December 13, 2007
ASPEN ” On powder days, I don’t ski nicely with others. In fact, I don’t ski with them at all. I usually try to avoid making any solid plans other than agreeing upon the same hill. And often, I don’t even do that. I worry about them slowing me down, or worse … me slowing them down. Powder is far too precious.
This past weekend was no different. Saturday night, I made tentative plans.
“Yeah,” I agreed. “Skiing sounds good. … Aspen?”
But Sunday morning came and I went to Highlands instead. The bowl and the steeps called.
I got into the nonexistent lift line at 8:40 am ” 20 minutes before opening, and once on the mountain, I skied laps on Steeplechase until ski patrol flipped the sign for the bowl ” “Open.” I beelined it, hungry for a taste of fresh, eager for the first lap of the season.
Reaching the top, I soaked in the blue bird view and allowed myself to recover a bit before diving in.
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Startled, I looked in the direction of the voice. There stood two friends.
“Want to ski it with us?”
Caught. It is hard to refuse invitations face-to-face ” even on a powder day. Together we dropped into the G-zones, and it turned into one of the best ski days. Great snow, great company, and the pace was just about right.
Those two buddies just might have transformed my powder-day lifestyle. Perhaps, I’ll begin to ski nicely with others ” even on a powder day.
The avalanche danger in the Aspen zone is considerable on west, northwest, north, northeast, and east aspects near and above treeline, according to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center. There is new windloading on the top of the snowpack and weak, old facets on the bottom.
The danger is moderate on those aspects below treeline, where unstable slabs are possible in steep terrain, says the CAIC in its Thursday report. On southeast, south, and southwest aspects the danger is moderate above treeline, and low near and below treeline.
The CAIC website: http://avalanche.state.co.us/