Opening weekend….Bluebird skies, Great conditions and World Cup skiing!

It’s hard to imagine that only 3 weeks ago we didn’t have a flake of snow on the ground and the temperatures were more reminiscent of September than November.  How things have changed in the last week.  In fact, Aspen Mountain received so much snow from one storm they managed to open 6 days early and have top to bottom skiing to boot.  That one storm also produced enough quality snow that the women’s World Cup race course was in perfect shape with a week to spare.

DSCN0440I wasn’t able to get on the mountain on opening day as I work Friday through Monday for the next month, but I was able to go up 3 days mid week.  It was a blessing in disguise as it kept snowing on Tuesday and the crowds were minimal at best.  The above shot was taken from the gondola around 9am.  As you can tell, abundant snowfall has our early season conditions looking pretty good.

DSCN0431Another Tuesday shot heading up chair 3 to the top.  It was blizzard conditions which was all the better as it kept the crowds at bay and more powder for me.

DSCN0429I was standing on top of Pump House when I took this shot.  You can just make out the gondola cars in the background.

On Wednesday and Thursday the sun came out and warmed things up making for great skiing in the sunshine.  Once again, the crowds were fairly thin considering the open acreage right now and since there were no lift lines, the legs failed in no time flat.

DSCN0445I took this shot of Pussyfoot on the first run of the day.  Still some left over snow on top to make it nice and soft for those first runs.

DSCN0459Behind Bonnie’s Restaurant on Gretl’s run.  The clouds were breaking up and another hour later they were all gone.  And no, this is not a shot from last year…..the coverage is this good right now.

DSCN0454Another peek from Pump House

DSCN0467The final run of the day.  My legs were feeling second hand at this point and I had a go down FIS.  That’s Bell Mountain in the background and it’s yet to be opened.  One more good storm and there should be enough coverage to open it up.

….and one last thought.  As I was on the chair lifts last week, I overhead several different conversations about skiing technique.  People kept droning on about ramp angle under the binding, 1 degree of boot cant here or there, over rotating the hip and how if affects the turn and so on.  Here’s the deal, don’t get caught up in the minutiae of skiing and just ski.   Those people are missing the point.  It’s about having fun, getting some fresh air and feeling invigorated by the sport.  Don’t over think it.  Just ski.

…And that is all, 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.