Newman, Sloman and just sick, man
A few locals were catching their breath on the summit of Highland Peak yesterday afternoon about 3 o’clock. It was dumping, still. The gate to G-8 and G-6 had just opened. And yet it was just another one of those days at Highlands – no rush, plenty for everyone.The talk turned to Saturday’s fifth annual Inferno race – the uphill/downhill affair in the Bowl.Will veteran Highlands ski patroller Jimmy “Inhuman” Newman be racing? Newman, after all, won the first three Infernos and owns the course record of 25 minutes and 33 seconds (from Inferno II). Last year, however, a knee injury sidelined him.Where is Newman anyway?”I can’t speak for Newman,” one Highlands patroller, sounding annoyed, told On The Hill. “He’s gone for the week. Everybody’s asking about Newman, and Newman’s not talking. I have no idea if he’s racing or not.”Yesterday atop the Bowl, it was suggested that Newman might be in a Rocky Balboaesque Siberian seclusion, training on slopes steeper and deeper than those at his home hill.Nope, one of the locals said, “He’s just down in Silverton.”Oh, yeah, so the skiing was good, too. What else would you expect? Rent grandma some demo B3s, cancel all appointments and suck up those four wisdom teeth you just had extracted. The time is now.Last night found legendary Aspen (and Alaskan and Himalayan) mountain guide Bob Sloezen teaching an avalanche safety course for Skico employees at the base of Highlands. “Sloman,” as he’s known, has worked at Highlands since the 1970s, but he’s in his first year as a ski patroller. Hence his self-styled name tag that reads, “Sloman – rookie.”Ever-quotable, Sloman slung a few gems during last night’s chalk talk:”Necking. No, I’m not talking about sitting in the back of a car and making out. It’s part of the bonding process, you know, for snow crystals.”Today’s report: It’s too good to miss. Snowmass is reporting 9 inches of new snow in the last 24 hours, Highlands and Buttermilk picked up 8, and Aspen Mountain has has 7. About foot of new snow or more has fallen on local slopes in the past two days. This morning looks to be one of blue skies and plenty o’ powder.
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