If I had a beard, this morning it would be icy — profile picture status — from plenty of face shots and non-stop falling snow. Alas, I’m just a clear-faced young girl with very cold cheeks and no visible proof of my excellent morning skiing.  The mountain is boasting three inches in the last 24 hours much of which has fallen this morning, and it’s still pounding at the top of the mountain.  The snow is smooth, dry and ample, and the slopes are uniquely uncrowded.  This storm is the refreshment that the mountain (and perhaps you) needed after the crazy weeks of winter holidays.


Today I beat the glass-pressing crowd by only a few gondola cars and rode my way up into the silent storm.  Although Huffmann’s and Sunnyside were each soft and delicious, I went straight for Sundown Express and up into the clouds.  Upper mountain is as iced as a gingerbread house, with every twig of every tree holding as much snow as physics will allow.  After a speedy and powdery High Noon, I decided to check up on what had been my favorite early season run this year, Two o’Clock.  The slight bumps and secluded location mean better conditions for longer, and even with the skate out on Duster, it’s well worth it.  Today, Two o’Clock has some great turns and (shhh…) even deeper snow than the skied runs around it.

During my second ride to the top, the perfect snowflakes inspired me to recreate a game from my childhood.  We would take a frozen juice can outside in a snow storm and set it on the porch for a few minutes while it collected snowflakes, the frosty can would help strengthen and preserve perfect snowflakes so that we could look at them under a magnifying glass.  Today, with my camera’s screen playing the roll of the frosty surface, I collected some of the morning’s six-sided wonders.  I’ve been searching for over twenty years, and still no two are alike.

Not a greatly photogenic endeavor, but try it yourself on your cell phone screen.
Not a greatly photogenic endeavor, but try it yourself on your cell phone screen.

Storm Peak Face is freshies on courderoy, plenty fast and plenty fine.  I dipped onto Hurricaine on the way down the mountain, but it had the crowded week crunchies underneath and perhaps needs a few more hours of this refreshing storm before it’s ready to ride.

Although some people may scoff, my favorite egress is BC Skiway, especially when I have somewhere to be on time.  Instead of riding BC lift up to ski down Vagabond or Heavenly Daze,  oftentimes you can fit in one more ride up Storm Peak before (carefully) racing down the short cat-track.  Tracing the Burgess Creek Canyon, I think it’s the prettiest run on the mountain, allowing you to really just stand there as the sights go by.  I think that I was the first to ski it today at about 9:30 am, my own groomed nonstop powder run.

Enjoy this weekend’s snowstorm and the week’s relatively uncrowded days. The snowflakes are ripe for the taking and winter is in full, beautiful swing.  Here’s a picture from yesterday of my brother, Hill Fitzgerald, doing something rather epic on Chute One.



Willow Fitzgerald, Telemark skier

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