1.03.2006

Happy New Year

Well the visit home for the holidays went well. It is always kind of hectic running around, and unfortunately at Christmastime a lot of people I would like to visit are out of town, so I apologize if I didn’t get to see you. I made it back up into the mountains safely; somehow I managed to fly back in between snow storms and had smooth sailing over the mountain passes. The next couple of days were icy and snowy and had a lot of accidents on the highways including a pair of jack-knifed tractor trailers that closed Vail Pass so I was glad I traveled when I did to avoid that mess. With my pass blacked out for the holidays it wasn’t too bad to be at work. Still blacked out on Saturday I did a bit of shopping instead, including finalizing ordering my new fridge and bathroom vanity. This is next phase of home renovation, courtesy of this years Christmas bonus. Sunday it was back to the slopes, and with the minimal crowds at Beaver Creek (I guess they all had too much fun on New Year’s Eve) I was able to get a full day of skiing in half a days time. I was able to get in about 15 runs in just 4 hours, including most of my favorites at the resort. There was some new snow overnight to the tune of about 4 inches, but with the minimal crowds fresh tracks were easy to come by most of the morning. They now have the site of the World Cup races open for public skiing again, and that was pretty fun, especially with the new snow on top. They ice the course down for the racers, so usually it takes close to a month after the races before they get enough natural snow to soften it back up for normal people to enjoy. Even then, as it gets skied it can sometimes have a few icy patches, especially in some of the steeper sections that don’t hold snow as well. Monday was the observed holiday, so I headed over to Vail hoping the crowds would have headed back to Denver to fly back home. Unfortunately that was not the case, and the lift lines were surprising long. It wasn’t too bad though, the lift lines sort of acted as a forced rest in between runs. This was the first time this season I had been there when the full Back Bowls and Blue Sky were open, so I was able to ski a lot of the areas for the first time this season. Despite some of the crowds in the lift lines, the majority of the runs I was on were not that crowded, I guess that is one of the benefits of skiing the steeper stuff, it scares off a lot of the masses. It was kind of funny actually, from the lift you could see the whole bowl and 90% of the people were on the small swatch of groomed run down the middle, while the rest was virtually empty. I guess they wanted to be able to say that they skied the Back Bowls before they went home from vacation. To my surprise there were still some fresh tracks to be had, but those needed to be earned. The farthest out of all of the bowls is Mongolia Bowl, which is reached via a traverse and a platter style surface lift. From the top of this lift you can traverse the catwalk to reach the bowl, or hike to the ridge and gain some extra vertical for your descent. I chose the latter, because the slopes above the catwalk were largely untracked for the day. This turned out to be a worthwhile hike as I was able to get boot deep fresh tracks above the main part of the bowl. The rest of the resort was in good shape too, even though it was all tracked out there weren’t really any serious moguls and the snow was soft and easy to carve. Hopefully these conditions continue, so far we have had a great early season, and judging by the crowds here over the holidays is seems that business was good for the resorts.