Author Archives: Bobby Schafer

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 four 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.

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When I went to bed last night it was supposed to start blizzarding around midnight.  According to some of my friends who get up at ungodly hours to plow snow, it wasn’t even snowing at 3am.  When I got up this morning to find around 6 inches on the driveway of my secret lair, I was giddy with anticipation of what was to come high up on the mountain.  Keep in mind we haven’t had nary a snowflake in the air for a fortnight, so everyone was really looking forward to some new fresh pow.

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If you peek into the slot that used to be the old lift line between Reardon’s and Roch’s, this is what you’ll see.  Rarely skied but always a tricky double fall line treat hidden in plain sight.

DSCN0065Standing midway down SilverQueen.  I haven’t been in here too much this year but as you can see, it’s in really good shape.

 

Today I was supposed to train for an upcoming race this Saturday but promptly blew that off for powder instead.  I think tomorrow will get the same treatment because as I’m writing this, it’s totally pounding snow outside to the tune of an inch an hour.  The weather forecast is calling for at least a foot tonight.  I don’t think they’re pulling our chains because this afternoon there was at least a foot on the ground that wasn’t there this morning.

DSCN0055I skied some of my favorite hidy-holes today.  Here’s one in the trees just off the front side road to Face of Bell.  That single track you see before you is mine and it was so good I came back for another about two hours later and guess what….that was still the only track in there.

 

Speaking of crowds, or lack thereof I should say; today I had Aspen Mountain all to myself.  It was a ghost town and I was still getting untouched snow at noon!

DSCN0061Face of Bell.

DSCN0072Dumps.  I think this is Last Dollar.  I took this around 1pm and it was really starting to get deep at this point of the day.  I wish I had more in my legs as the mountain was really skiing well as the afternoon went on.

DSCN0054This is a pic of my first run today. One of the groomers under Chair 3.  As you can see, the visibility is still fairly good and there was a few inches to start the day.  Right after I took this, the heavens opened up and Ullr commenced making product.

DSCN0047I took this leaning out the window of the gondie.  This is a shot of the upper mountain late morning.

Check back tomorrow for more as I’m dropping my son off at Grandma’s so Daddy can get some face shots!  Over and out.

 

 

 

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We’re right in the middle of race season here in Aspen.  There is a long running town race series that has race divisions for everyone from ex world cup racers all the way down to families and kids.  Most of the races are either Slalom or Giant Slalom as well as a Super G and Downhill in February.  Anyone can come out to the Highlands on Saturdays, throw down your ducketts and race on Thunderbowl.  It’s a bit more of a course than NASTAR and the gate sets are usually by ex world cuppers.  It’s fast, fun and a good way to build those free skiing skills.

Today I had a slalom training day in the morning then I broke out my fatties for a free ski on Highlands.  It was a crisp gorgeous bluebird day and the hill was void of people to get in the way.  I skied everything from Steeplechase to Apple Strudel today.  Check out some pics.

IMG_2556Getting ready to drop into Steeplechase.  This portion is called Garmish and it was a tad firm today.  A decent edge was needed to get purchase on the snow.

IMG_2560Here I am on Face of Oly.  That’s the top of the Cloud 9 lift foreground and in the background is the Cloud 9 restaurant.  If you’ve never been there, you have to check it out.  One of the best ‘hidden’ restaurants on our 4 mountains.  Pardon the lousy out of focus photo, my camera was in my pocket and the lens was fogged up from skiing so hard.

IMG_2551More blue cruisers please!

IMG_2544Look at that.  Buddah!

IMG_2555This is the top of the Loge Peak lift as you get off.   Yes, that’s the infamous Highland Bowl in the background.  If you keep skiing straight at this point, you’ll end up at the snowcat that cuts off a few minutes of hiking.  The rest have to be done the hard way all the way up to 11,000+ feet in altitude.  The hike takes place along the ridge line in the background. Check out Erik’s Bowl Blog for more.

IMG_2559Here’s some beginner bumps under the Loge Peak chair.  These are nice to start out on as they have little pitch and are perfectly shaped.

Tomorrow I’m skiing with my four year old then taking in some X Games.  Saturday is race day.  Check back for more this week.

That’s all for today, I’m out.

 

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When people see me on the mountain they’re always asking about new runs or mountains.  I’m always trying to get people over to Aspen Highlands.  However, one of the most common things I hear about the Highlands is ‘it’s too hard for me’.  They’ll say, ‘I think I’ll head to Snowmass instead’.  Oh, but you would be making a very big mistake.

DSCN0026Standing at the bottom of Mouse Trap just under the Loge Peak chair.  This is the main way down if you’re not heading to the bowl or down Steeplechase.

So, I was at the Highlands doing gate training this week for an upcoming race this weekend and had a few moments for a few free skiing runs.  Thanks to locals like Eric and his Bowl Blog, there is that side of the hill the locals rave about.  The ‘Highlands Bowl’ that is hike to only, Steeplechase and the Oly side.  All worthy opponents if you’re in the upper 20% of skiers with the ability to really enjoy these runs. If you’re like a large majority of skiers, you’ll take your cruisers and nice long groomers on a crisp sunny day and be very happy.  Here are some photos of my favorite Highlands blue cruiser runs.

DSCN0019Meadows ski run under Loge Peak lift.  Taken at 11am.  Anyone, anyone, Bueller?

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Almost to the top of the Exhibition Lift.  Merry Go Round restaurant is to the right of the water shack.

DSCN0031Taken at noon in Thunderbowl.  Yes, corduroy at noon!

DSCN0029More mid mountain blue intermediate runs.  I think this is Kandahar.

DSCN0006Taken from the Exhibition chair.  This is the bottom of Nugget.

As you can see, there are copious amounts of nice wide open blue cruisers at Highlands.  Next time someone asks you to head over and explore, remember, there are plenty of runs that you can have fun on.

Over and out, BBB

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OK , here we go with more skiing photos and diatribe from the bald one as only I can give.  I know you’ve been emailing and wanting the Local’s Lowdown to return and alas, here you go!

IMG_2434It will be fairly simple to bring you up to speed since opening day.  Ullr has blessed the Roaring Fork Valley this year and has unleashed his full fury on us since mid-November.  It’s been steadily snowing since.  We had a tremendous opening weekend with several feet of new snow adding an already expanding base.

IMG_2446I’ll try to bring you up to speed with a collage of photos from the last month.  As the adage goes, pictures are worth…way more than I could put into words.

IMG_2429 Under the Gondie heading to Pussyfoot.  Now for some powder day shots….

IMG_2414Behind Bonnies on Aspen Mountain.  Both sets of tracks are mine.  No one else wanted any part of this run that morning.

IMG_2422Christmas Tree on Back of Bell, Aspen

IMG_2417Face of Bell.  On opening day there was so much snow in here you didn’t even have to avoid the rocks in the usual spots.

IMG_2410Gretel’s run.  I was essentially by myself on this morning.  I think I took this after the mountain had been open for an hour or so.  Yes, even you, can get freshies like this if you get to the hill at opening bell.

IMG_2409I can’t even remember where this is but look at how sweet this untracked field of pow looks.  That’s a good problem to have if it’s so good you can’t even remember runs this good.

Stay tuned for more.  It’s currently dumping at my secret lair and has been all day.  Tomorrow should be a genuinely good day.