Most people tend to describe foggy days as “pea soup” but today was much more akin to clam chowder (in this skier’s opinion). Our mountain is encapsulated with a large cloud that seems intent on spewing its glorious white precipitation atop our heads.
As the crystals fell from above, visibility all around was a bit challenging. Most of the terrain I found most enjoyable was at the edges of tree runs along groomed, smooth surfaces. Skier’s left of Two O’clock is a perfect example of what I’m talking about. I thought I’d never say this, but finding runs with a few existing lines already carved into them is a good idea. Anything that gives your eyes some contrast in the snow will make focusing your attention on your turns all the more pleasurable.
Exploring the Twilight trees this morning lead to some incredible powder with just a little crunch below. But as the inches continued to stack up, the trails got softer and softer. The snow today would best be described as milky smooth and offered a lot of float beneath my wide tipped skis. Not that making turns was effortless. But many of the upper and mid-mountain trails (Sunset, for example) were covered with enough fluff to plow through with very little effort.
Our main intermediate trails like Rainbow were wide open and glorious. But tracking a good line became a tad trickier as the visibility was dense and sparse on reflective light. These are the days I am glad I spent a little extra on quality goggles. It’s also a day I believe will bring even an expert skier back to the fundamentals of balance and proper edge control. As the heavens continue to vomit more of the powder we cherish, the inches continue to stack up. At the beginning of the day I’d guess there was about 2 inches of fresh underfoot. But as I made my way to the bottom around 10am, at least another 2-3 have fallen and continues to fall.
All in all, this was a wonderful day to experience what skiing in the Rockies is all about. Assuming you’ve got the proper equipment to get you from top to bottom, it’s extremely enjoyable to be on the mountain during this type of winter weather.
So get out there and enjoy the fresh now that it’s back. If you’re like me, you never miss an opportunity to ski powder.
Dave Wittlinger, Alpine skier