Well winter has certainly come back to our special world. In the past week Aspen Mountain has received 34 inches of snow. In the past week Snowmass has received 46” of snow! Last night alone it snowed just under a foot, and this was all after the lifts had closed. Which meant that today was the day to be out skiing. Cold temps kept the snow pack light and fluffy, and the mid-week timing of the storm made for not too crowded conditions. Then again whom are we kidding; Aspen is never crowded! Any lift line over 5min is a rarity; the only exception is the line at chair six at 9:30.
The way it works on a powder day is the gondola line starts loading up around 8:30. Sometimes this line can creep all the way to Durant Street and even then it can fan out in both directions. This is usually for the first powder day of the season, a massively big storm the night before, or when it hasn’t snowed in 6weeks or more. The skiers and snowboarders of aspen, locals and visitors alike (although its more locals who are in this line) are a powder hungry group, gunning for the epic untracked line down Bell Mountain and then to the dumps. Ok so back to the way it works, the gondola opens at 9am. When they start to let people on there is a huge bellowing of hoots and hollers from everyone waiting. Some people have been waiting over an hour, usually those right at the front, and always the usual suspects. The first people off the gondola head straight for face of Bell, which takes you straight to chair six. Don’t waist too much time buckling your boots or adjusting your goggles at the top because your friends will be gone in a heartbeat. Remember there are no friends on a powder day! Now if you time this transfer from the top of Ajax to Bell and down to six right you can have one of the most epic runs, steep and deep. Then it’s right onto chair 6 to get to the dumps as quick as possible. If you’re smart you ski right under chair six or just to the right and get back on a few more times. If you head down to the lower dumps then that means you have to get on t the gondola again. And if it’s a big powder day the line at the gondola will still be long. The key is to stay on the top of the mountain for at least an hour or so until the gondola line has petered out. Then you can ski one of the dumps back to gondola, earning a well-deserved 15min break to rest the legs and check your email. Wait did I just say that?! No cell phones on the gondy!
From this point on its really up to you where you want to go. Usually by 10:30 the fine folks of the Aspen Mountain Ski Patrol have done their avalanche safety work, and classic runs such as Walshes and Christys are open, certainly ones not to miss on a powder day. However on a really epic snow day you can’t go wrong, there are no bad or sub-par runs on Aspen Mt. If you lose your friends don’t get too bummed out, just take a three lap and meet at the water station! When it’s all said and done you can head over to the Sky Hotel for a little après ski party action, which is certainly well deserved.
For events this week the 2015 Directors Cup has come to Aspen, and Miller Sports is the host sponsor as the official ski shop. We are providing the very best in ski rentals and race tuning for all the event participants, and this evening we held a wine and cheese party to welcome everyone and celebrate the first day of racing. This event brings in a very eclectic group of skiers from all over the world, and it’s an honor to have them in our store and our town.