On The Hill
For the past five months, I've been listening to the people around me talking smack about this ski season's lackluster snow. I wish it had snowed more, too. And I wish I had gotten out there more. But the times that I have gone up have been quality experiences.
Even when I went to Vail to catch up with old high school friends over Presidents Weekend it was a fairly quality experience (those blackout dates on the Epic Pass work pretty well).
But there were still hundreds of people standing in the lift line at the base, and 20-minute waits on the mountain. So in order to hang with my friends, I had to abandon my policy of not standing in lines (except for a Widespread Panic show or a Pronto Pup at the Minnesota State Fair).
My overall skiing experience in Vail was a positive one. I forget how vast those bowls are. Vail also has public decks at various places on the mountain, some with grills so you can B.Y.O.M.
But at the end of the day, nothing can beat the skiing here. Our product is vastly better than anywhere else. And we owe that to Aspen Skiing Co., its stellar snow management crew, ski patrol and just our general way of life here.
We are spoiled with hardly any lift lines and on-mountain crews who bend over backward to accommodate us. Last Friday, Skico kept the lifts running until 6:30 p.m. on Aspen Mountain. I was one of the lucky ones to get fresh corduroy at 4 p.m. on Upper Buckhorn and North American. And with no lift line at chair 3, I was lapping it up. Thanks for doing that, Skico.
Earlier this year, on one of the few powder days there were, I made an unprecedented decision to stop for free "powder pancakes." I went into the Sundeck to get some around 10:45 a.m. The website said they were available until 11. The look of disappointment on my face when I learned they cut that off at 10 a.m. was enough for the guy in charge to buy my friend and I lunch. He didn't have to do that, so thank you.
I've been to three cabin parties on Ajax this year, and the accommodations given by patrollers have been above and beyond. They schlep food and drinks down to the Buckhorn Cabin via toboggan, then take your trash, and sometimes intoxicated guests, with them.
The nighttime snowcat drivers also will pluck up a random drunk skier when the party went a little longer than it should have. These on-mountain professionals don't have to do these tasks. So the next time you see one of them, thank them for going out of their way to make our experience better than anywhere else.