Milking the ‘Milk
December 20, 2005
I was late in clomping up the snowy streets to the gondola plaza early Tuesday and dreading what I figured would be a swarm of people waiting to grab a bucket up.If I’m not at the front of a line, I’d rather not be in it at all.My route, however, serendipitously took me past Rubey Park, where I happened past the Buttermilk bus just minutes from departure. On a whim, I tossed my skis in the rack and grabbed a seat. My first ‘Milk run of the season was suddenly on the agenda.There’s nothing like making the right call on a powder day, even if it’s only a minor powder day.By the time I reached Buttermilk, there were maybe six people in the lift line. By the time I grabbed the third chair up 15 minutes later, the mob had grown to 20 or so early risers.I headed straight for Tiehack, where perhaps 3 or 4 inches of fresh stuff coated runs that had been groomed the night before. Nothing epic, or even particularly challenging, but Javelin was soft, speedy and all mine. I set down the first tracks of the day without another soul in sight. The second run of the day found me alone on Racer’s Edge. For the third, I was back on Javelin, carving a new set of turns parallel to my first effort. Again, I had the run to myself.By my fourth run, it was apparent one or two others had made their way down while I was inching upward on the plodding Tiehack chair. Still, it’s hard to complain about tracked-up powder when I know half of the tracks are my own. And I had yet to share a run with anyone in my line of sight.I meant to head down main Buttermilk then, but untouched freshies right along the trees of Ptarmigan lured me down the Tiehack side one last time.Finally, there were other people. Latecomers. A gang of ski instructors, screaming kids and other assorted intrusions into my reverie had suddenly multiplied as I approached the lift.No matter. I’d already milked the ‘Milk.Avalanche reportAbove treeline, the backcountry avalanche danger in the Roaring Fork Valley is considerable on N-E-SE aspects and moderate on other aspects. At treeline the danger is moderate with pockets of considerable on N-E-SE aspects. Below treeline the danger is moderate.Avalanche danger details provided by the Roaring Fork Avalanche Center. For more information, call 920-1664 or visit http://www.rfavalanche.org. For conditions around the state, call the Colorado Avalanche Information Center at 920-1664 or visit geosurvey.state.co.us/avalanche.