Winter winds, winter snow |

Winter winds, winter snow

Joel StoningtonAspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN At 11:45 a.m. Tuesday, the Silver Queen Gondola shut down because of high winds, and by evening all of the cars were in storage at the top of the mountain.Though it might have looked like Aspen Mountain closed down a few days early, Skico spokesman Jeff Hanle said it’s standard practice to take the cars down if high winds are expected overnight.A closed airport and rain for the last few days made Tuesday a day that few were willing to go out for, so Ajax was relatively deserted. Skiing on a lunch break Tuesday was like skiing on my own private mountain. Many were just plain trapped. The lower, wide-open runs were big ice rinks, especially the top of Little Nell, where I saw a couple attempting to negotiate 100 square yards of danger. No matter, they were probably only two of about 50 people who actually got geared up. Bummer, as the new snow made for good midwinter conditions on many of the high runs. Summit, Red’s Run and the Back of Bell were all sweet. The bumps were soft (though not often visible) and the groomers were fast. So yeah, Skico took down the gondola cars and it seemed nearly everyone just went ahead and concluded ski season was over. I’m almost hesitant to publicize the fact that nice turns are still to be had. But it seems enough Aspenites have already decided ski season is over that I’m not all that worried the mountain will suddenly get crowded – although a few recent days on the hill made me think it should.

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