Thursday, February 17, 2011
Powder Day Serendipity
Today is another one of those amazing powder days, where Skico for some strange reason reports six inches of snowfall, while friends and guests lucky enough to ski, report totals in the knee to thigh-deep range. I assume Skico chooses to air on the side of caution so as avoid being accused of embellishing the snow totals. But who cares what the reason is for underreporting snow totals. Finding twice as much snow than what was reported is always a welcome treat! Another example of powder day serendipity is the fact that the mountains of Aspen are often mysteriously empty when the snow is falling hard. While almost everyone loves those famous blue-bird powder days, where snow falls all night and the clouds magically part in the morning to reveal blue skies, many people choose not to ski when Mother Nature pounds the mountains of Aspen with snow during the day. For some this is due to visibility issues, while others may not enjoy snow hitting their face all day. Some people might look up at the mountain and become down right intimidated by what they see. Yet reasons such as these shouldn’t discourage people from heading out on the mountain during a storm. Strategy and proper clothing are all that is necessary to make a day of storm skiing one to remember. Water proof clothing and face protection are a must. As far as visibility goes, skiing in the trees is your best bet. Winds are generally much less dramatic in the woods while the trees themselves help provide depth perception, which mitigates the effects of poor visibility. Not to mention the fact that wind often carries and deposits snow into the woods, affording those who seek a really special treat. For those who are not comfortable skiing in the trees, skiing near them can be equally as helpful as skiing in them. Except during especially savage storms, it is actually very peaceful up on the mountain during a snow storm. The fact of the matter is skiing while it’s dumping is the only time in which every run you take will be better than the last. The sheer joy of taking an amazing run, only to find that your tracks are filled in by the time you return, is something hard to describe. You will probably look around, chuckle to yourself and ask, “Where is everyone?” But who cares. While everyone else is sitting in the lodge waiting out the storm, you will be enjoying one of the best days you’ve ever had. Give it a try. What looks like a nasty day may well turn out to be an instance of powder day serendipity that you won't soon forget!