The powder storms are "just missing" Aspen, Colorado so far this ski season. That doesn't mean that Aspen isn't a ski town. Tonight, Aspen legends took the stage at two separate locations for 2 separate events to celebrate skiing.
Mac Smith, Aspen Highlands Ski Patrol Director since 1979 and his sidekick patroller Jeff (O.J.) Melahn gave an oral history of Aspen Highlands and Highland Bowl. Smith has been poaching lines in the bowl since the 60's and Melahn almost as long. The Aspen Historical Society's lecture series, Time Travel Tuesdays brought in Smith and Melahn to speak before a huge crowd at the Wheeler/ Stallard Museum. They re-lived the POW DAYS, the extremely hard work they put in to get the bowl ready for skiers and the 1984 tragedy that resulted in the death of 3 patrolers. Those left behind in 1984 took snow science to the next level and now Highland Bowl is the closest thing to back country skiing within the confines of a resort. If you've ever "earned your turns" by hiking up Highland Bowl to experience the joy of shredding the EPIC super-steeps ---you owe Mac Smith, O.J. Melahn and others a debt of gratitude. They shared the fascinating history of Aspen's Highland Bowl along with the love and respect they have for Aspen Highlands. The crowd went wild.
Big Mountain alpinist and skier Chris Davenport loved Antarctica so much last year-- he returned for more. He admitted, it's no easy trip to get to the bottom of the world.
This time Davenport took a few friends and a crack camera crew to sail, climb, ski and document the most extreme environment on earth. Dav. and his crew produced a soon to be released documentary film about their exploits. The movie, entitled Austrailis, an Antarctic Ski Odyssey was named after the 75 ft, steel-hulled sail / motor boat that transported the team across the Drake Passage to Antarctica. Austrailis is still a work in progress, but Chris shared awesome photos and videos with the SRO crowd at the Ute Mountaineer, as part of their free lecture series --the first Tuesday of each month. C.D. shared awesome stories of the trip, the mountains, the climbs and the first decents.
Learn more; click. Chris Davenport.