For this one, the mountain opened - late, but it opened. And I did not drive anywhere.
I was up in Winter Park for spring break. My condo was in town, about two miles from the ski area. Skis, boots, pants, etc. already at the area. My usual method of getting to the area was to just step out to the highway in front of the condo and wait for someone I knew to come by and pick me up.
On the day in question (a Wednesday, I think), it had been snowing all week, but the night before, it had really picked up and dumped (this is not a typo) 48" overnight! CDOT has some large and impressive equipment for keeping Berthoud Pass open, and Highway 40 through town was actually open. Berthoud Pass was not. Major slides, as you might expect. Berthoud did not re-open for something like 4 days. Flights were missed.
Someone did pick me up, but when I got to the ski area, I found that all employees were being recruited to shovel. The lifts were buried, of course. The Zephyr didn't turn until 10:30, or something like that. I took a picture of a friend of mine in the elevator with a snowblower to take it to a second floor deck that was normally heated for snow removal. The storm had completely overwhelmed the heating system. The snow usually fell through the steel mesh tables on the deck, but today they had 4 feet of snow on them.
When we were finally able to go up the mountain, we eagerly headed up to try out all this wonderful powder (as soon as we were released from shoveling). Well, this was in the Olden Days, before fat skis. The powder was of reasonable quality, but it wasn't 5% moisture, and it was quite a bit denser as it got deeper, just because of settling. What this meant was that most of the mountain was almost unskiable on the 70mm-80mm width skis of the day. If you tried to stand normally, the snow would come to the middle of your chest while you were standing still. Even straightlining a fairly steep run, you would just grind to a halt and have to push yourself down the hill. Some experimentation by some very good instructors revealed that it was actually possible to move down the hill by sitting way back so the skis would rise up enough to get your body sort of out of the snow and reduce the resistance to forward movement. Turning was not possible or required. It was weird and not that much fun.
Falling could be a disaster. The Ski Patrol rescued several people who nearly suffocated when they fell down.
Visibility was poor. It snowed hard all day.
Late in the afternoon, I was skiing more or less normally in a corridor on a black run that had been chewed up by dedicated souls pushing their way down the hill. The run was still littered with big blocks of unskied snow. Foolishly, I headed toward one at speed, thinking I could blast through it.
It turned out to be a large unskied area at the side of the run. Seconds later, I was stopped, standing in snow up to my chest, 15 feet into the deep area, with my skis still on my feet. It took me a good 10 minutes to kick my way out backward.
I don't know what it was about the snow that day that made movement down the hill so difficult. Just the wrong combination of density and depth, I suppose. I have since skied 36" of untracked on 78mm skis. Given enough pitch, it works fine, although fat skis make it much easier. That day, I needed something with a waist of about 120mm. Or more.