weekends. The Bassion girls are on track to log a perfect season this year in a nonstop skiing streak that began on opening day in November and won’t end until the lifts stop turning at Snowmass on April 25.
The hybrid learning model and lack of after-school commitments due to the pandemic has worked in their favor, giving them the free time and flexibility to log four consecutive months of daily shredding.
“I told my dad I want coronavirus to not end because I want to keep skiing,” Emily said while riding the Village Express on March 17.
“I want to keep skiing the perfect season,” she said.
They have the on-snow skills and hardware to show for their efforts — Emily and Siri outpace and out-adventure the average adult on the mountain, and they’re proud to show off their 100-day pins while waiting in line for the Village Express.
Each had two pins to display: one earned this year, on the 100th day of the season, and one earned last year in early May, after they racked up more than 50 pandemic skiing days powered by hikes up the mountain and drives to the top of Wood Road to ski back down after the lifts closed, according to their mom, Kirsten Bassion.
A rainbow of tallies on their homemade “Coronavirus Ski Day Tracker” from the 2019-20 season helped them keep tabs on their progress; the sisters were just over halfway to 100 days of lift-served skiing when the resort shut down due to the pandemic in March.
“We tried to make fun out of COVID,” Siri said.
So far it seems to be working, if the squeals of delight coming from the slopes are any indication.
Spontaneous playdates happen on the mountain too, as was the case last week: the sisters spotted their pal Alexa Greenfield while riding the Big Burn chairlift and wasted no time speeding down the mountain to catch up. Nine-year-old Greenfield has nearly 90 days this season herself; it didn’t take long for the girls to venture into the trees in search of jumps and drops where they could catch some air on the way down.
“The enthusiasm that these girls have for skiing is contagious,” said Alexa’s mom, Staci Greenfield, while watching them line up to jump a small cliff last week.
There isn’t much that can put a damper on the excitement, either.
“I think they also see it as, they were deprived for a little while, not being able to (ski),” Kirsten said.
Every element of the experience — from answering riddles on the lift ride up to practicing park features to exploring in the woods — can elicit giggles from the whole bunch.
Sure, there are days when they’re tired from a long school day, and days when freezing temps and icy slopes make for some not-so-fun moments on the slopes, according to Siri and Emily.
But the season highlights make it well worth the endeavor. Siri’s favorite day of the season so far was a hike to the Highland Bowl with an all-girls crew from the Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club, she said.
As for Emily, it’s hard to beat the storm that brought 20 inches of snow to Snowmass in February.
When you’re a 4-foot-tall second-grader, that’s waist-deep powder worth chasing.
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Warm and dry conditions to start the winter have kept all but the higher elevation slopes free of snow. That is expected to change by the end of the week and the avalanche hazard could start to climb, according to Colorado Avalanche Information Center.