Once again I was fortunate enough to rise to a fresh coat of snow in the Yampa Valley. The snow report boasted five new inches since the mountain closed yesterday. But with the skies still dumping when I hit the gondola, I’d report that the actual depth on upper-mountain was closer to eight.
Hitting runs like Kuus Cruise and leaving nothing but flying powder flakes in my wake was especially sweet. I certainly got my share of face-shots as I crushed my skis through above-ankle deep fluff. This is a day I’d recommend paying close attention to your upper bottom position. Finding yourself in the back seat of your skis will most certainly cause some flailing tips and lead to less enjoyment of the conditions we’re seeing out there. One of the best runs I experienced this morning was in the skier’s-left area of Shadows. I was reintroduced to a small ravine that mainly serves to drain our melted snow in the spring time. But in this area at this time of year you’ll find a very unique double fall-line sprinkled with fluff that both skiers and boarders alike will get a kick out of exploring. With a topcoat of dry, frivolous snow you’ll be sure to smile as you float yourself around and down this run.
My next stop of the day was White Out. Now I’ll be up front and honest about the fact that I haven’t skied this area of the mountain a whole lot this year. But with deep pockets of fresh filling in the gaps between moguls, this turned out to be both an adrenaline rush and soul grounding experience wrapped into one nifty package. There were only a few lines through the snow when I go there so it was nice and soft and forgiving on my knees and lower back.
Another area I’d also recommend visiting on your mountain adventure today lies in the Pony Express wilderness zone. I stumbled upon an almost always forgotten section of sheer delight that lies skier’s-left of Longhorn and just below the WJW cut-off. This is a heavily treed area so it’s best suited for intermediate and above skiers and riders. But the deep stashes I found over there were thick enough to satisfy even the hard-core powder junkies’ needs today. On the whole, this peak of our mountain is worth exploring if you’re looking for the trail less traveled.
So get out there and enjoy it. I can’t be the only one having all the fun.
Dave Wittlinger, Alpine skier