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Skiing 23 November 2009

Posted by magicdufflepud in Uncategorized.
Tags: , , ,

If you’re a Summit County native or a skier who’s spent more than two seasons on the slopes, you’re probably turning up your nose at the conditions out here this weekend. If you’re like me (or for the grammatically snobbish “… like I am”) then you’re out on the slopes with an ear-to-ear grin on your face.

Both Breckenridge and Keystone opened new terrain and lifts for this weekend. Intuitively, you’d think that would spread skiers and boarders out across the 130 acres or so accessible on each mountain, but in practice, most everyone sticks it out on the same few trails — falling, sitting, stopping, careening out of control, on the same few trails. Amidst this, I’m still grinning, but, yeah, I understand why the guys who spend more time out here say they won’t have anything to do with it. Not yet anyway.

Sure, under that half-inch layer of man-made snow lies a sheet of ice, slow polks crowd the slopes and only about five of the one hundred plus trails here at Keystone have actually opened. But already that means better skiing than you’ll find most anywhere on the east coast. The runs are longer, the steeps — such as they are at this point — steeper, and the scenery, well, nothing east of here can match that. Out here, you’re actually skiing this point. You feel the wind in your face. Your quads burn. You swear at snowboarders for sitting in the middle of the run. These define the the ski season despite the less charitable stats in the terrain report.  Skiing has begun.

Snow/Ski Report! (Woooo?!!1)

A couple notes for anybody in Summit County reading this, too:

Keystone’s open top to bottom and has just pulled back the ropes on Schoolmarm, an interminable and generally uninteresting beginner slope. And don’t hold out hope that bombing down it will improve things. Seems like Ski Patrol’s just about everywhere to stamp out that urge. Instead, beat the crowds on weekends by taking Flying Dutchman down to the Montezuma Chair where you’ll sidle up to the front of the line while the rabble from Schoolmarm piles up opposite you. Doing that, you’ll miss out on the morass of ice and flailing bodies that is lower River Run at this point, as well.

Breck’s opened a couple runs between Peaks 8 and 7, Duke’s somethingorother and Northstar, a blue/black and blue respectively. Take the Rocky Mountain Express chair in the morning to these more interesting runs that pull you away from the already-crowded beginner areas. Nothing too special, but at least you’re not stuck on run-outs most of the time. The Colorado Super Chair now leads to a couple short blacks with moguls as well. Didn’t get a chance to check them out (in part because bumps still make me a bit nervous but also because I wanted to avoid lift line purgatory), but Sara H. says they’re all right. Probably the most challenging things a Breck at this point. Word on the street has Peak 9 opening by/for Thanksgiving, too.

A-Basin’s open top-to-bottom as well, but the top’s the only bit worth skiing on weekends. The two blue that split off past the mid-station alternate between ice and crud, and the long lift ride back to even the mid-point will make you question the value of going all the way to the bottom. Unless it dumps and/or A-Basin opens more terrain (that is, all that untracked powder you see on the way to the top), Keystone’s probably the best of the bunch for the time being. Smaller lift lines and longer runs mean more fun skiing.


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