High Points: A Long Time Comin’

High Points
Paul E. Anna

As we wake up this Friday, December 10th, it would appear that it is on. It being ski season.

Oh, I know turns have been made top to bottom on Aspen Mountain since Thanksgiving. But given the lack of snow and the temperatures hovering most days above 50 degrees, that has just been wishful skiing.

Last Friday I saw a terrific episode of “The Drop In,” the Aspen Times video series, featuring Rose Laudicina, where she took a “T to B” down Spar Gulch that made things look positively perfect. But let’s face it, until La Nina sent us the storm that is blowing through right now, this morning, as you read this, on once again the 10th day of December, we have pretty much been dry up high. And down low as well.

There have been dry winters before, the Bicentennial winter of ’76 comes up often when remembering such depressing events, but this first week in December just felt unprecedented. My daily runs were made in shorts. Though the days were short, they actually warmed up quickly and, until the sun set a few minutes before 5:00 each day, they were more Fall-like than Winter-like.

But now, let’s hope that is all behind us as the first significant snowfall of the 2021-22 ski season drops a foot, hopefully more, turning this into a winter wonderland.

The word yesterday came that both Aspen Highlands and Buttermilk will have lifts spinning as planned this weekend. That likely would not have happened, me thinks, had this front of moisture not made a timely arrival. As of the announcement by Skico yesterday morning the Thunderbowl Lift on Highlands and Panda Peak (with free access on Saturday) will open up all four mountains on Saturday with additional options depending upon the snowfall. Again, just me thinking, but I’m guessing with what has already fallen and what is still to come this Friday, one more time, the 10th of December, that the good folks on the patrol will be dropping ropes. Let’s hope so. No matter how you look at it this will be the first great weekend of the season. Dare I say the first great powder weekend?

The next question is, is this just a tease or are we now in for a real winter? Only time will tell but the next week or so shows some promise with snow chances on Tuesday into Wednesday.

But it all depends on the La Nina pattern that has been set up in the Pacific for a while now driving “atmospheric rivers” of rain and snow north of us while we have been high and dry. Seattle and British Columbia have become one with the Pacific.

We need a little change in the wind to start blowing the water our direction. We just might get it and have a wonderful winter after all.