On the Hill: Christmas in Aspen gets a little powder joy | AspenTimes.com

On the Hill: Christmas in Aspen gets a little powder joy

A couple of skiers ride through the clouds Monday for early runs on Christmas morning at Aspen Mountain.
David Krause / The Aspen Times |

Yeah, I got caught up in the predictions and prognostications. I love me a good winter storm warning.

So it was that as I watched the forecasts intensify and worked the phones on Christmas Eve for a travel advisory story, the National Weather Service guesstimate of 8 to 16 inches of snow above Aspen had me worked into pitch.

It didn’t help that I was out of town last week and missed Thursday’s better-late-than-never powder day coming-out party for the season.

All I wanted was just the bottom half of that 8-to-16 prediction. Heck, they got 14 inches in Steamboat on Saturday night. We were primed.

As I left the office Sunday evening, I was chided by a co-worker who thought my 50-year-old naivete was, for lack of a better word, precious. Lambaste me all you want, I thought, I’m sticking to my optimism. You can have your bah and your humbug.

I know how it works. I’ve written headlines at night that included “6-8 inches in forecast” and woke up 10 hours later to 26 inches (Loveland, October 1997). And more than once I have previewed snowmageddons that left behind a dusting and required just a broom to clear.

But first-chair powder on Christmas with your teenagers while Mom is stuck in Denver? Yes, please, Santa.

We did our quick Christmas breakfast, concluded the presents should wait for Mom and scurried to get in the gondola line by 8:15 a.m.

As we emerged from the Silver Queen just before 9 a.m. and into the cloud that had enveloped the top of Aspen Mountain, it wasn’t there. It wasn’t 16 … or 8. It was 4.

But sliding into powder deeper than the angry inch we’ve picked up here and there this season made all the dismay go away. From there it was fun and floating.

This is why we choose to live or visit here. Snow therapy.

Do I mind paying $10 at the Sundeck for the same grilled cheese sandwich I made the night before? Not on this day. With a soda? No problem. And a cookie the size of your face? Get two.

And, yes, we had grilled cheese (sourdough, real butter and three slices of the good cheese just like at the Sundeck), tomato soup and Doritos for Christmas Eve dinner in Aspen while Mom was playing planes, trains and automobiles to get home.

Any Christmas in Aspen is a good Christmas. Having powder as an untracked present under the trees just adds to the sheer joy in this world.

Let’s do it again on New Year’s Day first chair. Who’s in?


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