The 80-inch rule |

The 80-inch rule

Well-placed On the Hill sources at the Aspen Skiing Co. report that the snowboarding and skiing over the last week have been “ideal.”An unnamed source at Aspen Highlands said, and I quote, “With all the snow we’ve gotten this year, the base is amazing. And a little snowstorm earlier this week made Highland Bowl all powdery again.”The base on top of Aspen Highlands is 84 magical inches. The term “magical” rarely applies to any base count below 80 inches. There’s just something about that threshold that guarantees the snow will be soft no matter where you ski. This year they mean it when they say the conditions are “packed powder.” The odd thing about this season is that Aspen Mountain and Buttermilk have had righteous, 80-inch-base-type conditions despite the fact considerably fewer inches have fallen there. A well-placed source at Aspen Mountain pointed out that there wasn’t any bad skiing to be had anywhere on the mountain. That despite the fact that the base count at the top of the mountain is a paltry 57 inches. Moguls are getting bigger and a little more intense, but the grooming crews are keeping the cruisers cruiseable.”I’d say things are going great, couldn’t be better,” the Aspen Mountain source said on the condition of anonymity. He elaborated, noting that the combination of perfect temperatures (cool, yet warm), perfect snow conditions (soft and forgiving) and perfect lift lines (none) makes for perfect skiing on Ajax.Some of the best turns can be made on the forgotten face of Ajax, under Lift 1A, where On the Hill suggests you spend a little time exploring.On the Hill this weekend: Aspen Highlands has a locals clinic that goes into the bowl. Aspen Mountain hosts a fund-raising race for Aspen Youth Experience. At Snowmass, two-day-long Freeride competitions in the headwall at Hanging Valley and the cliffs off the Big Burn.For more information, call Skico at 925-1220 and ask for the events department.

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