It’s a powder day in the Boat! Kind of, anyway. Even though the mountain reported no new snow, I was definitely delighted to ski some creamy mashed potatoes this morning. It may not have been a top-3 powder day, but it sure was nice to feel new snow under my feet and see coverage of all the dirty, old snow around town.

Morning fog

Morning fog

The view from the gondola was a dismal one. Visibility was incredibly low, and I wondered what the top of Sundown Express had to offer. With the different conditions today, my run plan changed in accordance. Groomer runs shifted to tree runs which was a delightful change of pace. On days like today, skiing in the trees is helpful for a number of reasons: They protect you and the snow from the wind, they give you depth perception in poor visibility, and they provide the best and deepest snow conditions.

First tracks on Twilight

First tracks on Twilight

As I made my way down High Noon to Twilight, I was greeted with first tracks on the run. Although the snow under the dusting of powder was crunchy and springlike, the fluff on top was well worth the wait. The denser the trees I got in, the deeper the snow was.

Trees protecting the snow from the wind

Trees protecting the snow from the wind

There is a significant difference from skiing in the pines to skiing in the Aspens. On our deep, champagne powder days I always seek out our perfectly spaced aspens because they provide a turning radius that allows you to keep an even speed to push through the deep snow. Today, I preferred the tighter-spaced pine trees. They kept the new snow even more protected from the wind and had less affect on the springlike conditions underfoot. I was a happy girl.

Storm Peak Face abyss

Storm Peak Face abyss

As I followed Ski Patrol down Storm Peak face to lower mountain, I literally had to ski by feel. When the fog gets as thick as it was, you begin to experience vertigo, which is not a comforting feeling. Once I reached Rainbow, I felt more confident back in familiar territory. Lower Rainbow was soft with a smooth groom underneath.

Lower Ted's Ridge

Lower Ted’s Ridge

By the time I was halfway down Vagabond and making my way over to lower Ted’s Ridge, I was below the fog and embracing blue skies in the distance. Bashor greeted me with sunny skies and considerable warmer temperatures. The base area felt like our plethora of springs days. As I have always heard, “If you don’t like the weather in Colorado, wait five minutes.” Today’s extremes were exactly that.

Enjoy the new snow and be courteous to others around you!

Brett Buckles, Alpine skier

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