Paul E. Anna: High Points |

Paul E. Anna: High Points

Paul E. Anna
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

So in a season that has seen few powder days, dumps that have gone north, storms that have gone south and whole systems that have gone – and I don’t get this – east, we still have been able to eek out some pretty good snow.

In the last few days we have had a dusting turn into a couple of inches, a front that seemed initially to be a bust, drop maybe six, and now a couple more inches from the latest round of unsettled air. Add it all up and the base on the mountains is starting to build. The website the boasts a 56-inch base at the top of Highlands and Snowmass, which is not bad at all, considering.

Of course this comes from a season that started out with so much promise that one Skico official was moved to note in November, when Snowmass opened five days ahead of schedule: “The 2011-12 season has started as a talented overachiever with near perfect snowmaking temperatures and abundant natural snowfall.” Yes, at the time of that utterance, it looked like we were all in for a great ride this year. And yet by January, another Skico top dog was trying to drum up enthusiasm for finding fluff on the far sides of the bushes that stuck out from above the Dumps. Such are the vagaries of the ski business. One day you’re snowed in, the next high and dry. It is a tough life.

Still, it is all coming together quite nicely right now. Tuesday, while perhaps not epic, was the kind of day that we all here live for. The sun was shining and there had been just enough snow to allow your skis float on the dust rather than the crust. First Tracks belonged to a group of Aussies who flew down the hill led by local hero Chris Klug and there was nothing but compliments for the snow conditions when they got to the bottom. Beats Thredbo any day. As the day wore on, the cold kept the snow in great shape and the crowds were negligible.

Skiing snow like that, on slopes like we have here on Aspen Mountain, under Colorado blue skies, is one of life’s great pleasures. While I hit a few rocks (watch out on the nose of Bell where the wind has the coverage pretty thin and look out for that boulder on the skier’s far right near the Tower under the Bell Mountain chair) as long as I paid attention, the snow was great.

No, this doesn’t mean that the winter of 2011-12 is set to become one of our most memorable ski seasons in recent years, but if we all just stick with it, I think that it will be a pretty solid season.

Get out and enjoy.