Stepping off the gondola this morning I could see that the upper mountain sky was a bit milky. But I was reassured that there was fresh powder to ski once I took my first step into what was some soft and forgiving fluff.
I was immediately impressed with how "floaty" the snow was. What I'm trying to say is that it was practically effortless to keep my ski tips up and slice my way down the trails. Runs like Three O'clock were especially nice because, though the visibility was a bit challenging, I had confidence in the softness below my feet. Sticking to the edges of the trail along the tree line was a smart idea for adding a little contrast to the terrain below. Exploring the mountain today also led me to some often overlooked little nooks like the short, tree-cleared chute off of Sunnyside which pops you onto Moonlight and back to the Sundown Express Lift. I found a few spritely little twigs poking through the snow in this area but nothing to get my tail feathers in a bunch.
My ski partner and I headed over to the Morningside area of the mountain next. It seems that any overnight breeze we had blew some large pockets of snow into this section of the mountain. Zipping down the undulating terrain of the Hot Cakes run, I spotted some deeper sections of fresh reaching just above ankle deep. There was nothing but untracked snow... which was a big delight. From the top, my ski partner and I decided to check out Chute 1. Neither of us had explored this trail in a long while so we dropped in for a thrill. About midway down I noticed a slight splash of snow rippling below my feet. It was nothing to cause alarm but a mini-slide of snow none the less. It gave the sensation of skiing over a roller bed of tiny marbles as I glazed my way to the bottom. On the whole, quite a joy.
Heading back to the base area, runs like Upper and Lower Valley View were skiing great. Carving large, arcing turns on these runs left me shooting giant rooster tails into the sky. I could feel the weight of the fresh snow tapping my inner shins as I danced from edge to edge. But what security I felt the entire time, knowing the moisture in this latest dump of powder was stable enough to secure and hold my weight with every turn.
So wax up your skis, your board, sit-ski, snow blades, snow-bike or any other mechanism you use to schuss down the slopes these days and come join us. The forecast is calling for another winter weather system to hit today through Wednesday so it's shaping up to mean some incredible late January conditions.
I'll A, B, C-ya later...
David Wittlinger, Alpine Skier