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Powder, people everywhere

Eben Harrell

Buses were full, streets crowded, and the line for the gondola at the base of Aspen Mountain the longest in recent memory as skiers and snowboarders rushed to the slopes yesterday to experience the season’s first significant powder day.Aspen Skiing Company reported 11 fresh inches Thursday morning at the top of Ajax, 7 inches at Buttermilk, and 12 inches at Highlands and Snowmass. With slopes already crowded during one of the season’s busiest weeks, the line for Aspen’s gondola at 10 a.m. reached down two flights of stairs to the gondola plaza.”At 10 a.m., the line was the longest I’ve seen since the mid-’80s,” local skier Phil Pitzer said around midday. “So I went home, chilled out and came back later.””The line was crazy,” skier Danny Tamez agreed. “It was like waiting in line for a ride at Disney World.”By noon, lines at Aspen Mountain had all but disappeared. One skier said the morning rush meant little powder for afternoon skiers.”There was hardly any fresh stuff left. I wish I hadn’t had as many drinks last night. Today was the day to get up early,” noted New York resident Mark Young.Skiers and boarders should get two more chances for fresh snow in the next week, according to a National Weather Service forecaster. “The last storm was the result of a parent system just off the West Coast that every once in a while spits out a storm across the Great Basin,” forecaster Jim Daniels said. “We are expecting another such storm on Friday night, with possible accumulation in Aspen of around 4 inches.”Daniels said after a quiet weekend, the parent system stationed off California will likely move ashore, bringing more significant snowfall to Colorado early next week.Eben Harrell’s e-mail address is eharrell@aspentimes.com


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