The best commute |

The best commute

Allyn Harvey

Each day, between two and three dozen people make their way past all the clank and clutter at the bottom of The Milk and make the final leg of their morning commute via the Summit Express chairlift.

No doubt it’s one of the best commutes in America. Heck, it’s one of the best commutes in the world. (As far as scenic value goes, I’d say the ride to the top of Buttermilk is in the top 10th of the top percent of all the commutes in the world. But enough math.)

So who gets to and from work this way?

People like Brenda and Nadia who work at the Cliffhouse restaurant overlooking Maroon Creek and Aspen Highlands. And people like Telio Cerise and Bayless William, two of the mountain’s senior lift ops. And a lot of other people, as well.

Two employees at the Cliffhouse walk up the mountain each day to work and ride down. Other people at The Milk and, no doubt, all three other mountains in the resort get to work via snowmobiles, skinned up telemarks, snowcats and plain old cars and trucks.

The stuff they do includes cooking, cashiering, lift-oping, ski patrolling, grooming, cleaning, greeting and managing.

At the end of most days, the Summit Express has more people riding down than riding up. And some of the lucky ones ride down on a snowboard or a pair of skis. Cool ” temperature and temperamentwise.

As late as yesterday afternoon there were still four- and five-turn fields of uncut powder to be found on Ajax. Go figure.

For those wondering how much powder is out there, consider this: the Colorado Avalanche Information Center said Aspen Highlands patrol released six shallow slides Monday in Highland Bowl.

That would jibe with On the Hill’s research on Ajax yesterday, which found that east-facing slopes, The Dumps and Red’s, for example, were skiing much deeper and lighter than west-facing slopes.