I woke up Monday morning thinking it would be just another normal day boarding. Aspen Highlands was socked in, and it looked like another low-visibility snow day. But at the top of Loge Peak, the sun was peaking through. And like a message from the Lord, the only thing lit was the hike up the ridge of Highland Bowl. Clouds obscured everything else.As we hiked the bowl, starting around 9:30, Pyramid and the Maroon Bells poked through, and looking down into the valley we saw sun dogs on the clouds.The first run was absurdly good: bottomless, ridiculously soft, buttery. My ski buddy, Harvey Locke, and I were laughing with joy. We were struggling to comprehend how it was so perfect all the way to the bottom.Of course, a run like that necessitates another.So we climbed it again. And this time we sat on top for 15 minutes, had a Clif Bar and watched the sun melting the clouds away.The second run was better than the first – much better. The new chute we chose was even softer and steeper and deeper than the first. We ate snow the entire way down, chuckling with glee. After two, Harvey decided he’d had enough, which boggled my mind, because I hadn’t. Still, he convinced me to get some cookies and cider, and that may have saved me. Because I went right back up Loge and found that the cat was running. This time, the clouds were gone.I got some air off the cornice at the top and did my first nonstop top-to-bottom on the bowl. It was getting slightly more cut up, but the top lines were still clear, and even the choppier stuff felt great on the board.I couldn’t stop. Getting off the cat for the fourth run down, I wanted to literally run up. I was passing people on the hike. Not because I was in a rush but I just couldn’t control my absurd excitement. For the fifth time, I went up, strapped on the board and ripped up the bowl. It was, quite wonderfully, a full-day outdoorgasm. On Tuesday, I did a few turns, got home by 11, fell into bed and watched movies for the rest of the day. I simply couldn’t move.Avalanche reportThe backcountry avalanche danger in the Roaring Fork Valley is moderate overall. Keep an eye out for wind slabs that have formed above treeline. Those will be the most likely location for human-triggered avalanches. Avalanche danger details provided by the Roaring Fork Avalanche Center. For more information, call 920-1664 or visit http://www.rfavalanche.org. For conditions around the state, call the Colorado Avalanche Information Center at 920-1664 or visit geosurvey.state.co.us/avalanche.
Despite being a big star, Norway’s Henrik Kristoffersen has frequently connected with the young AVSC athletes while training at Aspen Highlands over the years.