Not bad; not too bad at all |

Not bad; not too bad at all

Tim Dudley

The first and last time I skied Aspen before this season was more than 15 years ago, and it was a minor disappointment.Granted I was a naive adolescent decked out, if memory serves, in a neon green and yellow jacket and rear-entry boots, and it was early April after a particularly warm spell. Still, it wasn’t what I’d come to expect from the Rockies.Buttermilk by then was closed. Skiers had to download in the Silver Queen – or ski the bottom half of the mountain on dirt. The end-of-day run down Fanny Hill resembled a class II section of the Roaring Fork. Highlands was unmemorable, which might mean it was skiing the best.Not that it was a bad trip. My Michigan “mountains” can’t compare to even heat-ruined half-slopes around here. It was warm and sunny. There was plenty of good eatin’ afterward. There was complaining, but only a little.Thursday’s sunny, bluer-than-blue skies, warm temps and spring-like snow brought that week to mind. There were more than a few remarks about that gorgeous sky on the tramp up Highland Bowl. The sun-softened snow clumped, shaved and skittered down Kessler’s. The sunblock bottle at the midmountain guest service center was working overtime (to the tune of Metallica in the background – now that brings one back).Thankfully, there was no mandatory downloading Thursday on Ajax, Buttermilk’s still wide open, there were no lifeguards called to duty on lower Snowmass, and Highlands was surely better than forgettable.By all reports, it’s been a strong winter so far – with 30 days still to go before spring hits. But no doubt the lifts played host yesterday to a few horror stories like the ones I’ve heard about some heat wave last March that ravaged the last part of the season.Here’s to better luck this year. And if we suffer the same fate, there’ll be only a little complaining here.

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