Tonar, Fingers, Hayden, oh my
Maroon Bowl, the backcountry gem off the west side of the ridge high on Aspen Highlands, “was turning into a mogul field,” one local backcountry skier said.”Well, not quite,” he hedged. “But a lot of traffic. And then a lot of tracks out in [Five] Fingers and the K’s, Tonar. People are getting quite confident.”While the avalanche danger rating for the Aspen area has been stuck near the moderate-mark recently, local backcountry skiers have been getting after it.Tracks have been reported all over the backside of Aspen Mountain, up Hayden Peak in the true backcountry, and off Highlands and Snowmass in more easily accessed “slackcountry.” Hut-trippers reported sickening powder and a firm snowpack in terrain surrounding the Lindley and Taggert Huts recently.Amos Whiting, head guide of Aspen Expeditions, skied Tonar Bowl off Highlands Tuesday and the second finger of Five Fingers Wednesday. Today, he was planning a tour up Hayden.”It’s hero skiing up there,” he said Wednesday night. “A pretty good couple days at the office.””Well, Tonar” – supposedly short for “Totally Gnarly” – “wasn’t with clients, though,” Whiting continued.”We’re still doing all right – moderate hazard – but we’re going to get some pockets of considerable hazard up above tree line with this wind-loading we’re seeing now.”Thwock, not whoompfAspen Skiing Co. spokesman Jeff Hanle phoned yesterday to warn that a helicopter would be circling over the Skico’s four resorts today, shooting film and video but not tourists, apparently.”It’s not terrorists, you’re not being attacked,” Hanle said. “See, every time we do this, people call the police; so we’ve called them, too.”
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