4.10.2005

The (would be) Blizzard

I am sure you have heard about all of this snow that has been happening up in Colorado this weekend, and you probably think I am out there enjoying some epic powder skiing. The truth is the mountains barely got a thing. I was all excited about the forecast, made sure I was up Sunday morning to get to the slopes early, and all we got was about 2 inches. It did snow most of the day on the slopes and they may have picked up close to another 4 during the day, but by the time the ski day ended everything had tapered off. In fact, it was in the mid 30’s in the valley today, and the snow wasn’t sticking to the roads at all. In some parts on the drive home from Vail the road was even dry. All of the snow we got overnight pretty much melted off during the day so that we have bare grass up here. In fact the snow on the roof of my car melted off while I was skiing. In Denver it’s another story completely, they have over a foot, and some parts of the foothills have over 2 feet! It was cold and windy all day down there; in fact it was warmer up here, and much calmer. The mountains do weird things to the weather, this storm was basically a Front Range storm because the rotation of the moisture brought it in from the east, and the higher mountains between here and Denver blocked it from getting to us.

Even though, it turned out to be a good day on the slopes here. I think the weather in Denver kept a lot of people from coming up today so there was hardly anyone on the mountain, and almost no lift lines. I was still getting fresh tracks in some parts of the mountain even in mid-afternoon. Normally the whole mountain gets tracked out in about an hour. The visibility in the Back Bowls was tough though, I only did one run there. Because of the clouds there was no contrast on the slopes and it was virtually impossible to read the terrain. I actually at one point accidentally ended up going up hill trying to traverse a slope because I couldn’t tell what direction the slope was going. Another time I fell when the terrain flattened out and I wasn’t prepared for it. Most of the day I spent on the front side where the trees on the side of the run let you know when a flat spot is coming. I did get a few runs in at Blue Sky Basin as well though. There was some great stuff on Steep and Deep today, a run that was definitely correctly named! As it filters through the trees to get back to the main runs there were a lot of fresh tracks to be had, and with all the fresh snow falling it was quite serene. All in all it was a good day, the snow wasn’t as much as we all hoped for up here, but it did its job. The day before I was at Beaver Creek and with the cooler temperatures all of the nice soft spring snow had turned to hard pack and ice, so the snow we got over night and Sunday was enough to cover some of that up and make for some nice skiing. There is only one week left to the season, and overall it was good one. I doubt I have had as many ski days in my whole life total as I did this season! It has definitely improved my skills a lot; it’s nice to not have to worry about trail signs anymore. I have finally got to a point where it doesn’t matter if its black diamond, or green circle; moguls, trees or wide open groomer. Even if I get caught in a spot that is too steep or too narrow, I can still figure out a way to negotiate through, even if it is less graceful than some of the other people. I guess my first ski season as a “local” was a success. Soon it will be back to hiking up mountains!