aspensnowmass:

What’s the terrain going to be like this weekend when we are open for SUMMER skiing and riding? Press play and find out.

-Dave

Happy Memorial Day Weekend, with love from Aspen!

GPOYW: (Not) Closing Day at Aspen Highlands. We just can’t quit you!

[Aspen Highlands Mountain, Aspen, Colorado, April 21, 2013]

GPOYW: Awkward group shot during our end-of-the-season bash at Burger-Bar & Fish, the day after Snowmass mountain closed, in the midst of a raging snowstorm.
The other chick, Froggie, is a lifetime ski bum and the guy who got me on the hill last year. The kid to the left is wearing a Spiderman full-body suit underneath his T-shirt. Clearly I’m still building my ridiculous costume wardrobe….

[Snowmass, Colorado, April 15, 2013]

GPOYW: Awkward group shot during our end-of-the-season bash at Burger-Bar & Fish, the day after Snowmass mountain closed, in the midst of a raging snowstorm.

The other chick, Froggie, is a lifetime ski bum and the guy who got me on the hill last year. The kid to the left is wearing a Spiderman full-body suit underneath his T-shirt. Clearly I’m still building my ridiculous costume wardrobe….

[Snowmass, Colorado, April 15, 2013]

Aspen Mountain: closed for the season! 
(Thankfully, Aspen Highlands is open for another week…)

Aspen Mountain: closed for the season!


(Thankfully, Aspen Highlands is open for another week…)

It’s Closing Day at Aspen/Snowmass, and we’re going out in style: under bluebird skies and a dumping of fresh pow.
12 inches in the last 24 hours, in fact.
Coloradical!

[Aspen, Colorado, April 14, 2013]

It’s Closing Day at Aspen/Snowmass, and we’re going out in style: under bluebird skies and a dumping of fresh pow.

12 inches in the last 24 hours, in fact.

Coloradical!

[Aspen, Colorado, April 14, 2013]

How different it was today.

[Highland Bowl, Aspen, Colorado, April 12, 2013]

GPOYW: It pays to have pushy friends who will all but drag you to the top of the world.

9:28AM text from friend: “Bluebird ski day….!

Blerghhhh arghhh. I had hit snooze for at least 3600 seconds. Still suffering from seriously stuffed sinuses, I’m a real drag in the morning. 

Eh, I don’t think I’m gonna go, I responded. I really should stay home and rest.

Ha. Should? Some back-and-forth banter, two doses of Dayquil, and one hot, woozy shower later, I was pulling on my socks and scarfing a slice of avocado toast.

Today we were going to hike the Highlands Bowl.

Never mind that it’s a solid thirty/forty minute hike more than half a mile along a narrow traverse while carrying your gear—even if you take the complimentary sno-cat shuttle that drops adventurers a few hundred meters from the gate.

Never mind that my legs possessed the strength of wet noodles and my ears felt filled with fluid.

Never mind that my eyes watered endlessly, creating pools in my goggles.

We had a peak to conquer and powder to find!

It wasn’t an easy climb—I wheezed the whole way, 700 vertical feet!—but it was worth it. Feeling the wind’s force at 12,392’ altitude, and then floating down, down, down, over fresh fluff and into the clouds of fog that had snuck into the valley during our ascent…there is no grander feeling of accomplishment.

So, what do you do on your sick day?

Side by side, my new Faction powder skis are nearly as wide as my snowboard.
However, they’re nowhere near as fun. At least not yet, today, during their maiden voyage and my first foray on two boards since 1996.
I did it. I made good on my promise to get back on skis.
I wasn’t entirely confident that it would happen this season. After I won the high-tech prize at an apres-party raffle, I spent a week scouting the perfect bindings. Hours of research and many recommendations later, I ordered Marker Griffons, on sale, for delivery via next-day air. When the package failed to show for days, I spoke to a company rep, who rushed me another pair.
Then I got a nasty cold and spent a week battling it in bed. Then the weather turned insanely warm—mid-50s, sunshine, birds, kids in shorts walking down the street. Tourists have mostly evaporated from town, and some restaurants are already closed for off-season. This coming weekend is basically the Big Farewell to Winter, when Aspen and Snowmass mountains throw in the towel until next season. 
Yesterday, however, I kept hearing rumors of residual effects from a wicked squall in Denver hitting Aspen. A snowstorm? In the second week of April? I delivered my new gear to the shop for mounting, just in case. Outside, It was raining.
This morning, much to my delight, I peered from my window to the driveway to see about 5 inches of snow blanketing the White Wolf. But this was not the Colorado champagne powder to which I’ve become accustomed. This was dense, damp clumpy sludge. Straight East Coast Sno-cone filler. Great. I was going to re-train myself to ski in some seriously sketchy conditions.
And, oh, what a humbling experience it was. I felt exactly as I thought I might: like Bambi trying to prance over a frozen pond. My feet, floating in the awkward abysses of rental ski boots, struggled in vain to control the massive boards—technology I’ve never experienced, not even as a 13-year-old city race champ. My nerves turned skittish. I started sweating. But by my sixth shaky run, I felt myself gliding back into a faintly familiar groove. I hit some moguls. Legs akimbo at times, I never fell.
When a fellow skier on a mostly untracked black diamond suggested I go ahead, I demurred. I gotta take a break, I don’t normally ski, I said, breathless.
"Wow, you’re taking some pretty aggressive runs then!”
Head-first, I thought. I wanted to embark on this adventure solo partly to ensure that I would move at my own pace, but mostly to avoid yearning looks from advanced skier pals waiting far below me. But here amid a wet spring flurry I found what I was missing: a boost of confidence. A stranger would help nudge me down the hill.
Unfortunately, the satisfaction was short-lived. The crippling pain of ill-fitting rental boots on tender shins forced me to call it quits after the next run. I was howling. Just before the home stretch, I spied a hometown bud, schussing a final fast lap before his afternoon work shift. I called after him.
"Are those the Factions?! Hell yeah!" he said, gliding over to me. "Ha, I just saw a guy coming from the woods DOUBLE-EJECT onto the trail…had to make a call on the emergency phone over there! Be careful in this thick shit—it can be dangerous.”
That was all I needed to hear. It’s one thing to confront crazy conditions, but a whole ‘nother story when you’re trusting subpar equipment with your physical safety (coughMountLemmoncough). I escaped the day without face-planting or throwing a yard-sale, and I’ll definitely be back soon, to break my 43.5 mph record…
Once I buy some boots that fit.
< /p>

Side by side, my new Faction powder skis are nearly as wide as my snowboard.

However, they’re nowhere near as fun. At least not yet, today, during their maiden voyage and my first foray on two boards since 1996.

I did it. I made good on my promise to get back on skis.

I wasn’t entirely confident that it would happen this season. After I won the high-tech prize at an apres-party raffle, I spent a week scouting the perfect bindings. Hours of research and many recommendations later, I ordered Marker Griffons, on sale, for delivery via next-day air. When the package failed to show for days, I spoke to a company rep, who rushed me another pair.

Then I got a nasty cold and spent a week battling it in bed. Then the weather turned insanely warm—mid-50s, sunshine, birds, kids in shorts walking down the street. Tourists have mostly evaporated from town, and some restaurants are already closed for off-season. This coming weekend is basically the Big Farewell to Winter, when Aspen and Snowmass mountains throw in the towel until next season. 

Yesterday, however, I kept hearing rumors of residual effects from a wicked squall in Denver hitting Aspen. A snowstorm? In the second week of April? I delivered my new gear to the shop for mounting, just in case. Outside, It was raining.

This morning, much to my delight, I peered from my window to the driveway to see about 5 inches of snow blanketing the White Wolf. But this was not the Colorado champagne powder to which I’ve become accustomed. This was dense, damp clumpy sludge. Straight East Coast Sno-cone filler. Great. I was going to re-train myself to ski in some seriously sketchy conditions.

And, oh, what a humbling experience it was. I felt exactly as I thought I might: like Bambi trying to prance over a frozen pond. My feet, floating in the awkward abysses of rental ski boots, struggled in vain to control the massive boards—technology I’ve never experienced, not even as a 13-year-old city race champ. My nerves turned skittish. I started sweating. But by my sixth shaky run, I felt myself gliding back into a faintly familiar groove. I hit some moguls. Legs akimbo at times, I never fell.

When a fellow skier on a mostly untracked black diamond suggested I go ahead, I demurred. I gotta take a break, I don’t normally ski, I said, breathless.

"Wow, you’re taking some pretty aggressive runs then!”

Head-first, I thought. I wanted to embark on this adventure solo partly to ensure that I would move at my own pace, but mostly to avoid yearning looks from advanced skier pals waiting far below me. But here amid a wet spring flurry I found what I was missing: a boost of confidence. A stranger would help nudge me down the hill.

Unfortunately, the satisfaction was short-lived. The crippling pain of ill-fitting rental boots on tender shins forced me to call it quits after the next run. I was howling. Just before the home stretch, I spied a hometown bud, schussing a final fast lap before his afternoon work shift. I called after him.

"Are those the Factions?! Hell yeah!" he said, gliding over to me. "Ha, I just saw a guy coming from the woods DOUBLE-EJECT onto the trail…had to make a call on the emergency phone over there! Be careful in this thick shit—it can be dangerous.”

That was all I needed to hear. It’s one thing to confront crazy conditions, but a whole ‘nother story when you’re trusting subpar equipment with your physical safety (coughMountLemmoncough). I escaped the day without face-planting or throwing a yard-sale, and I’ll definitely be back soon, to break my 43.5 mph record

Once I buy some boots that fit.

< scaled.IMG_9301/p>

GPOYW: Spring Flingin&#8217; in Aspen: "Nice pants!"

[Aspen, Colorado, April 1, 2013]

GPOYW: Spring Flingin’ in Aspen: "Nice pants!"

[Aspen, Colorado, April 1, 2013]