Rock skis in order |

Rock skis in order

Finally some weather to talk about.

By the time Sunday morning and the first storm in 11 days rolled in, conditions on Aspen Mountain and Snowmass were looking a little thin. In fact, the base at the top of each mountain had dropped 2 inches since the middle of last week, when temperatures in town were hitting the upper 40s and 50s.

The sun-exposed areas like the Dumps and the Face of Bell were looking downright ugly Sunday, with disturbingly large sections of exposed turf.

Rock skis are definitely still in order, although a front moving through today prompted the National Weather Service to issue a winter storm watch. Accumulations of 8 to 16 inches by late afternoon were predicted for our area.

Regardless, warm temps and no snow haven’t stopped the Aspen Skiing Co. of the 21st century from opening more terrain. As temperatures dipped each night over the last week, snowmaking crews fired up the guns and piled up enough manmade snow (which skis a lot more like ice than snow) to open up Ruthie’s Run on Ajax and the Alpine Springs section of Snowmass.

Two of our top skiers took to the hill Sunday morning and found conditions varied widely. Dipsy Doodle and North American were the best short cruisers on Ajax. Copper Bowl was in the best shape it’s been in all season and made for a great ride top to bottom. Roche Run was soft, butterlike, but missing the fantastic moguls that make it a local’s favorite.

Ruthie’s, on the other hand, was skiing like Stratton Mountain in November. It just highlighted the shortcomings of manmade snow. One of the Times testers, sporting a pair of rock skis that would do any ’80s aficionado proud, spent most of the run slip-sliding away.

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