On the hill: Power of four means something else in spring | AspenTimes.com

On the hill: Power of four means something else in spring

Scott Condon
The Aspen Times
Aspen CO Colorado

ASPEN – The power of four, indeed.

I’m not talking about the Aspen Skiing Co.’s effective marketing theme that ties the four local ski areas together. I’m talking about four excellent days of outdoor activity, made possible by the friendly environs of Western Colorado.

It started with a road bike ride on Saturday – just a simple spin from El Jebel to Old Snowmass via the Emma Trail and the Basalt-Old Snowmass Trail, then back on the Rio Grande. I beat the storm that rolled into the valley, though not by much.

Sunday was time for downhill skiing on the closing day at Aspen Mountain. Skico reported 6 inches of snow over the prior 24 hours. Choosing trails wisely yielded some superb skiing and the pond plunge at Bonnie’s was a hoot.

Monday was my first real mountain bike ride of the season. I took a day off and traveled to Westwater for a ride that combined a jeep road section of the Kokopelli Trail with a delightful little single-track. The 3-hour, 15-minute ride was perfect for early in the season – strenuous enough to make a small, incremental gain in condition and technical enough to blow the cobwebs off my handling skills. After the ride I crawled onto the rocks where I parked, beer in one hand, turkey-and-Swiss-cheese sandwich in the other and soaked in the sun in a way that wasn’t possible, for me, since October. (My daughter and I went to Portland rather than the desert for our annual spring break trek, so it was decidedly more set this year.)

The four days of fabulous activities culminated Tuesday morning with a skin up to the Merry-Go-Round Restaurant at Aspen Highlands. We were actually glad to be in the shade while slogging up since temperatures were in the upper 20s.

I know that four-day stretch was nothing special for some folks around here, but fitting the diverse activities around work got my endorphins working overtime.