On the Hill: Treasure hunt | AspenTimes.com
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On the Hill: Treasure hunt

Janet Urquhart

My memory of the ski season is receding faster than the snow line on Buttermilk. I mark the advance of spring by the greening grass advancing toward the snow-crusted summit. In fact, I keep pretty close tabs on it, since my eyes are glued to the ground at my feet.It’s time for the annual treasure hunt, when hikers scour local slopes for the valuables inadvertently dropped months ago by skiers and boarders. As the snow melts, they re-emerge, there for the taking in accordance with that old adage: Finders keepers, losers weepers.So far this spring, I’ve come across a heavy brass cap that apparently screwed into a tube. It would have gone into my pocket when I was 8 years old, but I’ve refined my standards considerably since then. I’m looking for the stuff of legend – the Cartier watch, the diamond earring.A friend of mine once found a baggy of pot in still-smokeable condition. Talk about a pipe dream fulfilled.My personal fantasy runs more along the lines of spying the glint of a money clip and discovering a wad of no-longer-crisp bills of large denomination still in its grip. My reality is the occasional quarter lying in the grass.I have yet to ever find anything particularly valuable among the spent hand-warmers, tissues, tubes of lip balm, gum wrappers and other assorted detritus of a ski season past. Maybe I should abandon Buttermilk for Aspen Mountain, which no doubt sports a higher class of trash. As for the slope conditions, hikers won’t hit much in the way of snow until the top of Jacob’s Ladder on Main Buttermilk.Mountain bikers, the road up the hill has been plowed, but I’m betting there’s plenty of mud yet on the upper one-quarter to one-third of the mountain, where snow still lines the route. It’s nice and dry for at least half of the mountain though, but for the usual springtime goo right at the bottom.If you’re thinking about skiing, you’ll be carrying your skis a lot more than you’ll be wearing them. Be sure to look down.


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