Sunday, February 8, 2009

Snowmass somewhat sucks

I need to stop blogging when I’m so tired.

Well, today was the SES day at Snowmass and I wasn’t completely impressed. The first problem came about when Sean and I drove up to the base of Snowmass Mountain, or at least we tried to. We made it as far as the village but couldn’t figure out how to reach the mountain itself or where to park. Finally it was realized that day skiers have to park WAY down below the village and get a shuttle up to the base. This system doesn’t work well and makes me grumpy. There isn’t much in the way of signage to indicate the day skier parking until you’re on your way back down from the village.

Again today it was fairly warm (about +8C) so the trip thus far has been like spring snowboarding in early February. I enjoy it because I don’t get so cold but it makes for some heavy sticky snow. I work on my goggle tan when the sun is out. The light was very flat at the beginning of the day so I lost most of my depth perception which slowed me down a lot. I tried riding without my goggles but for some reason everything appeared blue and still flat. Luckily the sun came out periodically through the clouds later on which improved the temp and the depth problem.

Sean was interested in the beginner’s carving clinic and I figured I’d try it on Luna even though she’s an all-around board. I did learn a bit about carving technique but sucked somewhat at the application part. I need to learn to use Luna’s edges more to let her carry me in a turn instead of tipping slightly up on edge and sliding my turns. My legs were still tired from yesterday so I sat out the second run for a snack and rest. Neither Sean nor I lasted much longer as we were already somewhat disenfranchised with the mountain.

There were some nice runs at Snowmass but the consensus is that so far Buttermilk is our preferred place to ride. There are four mountains in the Aspen area: Snowmass, Aspen Mountain, Buttermilk and Aspen Highlands. Tomorrow we’ll be getting first tracks at Aspen Mountain, the base of which is right in town like Zermatt. First tracks means we’ll get time on the mountain before the masses, such as they are here. Again today it wasn’t terribly busy which is AWESOME!

I actually prefer Zermatt over Aspen because it’s more scenic in Zermatt and the mountains are higher. There was also more snow in Zermatt. All the locals here are talking about the lack of recent snow and the warm temps. Tonight I was pleasantly surprised to see that the snow is coming down thick and heavy which will hopefully make for good runs tomorrow.

Snowmass has a vertical rise of 4,406 feet and 36 Disneylands could fit within the ski boundaries. The base elevation is at 8,104 feet with the summit being at 12,510 ft. Aspen Mountain has a vertical rise of 3.264 feet and drops right into the town of Aspen. The base elevation is at 7,945 feet with the summit being at 11,212 feet. Aspen Highlands has a vertical rise of 3,635 feet with some of the most challenging and stunning big mountain terrain. The base elevation is at 8,040 feet with the summit at 11,675 feet. Last but not least, Buttermilk has a vertical rise of 2,030 feet and is home to the Winter X Games which we missed by about a week. The base elevation is at 7,870 feet with the summit at 9.900 feet.

I know I’m on vacation when I’ve just watched about 5 straight hours of an America’s Next Top Model marathon from 3 seasons ago without batting an eye...


Heather said...

Well, I guess it beats Blue anyway, or Bolus Mtn.

When we were in VT.( Killington area) for the MG East, they also said the snow amounts had been down. Global warming anyone?

John said...

That's like the parking at Boler. You have to park in Dorchester to use the day skiing at Boler.