The best of times |

The best of times

Paul E. Anna
Aspen, CO Colorado

What a difference a holiday makes.

Just a month ago, on the eve of Thanksgiving, we were worrying about whether it would snow at all this year. There was a ribbon of man-made slush running from the top of the mountain down to the Ajax Express lift on Aspen Mountain. And on Snowmass, well, let’s just say it was pretty pathetic. This very paper felt compelled to revisit the winter of 1976 in an Aspen Times Weekly cover story to get a better under­standing of how ski towns survive without snow. And now look at it.

Longtime locals are suggesting this may be the best December- into-January snow of all time. As we get ready for the new year, our slopes are in epic condi­tion. Me, I thank John Colson for writing the article about 1976. It was during his research that the snow gods awoke, and it began to dump. Had it not been for John’s efforts we might still be in a dry funk.

For those of you who are visiting here this Christ­mas, let’s hope you appreciate just how good the con­ditions are. As competent as the Aspen Skiing Co. is, they have little or no control over what track the sea­sonal storms take. Oh, they deserve credit for putting everything in place and being ready to open the ter­rain when the conditions warranted, but this is a high­ly unique set of circumstances. This is the kind of win­ter that you see in the ads and in the travel magazines. The kind that makes people book their trips for next year early.

For locals, a winter like this is why they live here. In a few days we will be in a post-holiday season when the buckets will go up the mountain half-full, and the slopes will be devoid of the vacationing masses. It is on those cold January mornings when the best of ski times takes place. Those are the days that skiers remember as the years go by, and they look back with nostalgia.

Looking forward, the weather map shows that we will be in a positive Pacific storm track for the next few days. By all appearances, we are set up for a distinct­ly memorable winter ski season. So get there early and often. Ski the steeps, slip the bumps and pound the powder. These are special days.

Enjoy them.

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