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Sweet, sweet corn

Allyn Harvey

So what’s the big deal?

Not the icy conditions in the morning.

Not the icy conditions in the midafternoon.

Not the frozen slush that put nearly everyone in our group down in the late afternoon.

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Despite all the promise and all the hype from people who went in weeks gone by, the skiing in the San Juans last weekend was anything but good. In fact, with the notable exception of part of one of our three runs at the quasi-backcountry experience at Silverton, it was bad all around.

Blame the toaster oven that’s been Colorado for the past three weeks. It’s been so hot that major storm systems have simply evaporated away as soon as they hit the Colorado border. Welcome to Baja, Colo.

But there was that one section of that one run. Oh, that sweet, sweet corn. Two sections of one long run were epic corn skiing. Steep pitches. Snow that rooster-tailed even from that old pair of straights. An underlying firmness that kept the corn snow washing over the tops of your skis. Big Daddy Bruce’s Sweet, Sweet Corn.

Was the $107 group-rate price of admission worth it? This time it was, but mostly because the experience was new. If it was my second or third or 10th trip to Silverton Mountain, I’d be pissed off. After all, we only got in three runs.

Blame the slow going on the one-skier-at-time format of guided backcountry skiing. But I guess I’d rather be red from standing around in the sun all day than dead from a wet-slide avalanche.

And besides, even if it is priced like Vail but with less skiing, at least it’s not another crowded interstate resort.

And even if the skiing isn’t great, you can make a party of it by driving five hours with a couple of Homers, eating at Taco Bell in Montrose, sharing a room with a lightweight who complains about a soft snore or two, and hanging out in a town with real dirt streets.


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