On the hill: That’s more like it
SNOWMASS – All is well again in Never Never Land.
It finally felt like winter on Sunday. I know, I know. The folks at Aspen Skiing Co. and the die-hards have been saying that conditions weren’t all that bad prior to Sunday. That’s definitely a glass-half-full view.
You could ski many of the slopes Sunday without risking serious damage to your skis or board. The snow was heavy yet soft. It just felt right, and the ski areas looked right. Finally.
We’re spoiled around here. We usually have ample snow cover and few people. We’ve had the few people so far this season. Now we’ve finally got the snow cover. Our collective stress level just eased immensely. We can go back to being Peter Pan, not worrying about growing up.
I didn’t have such a Peter Pan-ish morning Sunday. After feeding some friends’ cats and walking my dog, I took off for the slopes. I arrived at Snowmass at mid-morning and found that not only the Rodeo Lot but the overflow area were filled. That’s only the second time I remember that.
To the credit of Skico and the town of Snowmass Village, they had a contingency plan that worked. They directed cars to a lot by the Snowmass Club. A shuttle delivered us to the transportation hub, where it was easy to catch the regular shuttle to the ski area base. Job well done.
Despite the crowds in the parking lots, the ski area didn’t feel all that busy. I had one chairlift ride alone at 12:30 p.m. and followed it up with just one other rider on a high-speed quad the next round. Think that was happening in Vail or Breckenridge on Sunday?
The 13 inches of new snow on Saturday night ensure that Buttermilk once again will look wonderful for the Winter X Games. The Skico crews did a marvelous job getting the base area covered in snow, considering how little help they had from Mother Nature. But the ESPN camera operators would have needed to do some creative panning to avoid showing how dry it really was. That all changed this weekend. Now millions will see there’s a decent amount of snow.
Let’s hope this isn’t the swan song for the X Games at Buttermilk.
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The city of Aspen’s office building is exempt from paying encroachment fees, yet private developers have to now pay $9 a square foot, per month, starting in 2020.