Since the end of the (Almost) Free Race Camp, I've been enjoying some free skiing in Colorado. And while yesterday at Vail was a ton of fun, today's adventure at Snowmass was a true outing....
First things first: a deep, bracing cold has embraced the Colorado Rockies. There was also some new snow brought in by a storm that accompanied the cold, which is a good thing, as the previous days' warm weather had made for some harder surfaces than most Coloradans found comfortable. The cold solidified the base, and the new, cold powder made things very nice, indeed.
The original plan for the day was another day at Vail, but a glimpse at the snow report changed the destination to Snowmass. So Paul and I loaded up the car and headed west, then southeast, then up the ever-more-snowy road to Snowmass. We splurged for the heated garage, which was a wise move, as it was 4 degrees outside (pliable boot shells make it easier to boot up, that's for sure!).
And it was a fabulous day to be on the slopes! The powder was anywhere from 8 to 12 inches deep, over a mostly soft base, and the crowds were mostly huddled in the lodges, condos and other warmer places at the base area.
Best stuff was in The Cirque and the hike-to areas like Hanging Valley Wall off the High Alpine chair. AMF and lower Gowdy's had some of the deepest pockets of soft, cold powder on nice, steep pitches. Big Spruce was worth the hike, too. Yes, the cold did eventually get to us, but not before some wonderful, smile-laden, whoop-and-holler punctuated runs through some very light, supple snow.
Paul had the definite equipment advantage on his Ski Logik Raves. I studied his pair closely and saw a quality ski with such attention to detail, and it did seem to make the rougher patches at Vail and Snowmass a lot less draining. I was on my Head Supershape Magnums, and they were a bit of a handful in the deeper stuff but weren't bad, either - they just required a bit of attention.
Anyhow, it was a great final ski day for my 2011 Colorado adventure.
Paul skiing lower Gowdy's
songfta skiing Big Spruce