3/14/15 or if you’re a numerologist….3.1415…..PI day!

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On Friday the perfect quintessential spring skiing day awaited me but I got briefly sidetracked as it was a date that only happens once every centennial.  If you’re a math geek like myself, you were rejoicing in the fact that the the date lined up perfectly for the first time in 100 years if you’re a PI fan.  It wasn’t just March 14th, but March 14th, 2015….3/14/15.  Or if you will, 3.1415.  PI taken to 4 digits.  PI is the ratio of a circles circumference to it’s diameter and goes on indefinitely.  It’s been used as a value for 4000 years and was first thought to be used by the Babylonians in mathematics.  (say that with a Cliff Claven voice for added effect)  OK, where was I….enough of that and on to the skiing.  The sun was out and the temps hovered in the 50’sF in town making for a great spring skiing day.  Let’s start with some pics and then I’ll give you the necessary hints on how to survive a deep corn day like we’ve had in the last week or so.

DSCN0832I rolled up to the mountain around noon today as the sun needs a little time in the mornings to work it’s magic.  Here is the jist of how spring skiing works in Colorado.

The soft snow that has melted in the sun all day turns rock hard over night in the freezing temps.  As the sun rises the next morning, it starts to re-melt that snow and turn it all soft and mushy again.  Put simply, the early morning skiing is a challenge as the runs are solid ice.  Have a leisurely breakfast and get to the mountain around 11 and ski until close.

However, there’s one caveat  to this statement. You need to follow the sun as it’s rays melt the eastern facing runs first then as the day progresses, the western facing slopes follow.  So start your day skiing runs like Tourtellette Park, Red’s, Ruthies, The Dumps and Walsh’s.  As the day progresses and the shadows take over those runs then switch to the Face of Bell and Gent’s Ridge.

DSCN0831Ruthies side of the hill with town in the background.  The snow was melted perfectly making those bumps as soft as a down pillow.  Spring skiing just may be better than a full on powder day as it’s warm and you can see.  Two huge bonuses.

DSCN0842As it was later in the day, you can see the shadows already have the Dumps in their grasp.  I’m standing on Gent’s Ridge taking this photo and those western facing runs are basking in the full glow of the sun.  And yes, they are all kinds of soft and mushy all the way down to Copper.

DSCN0828This was taken very late.  Almost 4pm.  As you can see, it’s fairly busy here in Tortilla Flats.  It is spring break after all.  If you look closely at Chair 3 though, you’ll see maybe 20 people in that lift line.  Yup, ski right to the chair.  Welcome to Aspen Mountain.

DSCN0836I’m standing on Face of Bell looking at Pump House on the left and Gretl’s on the right.  Tourtellette Park in the middle of the photo.

DSCN0826Midnight off of Buckhorn.  If you take this down and look left, you can access Pump House from a cat road.  Some beginner bumps on the right and groomed on the left.  Can’t go wrong.

DSCN0833Another shot of eastern facing runs on the Bonnies Restaurant side.  It looks like a lot of bumps but it’s not that bad.   Lot’s of groomed in the middle.

There is still a month of skiing to be had.  Make those plans to come on out.  As you can see, there is still plenty of snow left.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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About Bobby Schafer

My first introduction to skiing was at a little mom and pop ski area tucked into a small corner of Rocky Mountain National Park. This was my second year of college. After graduation with a couple of bachelor degrees firmly in hand, I would regularly find myself daydreaming at work of being the next Scot Schmidt or Glen Plake. After a year of working a 'real job', I had had enough and decided to pull the pin and find a ski resort where I could ski every day. I sold everything I owned, loaded my favorite K2 TNC's on the roof rack and started driving my old Cherokee towards the Rockies. I had no idea where I would end up and after a month of driving around, I found Aspen. I've now surpassed my 20th year here in the Roaring Fork Valley and still love this place as much as I did on day 1. I had a good run as I was able to figure out how to ski 5 to 6 days a week by working evenings. I did that for 17 years. Things have changed a bit now as I have a family and priorities change. I'm currently on the mountain a few days a week with one of them dedicated to skiing with my five year old son. With so much time on our four mountains in the last 20 years, I would like to share my knowledge and insight with you as you plan your ski trip to our mountains. I hope you can ski vicariously through my camera lens and enjoy Aspen/Snowmass as much as I do.