The Warm Before the Storm
No matter how good or bad a ski season has been, there are a few things that will always happen without fail. First, it will get very cold. Anyone who was here in December will remember those few weeks of sub-zero temps and frosty winds. Second, it will get unseasonably warm. With temps reaching into the 40s in town, we are smack dab in the middle of our warm stretch. Fortunately for everyone, that doesn’t necessarily mean that conditions are bad. We’ve had so much snow (279.5″) this year that a little warm weather can’t even put a dent in our snowpack. So on days like today, it’s best to enjoy what’s good now while keeping an eye our for the next storm cycle. (Hint: It should be here this afternoon.)
The gondola ride up this morning was a bit windy and the readings from the lab at the top showed 30mph gusts, so I decided to make today a lower mountain day. My first choice on the lower mountain is almost always straight down Heavenly Daze. It has the most sustained vertical on the mountain, and if its freshly groomed you can treat it like your very own super G course. If there are a lot of people on the Daze, the next best option is taking a left down Valley View. On my second lap down the Daze, I noticed that Ted’s Ridge was groomed and immediately took a hard right. Ted’s might be the most under-rated trail on the mountain. It’s steep the whole way down and really has a different feel from most of our groomed runs. With little hills and valleys to turn on, it’s a great run to get playful on and turn wherever the terrain lets you.
On days with no new snow I always try and take one run that I don’t think will be good. I mean, you never know until you try, right? So this morning that meant a run through Oops and lower Concentration. I’m not saying it was great, but the warmer temps have kept the top of the bumps fairly soft and mostly ice free. About halfway down Concentration, I decided to dip off into the new glade on the skier’s left side of the run. The snow was pretty set up, but there were a few fresh turns to be had, and it’s always fun to mix it up. Overall, I was pretty surprised about how little this warm period has affected the snow. I wouldn’t recommend too much tree skiing today, but if you really want to practice your moguls, you wont be cursing your decision halfway down the run.
There is supposed to be a storm moving in this afternoon that could drop a good amount of snow in just a few hours. If you haven’t ever experienced it, night powder is pretty awesome!
Dan Tullos, snowboarder
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