March skiing |

March skiing

Paul E. Anna

Just when you thought it might never snow again.We’ve been so spoiled all season long with great snow that when we hit a little rough patch in February and then got slammed by a high-pressure system in early March with near-record high temperatures, we all kind of panicked. It did seem that our luck had run out, and the rest of the season might be spent watching the snow turn to ice and finally to brown spots.But behold. The mighty Pacific, which has brought biblical storms to the Hawaiian Islands of late, with beaucoup rainfall, has decided to do its March thing. The mother ocean has spawned a series of seasonal storms that at least have the potential to give us many springtime powder days.On Wednesday, atop Snowmass, there was a soft carpet underfoot of fresh, though not necessarily light, snow. Down below, the conditions were slush-on-crust, and no matter where one was, a wet, pea-soup fog enveloped the few skiers who ventured out.They say, oh, 4 to 6 inches had fallen this week on the local slopes, but as of this Friday morning we are under a Winter Storm Watch. The National Weather Service in Grand Junction issued the watch, which says, and I quote, “A foot or more of new snow is possible by late Friday.” Just in time for Saturday.Not only that, but the extended forecast calls for more snow through the weekend and again at the end of the week. That, my friends, is cause for optimism.While each month in ski season has its special charms, March is the crown jewel. Not only is it the month that traditionally has the most snowfall, it is also the month when the shadows turn to light. When the lifts stay open longer. When the heavy clothes of winter give way to shells and spring gloves. It is the cusp month when one sees the end of winter and the dawning of spring and, with it, the promise of summer.A good March on the mountain makes just about everything else pale by comparison. And when people reminisce about the classic ski days of their lives, here’s a bet that the majority of them came in March.So as the men and women in black take their turns telling jokes this weekend at Comedy Fest, be sure to get your chuckles in at night. Because you’re going to want to take your turns during the days of March.

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