On the hill: Lucky call, or not
SNOWMASS – I made a bad call Saturday, and it cost me one of the precious few ski days that I have left this season because of travel commitments.
My daughter and I wanted to hit the slopes and figured it was best to let the sunshine work its wonders on the hardpack. We decided to go with Snowmass, reasoning that the expansive slopes would best be able to handle the spring-break hordes and that spring skiing would be excellent by afternoon.
We got it half right. Snowmass handled the skiers all right. The overflow parking at the Rodeo Lot was barely filled, so I knew the hordes hadn’t materialized. Sure enough, we were able to ski right up to the base-area chairlift.
When reaching the mountaintop, we realized that the Big Burn wasn’t the place to be. There was a chill wind despite the high temperatures, and that wind made the snow surface funky to say the least.
We hightailed to High Alpine after our first run and found slightly better conditions. We tried a couple of bump runs and found acceptable conditions on the upper half and a challenge on icy humps on the lower slope. But, hey, we both needed the practice.
We hit paydirt of sorts on our last run of the day. We skated over to Upper Green Cabin, took some pictures with the wonderfully lit moonscape of the Cirque as a backdrop and then took turns on a somewhat soft surface. It wasn’t a day for the record books, but it beat trying to find something to do in, say, Akron, Ohio.
I learned later in the weekend and on Monday that Aspen Mountain was the place to be on Saturday. One wily old veteran of the slopes said Saturday on Ajax was spring skiing at its finest.
I’m not sure any place was good to ski in the snow, rain and groppel of Sunday. Spring skiing will be back soon, though, according to the forecast.
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