On the River: Moving on … | AspenTimes.com
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On the River: Moving on …

When your beloved dog dies, you oughta go get a puppy immediately. When that girlfriend dumps you, it’s time to find a new one (though that doesn’t always work).Just the same, I couldn’t spend a lot of time mourning the end of ski season.I don’t go to end-of-season parties. Nor do I sit around waxing poetic about my favorite powder day and comparing with years past.Water under the bridge. Let it go. The last sunny Sunday on Aspen Mountain I followed a group of rippers on a warp-speed, top-to-bottom run from the Sundeck down Spar Gulch, riding heavy slush on Little Nell to the gondola. Hardly a soul on the hill. It was fun, but I had places to go and split from the group before noon.I took a run down my favorite mogul line under the gondola, then held my speed along the catwalk to carry me onto Bell Mountain, whacked the “Knowlton’s” sign with my pole as I passed like always, and then pointed them down the Ridge of Bell into deep slushy bumps along the spine of the mountain.OK, so I got a little worked up for a sec, stopped in the woods to catch my breath and thank the mountain for a memorable season and more than 70 days of skiing.But I couldn’t just sit in it. I busted to the bottom, popped off my skis and gave just one look back before clunking to my car parked nearby.A quick change from ski pants and shell to shorts and poly-pro top, and a short, high-speed drive downvalley and the next thing I know I’m tucked into my kayak, rushing down the Wall section of Shoshone on the Colorado River with a bunch of expert river rats.I paddled over an innocuous little river hole that reached up, grabbed the tail of my boat and sucked me under the current upside down. A pause … set-up … and I rolled up only to get a face full of massive river wave before squirting out the bottom of the rapid.My end-of-season blues were washed away by that hydraulic washing machine and the promise of warm-weather play days to come.


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