On the Hill: A good start
November 27, 2006
Two days of weekend skiing couldn’t have been more different.Having vowed to earn more of my turns (i.e. skin up, ski down) this season, I headed for Buttermilk with a friend Saturday for our first outing of the season. My quads were screaming 10 minutes into the climb, but the day was warm, and the snow – more creamy than fluffy – provided mostly decent coverage, since we started about halfway up the mountain from the West Buttermilk parking lot.We zigzagged upward alone, but for the two dogs in our company, and the pair of snowboarders and pooch we encountered as we headed down. The descent, as always, was harder than the climb. I managed some truly awful tele turns between falls, blaming the latter on the dogs – they kept darting back and forth in front of me.The snow conditions were hardly prime (I did ding up a ski), but I couldn’t complain. We had the slopes beneath the silent chairlift pretty much to ourselves, and the exertion was gratifying. We earned not only our turns, but also a stop at the Woody Creek Tavern. Fresh snow fell on Aspen Mountain as I boarded the gondola Sunday morning for my first day of lift-served skiing. I figured on an inch or two of fresh snow on top of truly crusty groomers, but was pleasantly surprised to find plenty of soft turns and fresh tracks until I left a couple of hours later. That’s not to say there weren’t patches of earth and gravel emerging on some of the groomers, though. A friend said I left exposed dirt with each turn through fresh snow beneath a stretch of the Gent’s Ridge chair.The growing crowd at the Ajax Express chair (the only one running on top other than the glacially advancing Gent’s Ridge lift) finally drove me off the mountain, but I found fresh tracks in Tourtelotte Park for my final two runs on quaking legs.I was thankful for the mandatory download on the gondola. After my first two days of the winter on skis, I was in no shape to ski to the bottom.Nonetheless, the first two days were good ones.Today’s snow report: The Aspen Skiing Co. is reporting 9 inches of new snow this morning atop Aspen Mountain and Snowmass and snow continues to fall.The Aspen Times, Aspen, Colo.