On the hill: Powder days are here again | AspenTimes.com

On the hill: Powder days are here again

Jeanne McGovern
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO, Colorado

ASPEN – What’s that old saying … absence makes the heart grow fonder? Well, it’s true.

The absence of snow – not to mention bona fide powder days – this season made the last two days on the hill seem like a slice of heaven.

Now don’t get me wrong, the snow was fantastic and the skiing pretty darn fun. But in an average year, I am not sure my heart would have been quite so fond of my recent moments on the mountain (especially the bitter cold of Tuesday morning).

But there we were, hootin’ and hollerin’ as we made our way down the slopes without a care in the world. Forget the fact rocks could still be seen, and who cares that the temperature was subzero? These were powder days – perhaps the finest ones we’ve seen all season.

On Monday, Tiehack at Buttermilk was the call. The snow was flying – hard, at times – and it seemed like nobody else was exploring the Timberdoodle Glades. The snow was soft and deep, and the trees made the visibility just fine.

Of course land mines were still out there. My son, thrilled at the idea of skiing what was to him thigh-deep powder, barreled right across the hill and went tips first into something (rock? log? mega-mogul?). As he pulled a Superman – flying several feet ahead, losing skis, poles and goggles along the way – I should have been worried about his safety. Instead, I was thinking: Thank God it’s a powder day: His landing will be soft.

Needless to say, we were both fond of the fluff at that moment.

On Tuesday, my friends and I toyed with the idea of Aspen Mountain. But with the dearth of powder days this winter, we knew the line at the gondola would be long (and, apparently, it was). We chose Highlands, and it was a good call.

No, the Bowl wasn’t open. And yes, the wind was howling as we got above Cloud Nine. But like I said before, absence makes the heart grow fonder, and I haven’t had a really good day on Highlands yet this year.

Thus, doing laps on the middle mountain, finding powder stashes pretty much everywhere, was perfect. Even taking my first real fall of the year was fun. Well, maybe not fun, but at least I could say, “Thank God it’s a powder day: My landing will be soft.” And it was.


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