By Jack Affleck/Vail Resorts
The cycle of the ski day is still, incredibly, caked in snow
January 26, 2008 —
The cycle of the ski day didnít begin in the morning. It began halfway through my umpteenth knee-deep powder turn down one of my favorite Back Bowl runs when I stopped, took in the incredible blue-bird view, and thought to myself, ďI have no right to expect ski conditions like this right now.Ē
But itís true: Somehow, some way, Mother Nature and ski-crowd psychology have conspired to leave huge tracts of untracked snow throughout most of my favorite secret stashes on Vail Mountain. Even the more popular, heavily-skied runs were still softer than the other side of the pillow, lighter than the atmosphere at a comedy club, and lighted by a Colorado sun which had absolutely zero cloud interference on this outstanding January day.
Another beautiful thing happened: for the first time in more than a month, I shedded a layer because I was overheating. The temperatures soared to barely above freezing, a huge milestone for us considering the plummeting mercury weíve dealt with of late.
As I packed my sweater away into my backpack and replaced goggles with my long-lost sunglasses, I took in the surroundings and realized that the recent 4-inch snow flurry was actually a heck of a lot more than 4 inches (at least, on some spots on the mountain). Either that, or the powder remaining from the massive storm cycles which characterized most of December and January simply overwhelmed our ability to track it all out.
I figure it like this: Thereís been some moaning about weekend crowds at Vail, and itís true, there are often times huge numbers of people on Vail Mountain. But the staggering truth which comes to a man who stops and takes a break halfway down Windows, and gazes out at the massive Back Bowls which fill the eye, that Vail Mountainís hugeness is still many orders of magnitude bigger than the numbers of skiers and riders who try their best to trace tracks down its slopes.
Plus, if you know your way, you never need ride boiler-plate snow during a month of snow like the ones weíve had, consecutively, in December and January. If youíre willing to traverse a few moments before taking the plunge, there are areas which simply donít get skied very often by the masses, and masses of snow still sit, relatively untouched, waiting for me to ride them tomorrow.
Tired and happy, I will dream of those masses tonight and ride them tomorrow, when the cycle of the ski day begins all over again.
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