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Still worth it

If you listen carefully, it’s possible to hear the holiday crowds starting to file out of town. The SUV’s are packed. The private jets are fueled up. Hotels are finally changing their ‘No Vacancy’ signs. The Gondola Plaza is clearing out.A once inundated town is finally starting to revert back to normal. I, for one, welcome a return to order. It was a week in which the slopes of Aspen Mountain looked like rush hour traffic. I heard Snowmass was even worse. Hordes of people clogged up lift lines and fall lines; It looked like the mountain was giving away something free.Groups of skiers gathered on either side of almost very trail, standing between me and the best powder. Some even stopped directly in the middle – it was obvious they had not been reading Skico’s Tips of the Day. They were like slalom gates as I meandered through them; slalom gates in ridiculous uni-suits and fur hats. One guy came out of nowhere and turned directly into the backs of my skis, nearly taking me down with him in a cloud of snow. As I stopped to help him retrieve his equipment he acknowledged that he had seen me the whole time, but could not get out of my way.Almost every single time I took narrow trails like Bellissimo and Copper BowI, I was stuck behind a cautious beginner, who alternated between speeds as well as long and short turns. Trying to pass required precise timing, anticipation, and patience – far from my strongest attribute.The experience did, however, point out the need for me to draft some New Year’s resolutions. I will try to exhibit more tranquility and smile instead of scowl when frustration arises. And for those long liftlines, I’ll be prepared by bringing along a snack – one that won’t stain my new lime-green uni-suit. This is going to be the best year ever.Jon Maletz’s e-mail address is jmaletz@aspentimes.comAvalanche reportThe avalanche danger in the backcountry of the Roaring Fork Valley is considerable at treeline and moderate below treeline.Backcountry travelers should exercise caution and avoid slopes steeper than 30 degrees. Be aware of your surroundings, as you may be under a potential slide path.Avalanche danger details provided by the Roaring Fork Avalanche Center. For more information, call 920-1664 or visit http://www.rfavalanche.org.


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