A foot of cold smoke powder…..in mid April!

As luck would have it, Sunday night provided us with yet another quick moving spring storm that left us with a foot! of new snow up top.  Interestingly enough, there wasn’t a trace of snow in the parking lot when I rocked up to Snowmass for yet another weekly stop. In late season, I like to check out the upper expert areas that are nice and filled in this time of year.  As I did last week, the first thing I did was take the Sheer Bliss chair to the top and had a nice knee deep top to bottom run on Big Burn for a warm up.  Once up top, I noticed the poma opening and as I stood in line, the ski patrol came by and opened up every expert chute in that drainage.  I headed for the longest run of them all, AMF.

The sun was out and quickly making hints that it would turn all that fresh snow into mashed potatoes within the next few hours.  I had to ski all of the eastern facing runs as fast as I could or risk that sun turning that cold smoke to slop.  It was a cold day on Monday barely getting into the 30’s F but the sun is so strong this time of year, it has the power to quickly change the snow conditions.

DSCN0395Heading up the Sheer Bliss chair about 10am.  There are still plenty of fresh lines just to the left of this photo.  I bowed to temptation and had a go on this run once up top.

DSCN0398This shot was taken at the same time as the one above but looking down the mountain.  Notice there is no one on the chair lift.  It was as empty as a North Korean free speech convention up there yesterday.  I practically had the entire hill to myself. 

DSCN0413Here I am a few hours later standing in the cliff bands of the upper wall.  To get here, you have to take the High Alpine chair to the top and then have a quick 10 minute hike over the ridgeline to the Wall.  This is some of the best in-bounds/out-of-bounds experience of the four ski areas.  Still lots of fresh tracks in here at noon.

DSCN0420Somewhere in the lower part of the Wall.  I think this was on my way to Union.  Keep going left and you end up having fresh tracks like this.  Keep in mind this is around noon or so. 

DSCN0409Here’s the AMF drainage.  About 500 vertical and man was it good.  This was my third run of the day.  And yes, you are not seeing things, there is still plenty of fresh powder to be had.

DSCN0421More lower Wall.  This was my last run of the day around 2pm.  I had to ski the right side as that was protected by the shade.  The sun had cooked the rest of the run. 

Snowmass is a massive place and the runs are extremely long.  The legs can only take so much and by early afternoon my legs are shattered.  Another week of skiing then the road bike comes out.  Stay tuned.















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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.