On the Hill: Crazy for corduroy
The Aspen Times
Aspen CO, Colorado
SNOWMASS ” Given the assembled multitude of drooling skiers, you’d think untracked freshies lay just beyond the rope. Nope. We were all standing around waiting for a taste of corduroy.
And we were willing to break the law to get at it.
My chance encounter with the “noon groom” at Snowmass last weekend was an eye-opener. A friend and I quickly noticed no one seemed to be skiing Whispering Jesse, just to the skier’s right of the Big Burn chair, so we headed in that direction for our first run of the morning.
Turns out it was untouched because it was roped off. It was, in fact, the designated noon groom. I had always assumed they sent a groomer out to smooth out a run for the noon groom, but apparently, sometimes a run is simply kept off-limits until the appointed hour.
I’d have scoffed at the notion that more than a handful of skiers and boarders would make a point of showing up at noon for a groomer ” until we did. One long, dust-on-crust run on Sheer Bliss was enough to convince us of two things: We’d need to get our edges sharpened and we shouldn’t be late for the magic hour on Whispering Jesse.
We stopped about 50 feet above the tape and gazed in amazement. I counted 74 people waiting for the rope to drop and more were gathering by the second.
Noon came. And went.
No one showed up to drop the rope, leaving us milling about, grumbling and consulting our wristwatches. Inevitably, someone made the first move, ducking under the rope for blissful turns on the crisp carpet.
My companion and I decided to let the first wave pass. No sense in sharing the run with 100 other people, some of whom were no doubt marginal skiers at best.
Let me just state for the record, I did not duck a rope ” an offense that can get one’s pass pulled. By the time we approached the tape, it had been trampled into the snow. We gingerly skied across it, laughing at the prospect of a ski patrol ambush at the bottom. I’d never hear the end of it from friends if I got my pass pulled for poaching corduroy.
I’d certainly never admit it was worth it.
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