Marolt: Ski the crud or be a cruddy skier
My wife told me a friend read an article that said keeping your brain hydrated is one the most effective ways to ward off Alzheimer’s. I’ve incorporated this advice into my daily dose of yoga and now down two glasses of water (or up them as the case may be) and then do headstands. The results are inconclusive except my stomach sloshes like the wash machine on heavy-duty cycle and I don’t forget where the bathroom is.
The reason for telling you this is that for the life of me, I can’t think of anything to write about Base Village because the new owners say that everything is progressing as planned and they are doing nothing, which proves this is true.
One thing I find funny when I head to the mall area via Snowmelt Road is the new tiny roundabout at the intersection below the parking garage. I don’t know how many times I drove through it before I realized it was a traffic circle. Since the snow melted and trickled off for the rivers, I noticed the slightly darker pavement that is slightly larger than a manhole cover, where the two roads meet and wondered, what the heck? Investigation led me to notice the traffic circle sign where I assumed a stop sign would be. As the world’s smallest roundabout, it may garner more tourist interest than the mammoth bone museum, and I am sure it has improved my life immeasurably, at the low end of the scale.
So, the skiing is great, if you like cruising and carving. For the bumpers and troglodytes of the ungroomed, life on the hill is kind of rough at the moment. As January’s powder was pummeled by rain and the resulting crud frozen in time and place by cold, dry nights, a lot of our more challenging terrain has become nearly impossible to ski without the risk of seriously damaging molars or having them shaken out altogether.
Picking through the death cookies and rooster heads while grinding your teeth makes you wonder if the recollections of gliding through creamy powder spread evenly over marshmallow-y soft bumps was more dream than reality. We now realize wishing for the next powder day during a mid-winter storm cycle that produces one about every other day is pure greed as opposed to the current situation where we depend on one for survival.
There’s a paradox when the ski conditions get tough. If everybody would get out and ski their favorite runs as usual, eventually all those solidified clumps of snow and ice would breakdown and soon the skiing would become tolerable again. But, nobody wants to sacrifice. It is the yang of a powder day; by all means, you first.
Both Corkscrew and Lift Line on the 1A side of Aspen Mountain avalanched last week when most of the lower slopes were rotted out and closed for fear of slurpie slides. In the wake of the slides, a glimmering sheet of what resembles plate glass was left, which then froze as hard as woodpecker lips. It looks about as inviting as The Aspen Mountain Club, but skis as nice as the ambassadors handing out free hot chocolate in Gondola Plaza.
I also heard the Highland Bowl is skiing well, but I don’t know that firsthand. I got out of the habit of trekking up there. I came to the conclusion that the skiing is about as overrated as hiking in ski boots, especially when there is so much great skiing available that doesn’t waste the cost of a lift ticket. People who love it say they can’t get enough. I only partially agree; I feel like I get too much walking and not enough skiing. That said, now might be a good time to make my annual pilgrimage up there. And, that reminds me that I didn’t go up there at all last year. Sacrilege! Ah well, lightening hasn’t struck me…yet.
You know every winter has its doldrums and we all have our ways of coping. At times like this, I take my father’s advice concerning subpar conditions on the slope: “Ski the crud or be a cruddy skier.” The lesson is, if you learn how to manage conditions like this, it makes the good ones feel all the better. So, if you are spending time waiting for things to improve, maybe be a little more proactive and get out there today.
Roger Marolt washed his car today, just in case. Email at email@example.com.
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When the reservation system for sales at Electric Pass Lodge opens on Jan. 26 at noon, prospective buyers will need little more than a grand in cash and an interest in purchasing to sign up.