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Earthly Rewards

Paul E. Anna

Way back on Nov. 19, 2004, this column told you it was going to snow. If you remember, that pre-Thanksgiving column indicated that quality snowfall is directly related to the karma of the residents of a given ski town. Congratulations. The snow gods have deemed that you all are, indeed, good folks and rewarded you justly.According to the “Official On-Mountain Voice” of the Aspen Skiing Co., Jeff Hanle (so titled because when you hear a holler in the trees on the face of Bell it’s usually Hanle’s), we have received a whopping 87 inches of snow on Aspen Mountain since opening day. That’s an inch and three-quarters a day not counting what we may have gotten in the last 24 hours or so since this column went to the esteemed editors of The Aspen Times.To break it down, we got 18 inches in the final days of November when we needed it most, an additional 25 inches in December, and now, believe it, 44 inches in January. And we’re just halfway through the month. Sweeeet.Whereas the hills were looking a little brown as we cut into the Butterball on Turkey Day, they are a pure and pristine white today. There is nearly twice – that’s right, twice – the base we normally would expect to have on Aspen Mountain. Cut it anyway you like, the winter of 2004-05 is shaping up to be an epic one. A high point, if you will.After five years of drought, this version of the Pineapple Express was not foreseen. Sure the Farmers Almanac suggested that we would get a few storms in December, which we got, but this steady stream of Pacific moisture kind of caught everyone, especially Californians, by surprise. But that is the beauty of nature. Not only can it not be tamed but, as we have graphically and tragically seen of late, it can’t always be predicted. For all our wealth, power and hubris, the earth belongs to the forces of nature. We are mere visitors.So while you thrash the Dumps, float through the powder in the Oly Bowl, and glide the glades in the Hanging Valley, remember that these are the days. They only come every once in a while.Take advantage.


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