The proof is in the powder | AspenTimes.com

The proof is in the powder

Some years you just get spoiled. I think this is going to be one of them.In years past, I remember starting the season skiing only on rock skis. No need this year.I recall years when powder days were few and far between. I’ve skied a couple already (and I only have a two-day-a-week pass).I’ve heard stories about years when the lifts didn’t even run until after Christmas. Now that doesn’t really happen anymore, thanks to snow guns and the stuff they pump onto the slopes. And trust me, I’m not complaining; technology is so good these days that man-made snow can be almost as good as the real thing. Almost.After a run of smooth turns through fresh snow Thursday, I was bummed to find a sheet of the man-made stuff on the approach to Lift 3. I grumbled about it to my skiing companion. Then on our way down the mountain, at the end of our lunchtime escape, Little Nell was its usual nightmare … crowded, icy and covered in little balls of man-made snow. Again, I grumbled. There is no match for Mother Nature. The proof is in the powder. Think about it: It’s the beginning of December, and we’re skiing top-to-bottom, rock-free runs. Imagine the powder stashes that will be found, days after the last storm, at Highlands and Buttermilk. It’s like midseason out there, and we’re just two weeks into the season. I loathe the idea of going back to skiing man-made snow and dodging rocks sometime this winter. Spoiled, indeed.Terrain opening at local ski areas includes:- Buttermilk will open today, one day early. About 90 percent of the terrain will be ready thanks to all the early season snow. The Summit Express, West Buttermilk Express, Tiehack and Panda Peak lifts will be running.- Additional terrain at Snowmass will open Saturday, including the Alpine Springs and High Alpine chairlifts and the terrain they serve, as well as the Campground trail and chairlift. Selected runs in the expert terrain of the Wall are expected to open. Adams Avenue will open, Slot will be groomed from the top of Sam’s Knob all the way down. The Upper Scooper terrain park will also open.