On the hill: Springtime sets in | AspenTimes.com

On the hill: Springtime sets in

ASPEN – It’s hard to believe it’s mid-March. And it’s even harder to believe that, for the most part, winter has come and gone.

Sure, it will snow again. And with the global weirdness we’ve been experiencing on the weather front this year, it wouldn’t surprise me one bit to see the white stuff fall well past the close of ski season.

But winter – honest-to-goodness winter, where it snows and sticks for a good long time – is over. No more cross-country skiing in town, no more sledding down south-facing slopes, no more pointing the skis downhill without fear of hitting rocks, grass and slush pits.

Disagree with me? Here’s the logic:

The Aspen Golf Course is hardly holding any snow; a few stretches look almost golf-ready. Thus, nordic skiing at the golf course – and the nearby trails – is a thing of the past. Even if it does snow, the angle of the spring sun surely will melt out the tracks before too many laps can be taken.

Smuggler, a staple of my winter hiking/sledding regimen, is also in meltdown mode. The bottom is clear of snow; the middle is a muddy mess; the top is a chunky, icy, slushy scene. And like the golf course, new snow isn’t going to stick for long.

Up on the mountain, it’s still winter – at least in the morning. But by mid- to late afternoon, it’s definitely spring skiing. I love spring skiing – don’t get me wrong. But the rocks are starting to show again, grass is peeking out on certain pitches, and I actually schussed through a small pond on the runout from Highlands to the AVSC clubhouse on Friday.

So, here’s to the arrival of spring and summer. And here’s to remembering that when Old Man Winter does make an appearance in the coming weeks and months, it will be a short visit.


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