Paul E. Anna: High Points | AspenTimes.com

Paul E. Anna: High Points

Paul E. Anna
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

While sitting solitarily on a chairlift this week I began what was at first a discussion, but soon evolved into an argument with myself about whether December was the best month of the year here in the Rockies.

While talking to one’s self is often considered the precursor of dementia, I nonetheless was extraordinarily happy to be right where I was, riding the Burn lift on a Bluebird day with 10-plus inches of fresh snow below. If this is what dementia feels like, sign me up.

Anyway, the crux of my pro-December argument was that December is the beginning of a new ski season. That it is the start of the best time of year. That it is the month we get our first turns, our first powder day, our first 8:30-4, feel-it-in-your-­quads, fall-asleep-early-­because-you’re-beat-and-­you-have-to-hit-it-again­-the-next-morning feeling.

It is the month where the snow falls ice cold and is so fluffy that you can blow it away from the seat of that first chair you’re riding because it didn’t get whumped by the liftie with the broom before you set­tled your cold butt in it. It is the month when you’re always skiing in the shad­ows because the sun is so low in the sky it only illu­minates one side of a tree-­lined run at a time. It’s the month when each new storm brings the opening of new terrain, the drop­ping of ropes and the promise of getting to ski something today that was closed the day before.

And it is the month, at least for the first 23 days, when you are so alone on the hill that you can con­duct an argument with yourself and no one is there to hear you and think you just might be demented.

The flipside to my December debate was that January, Feb­ruary, March and April still lie ahead. And each of those has their charms as well. Once the holidays are over, we’ll settle into a groove as the days begin to lengthen in January. Though a few days short of a load, February can bring us the most snow and the least crowded slopes of the year. March is almost always sublime with big dumps at night and sunny skies in the morn­ing. And anyone who skied here last April knows just how good it can be.

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The thing is my argument with myself was one of those where I win either way. I am just happy to be here, no matter what the month, for another great ski season.

See you on the slopes.