Beathard: A busy ski day

Jill Beathard
Editor’s Note
Jill Beathard

Our cover story this week is about what it takes for Snowmass Village to have a successful holiday season — that “what” being a lot of hardworking, energetic, cheerful people.

I talked to a lot of folks in the village but certainly missed a lot, too — the restaurant workers, the housekeepers, the property managers, the ski patrollers. Just look at the list of carbon monoxide alarms and medical calls the Snowmass-Wildcat Fire Protection District responded to during the week ending Jan. 4 (on page 2), and you’ll know how busy our firefighters have been.

My friends and I drove from Aspen to Snowmass to ski Jan. 3, and naturally on our arrival, the rodeo lot was full and people were parking in the overflow area. The friend who drove got impatient and took us on up to the Base Village garage, which definitely simplified our lives and got us on the hill much sooner.

Watching hordes of skiers and snowboarders funnel into Funnel (I realized this weekend how that run got its name) from the gondola, I knew we were still in the tail end of the busy period. For better or for worse, it was mercilessly windy and cold at the top, which kept people moving toward the bottom and drove us into the trees, where there was still some fluffy white stuff to be found. We spent hours searching for the Hunter S. Thompson Shrine, practicing our tree turns, and although we never found it, we had some good old-fashioned fun trying.

Next it was Gwyn’s to warm up, with hot dogs and way too many condiments and french fries. We wanted to ski High Alpine, but by then the wind had really gotten to us, so we tried to go up to Sheer Bliss because it looked clearer on that side of the mountain. Sadly it didn’t last long, and we ended up starting apres a little early.

Unlike my fellow columnist Roger, I like skiing Snowmass. I like seeing people I know well when I get to apres, and I like being able to spend a long day exploring the mountain with my friends, who rarely go past the roundabout.

Of course, maybe my expectations are low after skiing Vail over Christmas (just kidding, Mom and Dad — that $150 was totally worth it).

Jill Beathard would love to take a run on Snowmass with you. Contact her at


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