The first day of Spring lives up to it’s name

The vernal equinox is upon us and it sure is nice having equal amounts of daylight after a long winter of dark and cold.  If you’ve checked out the current weather in the upper Roaring Fork Valley surely you’ll know that it’s been nothing but abundant sunshine and temps in the 50’sF the entire week with more on the way.  Which means one thing, SPRING SKIING!  Here’s the kicker though…the skiing doesn’t get good until noon when the sun has had a chance to work it’s magic.  Which means you can have a nice sleep in, enjoy a leisurely breakfast, read the paper THEN hit the mountain.  The sun needs some time to soften things a bit after a nighttime freeze.  You could go skiing early, but why, the snow is harder than CroMoly steel and setting an edge on it is harder than getting a perfect bracket for March Madness.

DSCN0857Oh my, how the the intense sun gave me very overexposed photos today.  The reflection of the sun on the snow makes for great skiing and a rocking goggle tan but getting pics of it is challenging.  I took this standing on Sunrise around 3pm looking at Gretl’s, Reds and Upper FIS.

DSCN0858Panning over to a view of Chair 6 up to the Ruthies side of the mountain.  As you can see, the coverage is still pretty good for late March.

DSCN0856Another shot from Sunrise looking south towards Pump House, center, and Bonnies Restaurant, right.  Tourtellette Park, which used to be a town in the mining days (complete with it’s own post office) is sandwiched in between.

DSCN0861Looking the other way (East) towards Sunrise,left, Deer Park, center, and One and Two Leaf, right.  Gondola in the background and Chair 3 center.  That about covers it on the upper part of the ski hill.

DSCN0854I did a few top to bottoms today staying mainly in the Dumps.  This, however, is the lower part of the area known as Slalom Hill.  A couple of bare spots but nothing to be alarmed about….yet!  You can see the old 1A chair to the left and town in the background.  You can even make out how green the grass is getting in Wagner Park, center.

DSCN0862A shot of Face of Bell taken from Perry’s in the Dumps.

DSCN0848One last shot of Bonnies as the sun starts to fade in the late afternoon.  The mountain stayed open today until 6pm and it would have been fun to ski that late if my legs held out.  Spring slush bumps are tiring on the body.  A few more weeks of skiing then it’s time to get out the motorcycle.  Stay tuned for a few more updates.

I’m out.









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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.