On the hill: Powder stashes near Marble | AspenTimes.com
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On the hill: Powder stashes near Marble

Bob Ward
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

MARBLE, Colo. – Nice to have a bit of new snow last weekend, wasn’t it?

Highland Bowl skied nicely on Sunday, so much that I dragged by my weary carcass up the ridge three times (Well, two and a third – we skied the Y Zones on the third lap.) There wasn’t a boatload of new snow, but there was enough to soften the ride underfoot and cast a few sparkling rooster-tails around.

At one point the ridge had the look of a crowded escalator, as seemingly everyone wanted to hike for some new snow and long fall lines.

Still, of course, most of us have had plenty of hardpack for one winter, and we’re all eager for some real dumps. It’s all well and good to carve the hardpack, but it’s infinitely more fun to cut the fluff.

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Which is the reason that I joined a couple of friends for an excursion to Marble on Monday. The snowpack in general was fragile, and there had even been a shallow, skier-triggered avalanche below Marble Peak, but we managed to find deep, creamy snow during two laps – one in the main gut of the bowl below the peak, and another through the trees on the skier’s left below the summit.

The temperatures were mild, the sky was mostly clear, and the snow was fantastic. Skinning up through the woods and skiing down, with only the sounds of the occasional chickadee and our own skis to accompany us, was a powerful reminder of why to make the extra effort to ski in the backcountry.

Yes, there were tumbles. All the turns were not pretty. But the tumbling was soft and no gear was lost. Chalk it up to skiing all that hardpack this winter; we were out of practice in God’s own unskied, unmanicured fluff.

Of course, it didn’t take long to make the adjustment. And by the time we returned to the car, the sheer delight of carving those deep, silent turns kept us yucking and beaming all the way home to Basalt. Well, that and the vintage AC/DC.

bward@aspentimes.com


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