Better late than never…

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The return of the happy camper

Between my shoulder surgery and the lack of snow my riding season had gotten off to a very slow start. Here it was the last day of December and I had only one trip to Wolf Creek and a day at Eldora to show for my powder obsession. Pretty pathetic. I decided I was going to go New Years Eve no matter what the conditions although I had been eyeing Thursday as a powder day all week.   5:30 am – the alarm goes off and immediately checked the reports. 13″ at Beaver Creek (17″ in 48) – oh baby, oh baby, oh baby.  Jump out of bed, skip the shower, on the road by 6:00  – Beaver Parking lot at 8:00. Then the gods smiled on me by having my friend Jocko give me a ride to the lifts sparing me the shuttle madness and allowing me to eat breakfast. On the lift at 8:30 – skiing knee deep by 8:45 – Life is Good.

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Behold the virgin powder - Grouse Mountain 12/31/09 8:48am

I’ve always liked the Beav. Long sustained steeps, great trees and lots of powder when the weather gods bless. Today was one of those days – I headed straight to Grouse Mountain, a great combination of long consistently pitched runs serviced by a high speed quad that gets you 2000+ vertical in 5.5 minutes.  Skiied (I know I’m a snowboarder) my favorite run Falcon Park 5 times before I realized it was closed then added two more for good measure when they opened it to the general public at 10:00. By 10:30 I had 8 runs and at least 15k+ of vertical – those are heli like numbers – Life is Good.

1/2 hour later...

1/2 hour later...

I spent the rest of the day checking out the trees which the Beav has a ton of. There are those marked for the public like Stickline and those that are not and rarely skiied. Today very few were in any of the trees as while they were not necessarily closed (no ropes) only the real junkies (which for better or worse includes me) were venturing in. We were amply rewarded for our efforts and as long as you didn’t get too low on the mountain it was eminently rideable. Had to take the board off a couple of times but spent the rest of the time floating along in sheer bliss. Yes, Life is Good.

the view looking up

love those aspens

Around 2:00 the risk/reward equation started shifting in the wrong direction so decided to count my blessing s and call it a day even though there was still tons of untracked to be had – no sense being greedy. All in all today was one of those days that reminded why I spend so much time trying to catch the elusive powder train. Because when you do catch it, it’s about as much fun as you can have with your clothes on. Happy New Year’s everyone and here’s hoping we make some powder turns together in 2010!


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