Snowing sideways, no visiblility and knee deep powder……perfect!

On Saturday I was supposed to have another ski race only to have it blizzard like crazy out.  What’s one supposed to do when your race gets cancelled; why ski powder of course!  It was a strange storm as it was lightly raining (yes, you read that correctly) at the mid-valley secret lair and as I drove up early in the morning, it turned to full on snow about half way up to Aspen.  I boarded the gondie promptly at 9am (no line of course) and once up top I was greeted by a monster blizzard that was rocking the gondie cars side to side in the wind.  I was pleasantly surprised by the amounts of snow (a foot or more in spots) but even more surprised by how light and dry it was considering the higher than average temps downvalley.  That’s what a 4000 foot elevation climb will do for you.  I spent all morning on the upper portions of the hill as everyone I spoke with said the snow was a little suspect on the lower mountain.  Nuff said.  Upper part it will be.  I skied every hidey hole I knew and in the trees until the clouds lifted around 11am.  Once the wind subsided and the visibility improved, you could ski the middle of the runs which hadn’t been touched yet.  It was like two powder days in one.  I skied every run on the upper mountain with re-do’s on all the eastern facing slopes as they were the most wind loaded.  Those eastern facing runs like Gretl’s, FIS, Reds and Pump House were all knee deep and if you pointed them, you could chew on some snow from the face shots.  My last run of the day was also the best of the day.  If you’re a regular reader you’ll already know what I’m about ready to say.  Cone Dump!  Man that run is good.  Eastern facing, rarely skied and deeeep.  As everyone said, once I got lower than slalom hill, the snow did get a bit wonky but it was still very skiable.  After 4 hours the legs were shattered and I was done.  Check out some photos from the day.


Coming down Sunrise into Chair 3.  This is a western facing run, so if you think this is deep,  wait till the photos of the eastern facing wind loaded stuff.  Also, since I was supposed to be racing today, I didn’t bring a camera on the mountain with me.  I was forced to take photos with my phone so sorry for the dodgy pics.

IMG_2608I skied down into this tree stash near Sunset around 10am.  I went by the entrance again at about 12.  Guess what, my track was still the only one there.  Perplexed?  Me too.  I skied it again.

IMG_2619Looking up the chute.

IMG_2618Looking down the chute.

IMG_2615Behind Bonnie’s Restaurant.  Face of Bell in the background with Sunrise and Sunset the farthest runs on the right of the photo.

IMG_2606No caption necessary.

Another sweet powder day here in the valley.  The snow is supposed to continue into Sunday with some sunshine following during the week.  I’m not sure how much free skiing I’m going to get this week.  Training for a ski race on Saturday and Sunday.  Stay tuned.

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.