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Straight, no chaser

Just in case the two powder days in two weeks doesn’t make you glad to live here, maybe this tale of East Coast woe will.

Aspen Skiing Co. pros Katie Fry and Megan Harvey (my sisters) are on the Professional Ski Instructors Association demonstration team. Essentially, they and other team members travel around the country and teach the latest teaching methods to ski instructors.

Here, according to my second-hand recollection, is what happened earlier this month when they were back in Killington, Vt., for an eight-day clinic:



The skies opened up the very first day and dumped tons of powder on top of a pathetic 10-inch base. Anywhere between 39 inches and 54 inches of white, light snow fell to the ground, according to news reports.

Katie and Megan report that the next three days the skiing was absolutely phenomenal ” probably the best in the world for those three days.




Then it rained. We’re not talking sprinkles here; we’re talking buckets. Megan says that after skiing all day, she literally had to wring her gloves ” her second pair of gloves ” out.

Katie nearly got to call it quits around 1 p.m., except for this one die-hard guy who saw a little rain as no reason to give up valuable time with a demo team member. So the two of them kept skiing while everyone else warmed up by the fire.

A bitter cold gripped the area that night, freezing all the rain-soaked powder solid. The next morning a sandblasting, blow-your-ski boots-across-the-parking-lot kind of wind kicked up, giving the newly formed ice a smooth glaze.

Somewhere on Aspen Highlands, maybe in the woods off Temerity, or on Buttermilk’s Tiehack, maybe in the woods off Racer’s Edge, is a lot of great powder. Period. No rain, no ice. Straight, no chaser.

Highlands leads the base race, with 51 inches on top and 40 at midmountain. Snowmass has a respectable 45 inches at the top, 32 inches midway. Aspen Mountain’s numbers are 37 and 30; Buttermilk’s are 28 and 27.


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