What a difference | AspenTimes.com

What a difference

Allyn Harvey

What a difference a day can make.Saturday was the perfect spring day, skiing-wise. Bob from New York was out for the second time this season, here to see family and friends and to hike the Bowl. As we began the walk up – without the Snowcat ride, thank you very much – we ran into to Bob from Basalt. It was a warm, two-layer and sunglasses day. The wind was tame. The walk surprisingly easy. The three of us bantered our way up the first leg of the hike.Then, predictably, New York Bob’s legs began to show their sea-level worthiness, slowing as the ridge became steeper and steeper. Basalt Bob pulled ahead. New York Bob and I set into a pace that worked for both of us. When we topped the summit about 45 or so minutes after we started, Basalt Bob was waiting there for us. We caught our collective breaths and dropped into White Kitchen. The snow was perfect. Soft, grippy, accepting, even welcoming of each and every turn. My legs just kept turning. I stopped just once on the way down, mostly to rejoice with my friends in our good fortune. The tape of that run is still rolling today. I hope it does forever.Things got forgettable about 11 a.m. on Sunday, when Hunter Creek Susan and Snowmass Alan and I began down Short Snort with a run in the dumps on our mind. Three turns in, three scrapes across the tops of the big moguls and three knee-jarring dips into the heavy, wind-slabbed snow that filled the valleys, and it was clear we’d made the wrong call.Let’s go to Silver Queen, one of us said. (OK, I admit, it was I who said it.) A perilous decision, in light of the fact that the north-facing ice was just as icy as the east-facing ice. The ski down was annoyingly challenging, even humbling in those moments when the hill and the snow did everything they could to ruin me.When we finally popped out at the top of Little Nell, the optimism of spring had been blown aside by the cold roar of winter.My, what a difference.

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