On the hill: Half full or half empty? | AspenTimes.com

On the hill: Half full or half empty?

SNOWMASS – Believe it or not, Tuesday is the tipping point for the 151-day ski season at Aspen-Snowmass.

Once Tuesday is over, we will have 76 days in the books since the season started on Thanksgiving Day, and we’ve got 75 to go until Aspen Highlands shuts down on Sunday, April 24.

Skiers and riders probably feel like the season is screaming by too fast; non-skiers probably can’t wait for winter to end.

This season is especially long with Highlands staying open an extra two weeks after its sister resorts close. Aspen Mountain and Snowmass close Sunday, April 10. Buttermilk closes Sunday, April 3.

The 151 days is the one of the longest, if not the longest, lift-served ski seasons ever at Aspen.

The first half of the season is coming to a close in grand style, thanks to a storm system that’s sending pulses of snow our way every day. The firm snowpack softened up nicely, and the troughs were getting filled in Saturday at Aspen Mountain.

My legs were close to shot by early afternoon when I skied to the bottom and ran into an old friend. He, too, was weighing whether to call it a day. Neither of us needed much persuasion to head back up the gondola and catch up on gossip before a final run. He made an excellent choice by leading us along the Ridge of Bell, where the bumps were particularly forgiving.

Sunday at Snowmass was “super” even before the football game. While heading up the High Alpine chairlift at mid-morning I counted 35 people on the visible part of the short hike to the Hanging Valley Headwall. I decided to avoid that crowd and, much to my delight, found powder pillows in the Reidar’s bumps. They were covered with 6 inches of snow with windblown pockets of about 8 inches. I topped off the perfect day with a hike into Hanging Valley, where untracked lines could still be found in late morning despite the steady stream of ants marching in.

I know our slopes aren’t uncrowded by design, but I’m thankful nonetheless that powder pigs can get their fill here.


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