It's not over yet. Ski season 2012/13 took a huge turn for the positive Saturday night.
15 inches of beautiful, high quality POW POW dropped itself on Aspen Mountain. It was sort of heavy and wet and wind-blown and kind of weird (see previous post), but it was fresh and natural and "not man-made". This storm allowed the Silver Queen Gondola to open for top-to-bottom skiing for the first time this season. All the usual suspects were near the front of the line around 8 a.m. and the pent up demand was apparent. By 9 a.m. the lift line wound all the way down to Durant Street.
For the record, I'm still freaked out about the climate, but I was thrilled to see the ground on both sides of the Roaring Fork Valley covered with snow. Because of my climate fears I have become more of a student of snow quality. While this 15" is much appreciated it's really just a start, a good base if you will. The ski patrol and mountain operations folks have a HUGE job ahead. Most people riding the gondy were amazed by the huge cracks and fissures in the snow on the back side of Bell Mountain. "Extremely rare, I've never seen that before" declared one 40 year local on the Gondy. Snow slides in bounds were visible on Keith's Glen and Dipsy Headwall...highly unusual. Not much was open due to extreme avalanche issues and/or the big rocks and stumps laying in wait just below the newly fallen snow. It was sunny, cold and gorgeous and it was great to be on top again.
Luckily the entire staff at AspenSpin got our laps in early, as the crowd on the mountain built steadily. The entire posse of hungry pow hounds was funneled into Copper Bowl where they came face-to-face with a large number of "skier visits" as well as powerful snow guns blasting gravel-like man made POW into their faces. Visibility was "zero" in some spots. But it was fun and Winter and hopefully no one got hurt.
While 15" does not a season make, this storm was crucial for Aspen. The entire City of Aspen breathed a collective sigh of relief with the realization that last night's precipitation was for real. The locals for the most part depend on tourism for their livelihood, and we realize that if conditions are not primo...the people with their own planes and 2nd & 3rd homes, the 1%ers, have a few other options. They will cancel and spend Christmas elsewhere. The beautiful people want to be where the action is...whether it's Jackson Hole, or St. Barts or Dubai or where ever. This is the storm that saved Christmas in Aspen.
So fire up the G, brah. Book your private lessons. Alert your chef. Lock in your afternoon massages, but remember to pack your woolies...it's Winter.
Christmas isON in Aspen.