You didn’t ski Monday? Then you really blew it!
Three words for those who decided Monday not to milk another powderday out of their bosses: You blew it! Monday was one of the best days of the ski season, thanks to thetype and amount of snow. The slopes were covered with up to afoot of vaunted Colorado champagne powder. Drifts of light, fluffysnow were knee-high in places. “I just think that today was an epic day,” said Aspen Skiing Co.communications director Rose Abello. She undertook plenty of researchat Aspen Highlands. There was one price to pay, however – a vicious westerly wind.Wind speeds of up to 80 mph were recorded at Snowmass Sunday night,according to Snowmass Mountain Manager Steve Sewell. They subsidedsomewhat by Monday, but gusts of up to 40 mph created near-whiteoutconditions at times on upper slopes. The high-speed quad on the Big Burn opened early for powderhoundsbut stopped frequently and slowed considerably for much of themoring. Those willing to pay the price reaped big rewards. The trees offthe Powerline trail on the Big Burn, for example, collected 18inches of powder, while pockets were even deeper. Snow of varying depths also blew onto the east-facing HangingValley Wall, creating a steep, plush carpet of powder. While wind turned much of the terrain at Aspen Mountain into amixture of soft and crust, the more protected areas on the Backof Bell, Walsh’s and The Dumps were a powder skier’s wet dream,boasting up to 14 inches of light fluff. Surprisingly, the powder didn’t please everyone. An older gentlemanat Snowmass ventured up the Big Burn before 9 a.m., but was disappointedto find nothing groomed. He asked the chairlift operator why Sneaky’swasn’t rolled yet. The lift operator politely replied, “It’s apowder day, sir.” Powderhounds have had little to complain about lately. Aspen Mountain,Highlands and Snowmass are all closing in on average snowfallamounts for February, with five days left in the month. Snowmass has racked up 48 inches at the top this month, includingnearly three feet in the last week. It reaped nine inches Sundaynight. Highlands was the bigger winner Sunday night and it has recorded50 inches so far this month. Aspen Mountain picked up 10 inchesSunday and 46 for the month. The average snowfall for February is about 53 inches, accordingto Abello. The question now is whether our good weather fortune continuesthrough the winter. Earlier this month, a research scientist withthe Climate Diagnostic Center in Boulder forecast a normal orslightly above normal month of snowfall for Aspen. However, prospectsfor March were dry, in his opinion.
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Colorado has been hit with a substantial spike in COVID-19 cases, with one in 41 residents believed to be contagious. Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a member of the White House’s coronavirus task force, warned during a virtual news conference that Colorado is not alone in seeing a spike in cases and pleaded with people not to travel or gather in large groups.