YES…a powder day at last!

I’ve lived in Aspen since the song ‘Whoomp, there it is!’ was popular and can’t remember a period of time were we’ve had this long of a stretch with no measurable winter precip.  The western slope of the Rockies gets it’s fair share of powder and the last few weeks have been an unbearable wait for snowfall to return.  Finally, the last few days have dropped nearly 2 FEET of snow on our local mountains and according to the forecast, more on the way.  I was able to ski boot deep powder until my legs were thoroughly finished on Saturday and if I could have kept skiing, I would have, but they closed the lifts.  I skied Snowmass once again and as I haven’t been a regular on that mountain in about two decades, I wanted to find areas that have been newly opened in the last few years.  I found some interesting runs.  Read on.

DSCN0727 I started my day on Sheer Bliss and once again I found large, wide open intermediate runs that just keep going on and on.  One of the big differences between Snowmass and say, Aspen or the Highlands is run length.  The former hills are steeper but the runs relatively shorter, while this mountain takes it out of your legs because of length not pitch.  Above are some of the easy early morning runs I got under my belt before branching off for the steeper stuff.

DSCN0724More Sheer Bliss.  This run is loooong!

DSCN0721Yep, bottom of Sheer Bliss near the trees of Glissade and Free Fall.

DSCN0720I can’t even remember where I took this.  Along a tree line somewhere on High Alpine I think.  This was taken late morning and as you can see, hardly a track in here.

DSCN0737Here is a shot of a run that ended up being a detour on my way to Powderhorn.  This run is off of the skiers left of the ever popular Sneaky’s and it’s called the very cleaver, Sneaky’s Glades.  Back in the day this was considered O.B. and you had to duck ropes to get back here (so I heard).  Now it’s in bounds!  While not as sexy as ducking ropes (allegedly) , it’s still a nice little hidden area that you would ski by 100 times if you didn’t know it was there.  Back to Powderhorn.  I wanted to have a revisit of this run because the last time I skied it was over 20 years ago!  It’s a nice long run that starts at the Wine Cabin and ends up on the valley floor of the Old Snowmass valley.

DSCN0734Ok, now to the R.O.D.  Run of the Day.  I’ve clamored on about this area for three weeks now as I can’t seem to get enough of it.  Today I sent some of the posse in there as they haven’t been in here yet and they texted me after their first run with double thumbs up.  I’m talking about the Burnt Mountain Glades.  You access this area from the top of Elk Camp.  Hike the quick 5 minutes to the start of Long Shot and look right.  You’ll see (hopefully) a gate with the BMG sign on it.  Drop in and have fun.  The above photo is reminiscent of the terrain the area holds.  Nice long undulations with widely scattered trees and rollers.  Not a lot of traffic in here to muck things up.  Think of the terrain as lower wall but much longer.  The road out is pretty good but a bit dodgy in spots.  My son has his last weekly ski club lesson this Saturday and I’m planning on skiing this area exclusively until my legs fall off.  It’s that good.  Check it out.  You’ll love it.

DSCN0732More Burnt Mountain Glades.  This is where A line meets…oh, it doesn’t even matter.  Just ski it.   Everything you see before you is skiable terrain.   Notice there are no other tracks in here.  I skied it all day last Saturday and the only tracks I crossed were MY OWN!

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.