Variable days of powder |

Variable days of powder

ASPEN ” Monday and Tuesday were exceptional powder days, but they also were super weird.

On Monday, I was one of the lucky few to ride the gondola before it closed because of high winds.

As I skied the deep, fluffy stuff, I kept wondering if people had realized it was a powder day. Then I got to the bottom in time to head for work and saw the lines stacked up at the bottom of 1A and Little Nell.

Just as the gondola was closed for much of Monday on Aspen Mountain because high winds, Highlands and Snowmass essentially were shut down as well.

I listened to the snow report Tuesday morning and heard the word “epic” used three times. But epic conditions were hard to find. On the gondola ride up on Tuesday, people kept saying it didn’t look like 17 inches in 48 hours.

When I skied Silver Queen, I found a wind-scoured frozen tundra, and at least one poor guy who seemed unable to navigate the mix of wind crust and moguls.

There’s no question the conditions were variable.

So Tuesday was like a treasure hunt for powder, and if you knew where to look, it was there for the taking. Though I had some enjoyment on Summit, FIS Trail and Bear Paw, the true jackpot was Walsh’s.

When I got to the top of Aspen Mountain at 10:40 a.m., exactly 20 minutes before an editorial meeting, I actually considered taking a personal day. The sun was shining, the powder that stretched below was untouched by the wind, and it looked like only a dozen people had been down.

Alas, 19 minutes later, I was in the office, coffee mug in hand, ready to write serious articles such as this one.

Snowmass and Aspen Highlands picked up another 2 inches of new snow in the past 24 hours, according to the Aspen Skiing Co.’s Wednesday morning snow report. One inch fell at Aspen Mountain and Buttermilk.

The Colorado Avalanche Information Center report for Wednesday, Jan. 30:

The avalanche danger in the Aspen zone is high on north through east through south aspects near and above treeline. Otherwise the danger is considerable. Be aware of cross-loaded pockets on west aspects in near and above treeline areas.

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