High Points: Hope springs eternal?
“I’ll take spring!”
That was my wife’s enthusiastic answer last October when I asked her to name her favorite season.
You should know that she is seriously addicted to sunny days. And also note that when I posed the question, we just had nearly two feet of snow fall in the previous 36-hour period. Yes, that’s right. If you remember, our current winter weather began a week before Halloween with an early season dump on the 26th. In fact, our first visible snow of this season came way back on Sept 15. That’s over six months ago.
According to an article by Audrey Ryan earlier this week in this here paper, the Aspen Water Department recorded 140 inches of snow had fallen in town from October through the end of February. With the dumps of the last couple of days, coupled with the two feet or so we got in early March, combined with a predicted snowstorm for the middle of next week, we just might be bumping up against the 200-inch mark by the end of the season. The last time we hit 200 inches was the truncated winter of 2019-20. That’s over 16 feet if you are keeping track.
And that is just on the streets at 7,908 feet. According to Aspen Skiing Company, the top of Snowmass, which sits a little over 4,000 feet higher than town, has already received 300-plus inches — and counting — of snow. In fact, throughout the Colorado Rockies, this has been an above-average winter. Officials say that, statewide, we are at 127% of average, and there is no end in sight to the coming spring storms.
It’s been great to get all this moisture, but you have to admit it has been one long winter. And not just long: Many locals believe that this has been the cloudiest winter in recent memory. How many days have we been in the thick of the clouds and fog? Yes, the snow has been consistently plentiful, but for more days than not, it seems we have been skiing in the flattest of flat light. It’s time for some of those sunny days.
So, as if on cue, Monday we turn a page to my wife’s favorite season. The spring season of 2023 officially arrives with the vernal equinox at 3:34 in the afternoon. And there is no place better to welcome spring than on one of the ski four mountains we call home.
Technically it’s not spring yet; but St. Patrick’s Day, which we celebrate today, always feels a bit like a spring holiday to me. And Skico has already gotten into the swing of the upcoming season by announcing a few events.
Today on the deck of the Ullrhof at Snowmass, St. Patrick’s Day festivities will include a match of the beer-drinking titans as teams compete in traditional games like beer pong, speed quarters, and corn hole — stumping for prizes and pride. Naturally, there are beer and food specials, a DJ, and prize giveaways. And, over at Aspen Highlands, the big wheel on the Exhibition Lift will keep spinning today until 6:00 p.m. Extra credit for those who bring bag pipes.
And for a true spring-skiing experience, Aspen Mountain will host next Friday and Saturday evening what it calls the KickAspen Night Skiing events. While Rootbeer Richie & The Reveille lay down their R&B and soul sounds on Friday night at the base of Aspen Mountain as part Bud Light Spring Jam, skiers will be able to ride the Little Nell lift and ski under the lights from 6-10 p.m. Ditto with a different band on Saturday. Note that you’ll need a ticket — even if you already have a season pass — but all proceeds will be donated to Skico’s employee-led non-profits: the Environment Foundation and the Caring for Community Fund.
Beer, music, charity, night skiing? It’s no wonder why my wife likes spring best.