Kelly and I went up to Hidden Valley for a quick lap in RMNP this morning. Finally the Avy Fx had settled down to moderate above and below treeline, so we geared up and went after some low angle white gold. We thought it would be pretty darn good; in fact it was the second time this week I found myself proclaiming the snow to be the best I’d ever skied – the first instance was Tuesday while the defending champion was that time the Meatheads won Best Powder for their Jay segment. So yea, best powder skiing I’ve had in nearly 5 years (best ever, probably) to include storm chasing all over New England plus various trips from back East to Colorado, Montana, Washington, Oregon and who knows where else I’ve forgotten. It was that good. And then we saw a herd of elk on the drive out of the park. Feast your eyes.
During the month of January, Colorado has soared from an abysmal snowpack to 150% of average for this time of year. We weren’t about to take anyone’s word at face value, so we loaded up the car and went to have a look for ourselves. They weren’t joking around…
One of the perks of planning a wedding at A-Basin is that they give you a ‘free’ invite to a snowshoe dinner at the Black Mountain Lodge. “What is a snowshoe dinner?” you might wonder. Well, it’s awesome! No seriously it’s a blast. Don’t eat out for a few weeks, save up, and and then you’ll owe yourself one. They hold them a few times each winter. For some of them (the ones graced by a full moon) they don’t spin the lifts, hence the snowshoeing. You skin, hike or snowshoe up the hill for dinner at 7PM. They clean up the lodge (fancy lights, black table clothes, white napkins, etc…) and present a gourmet buffet of a varying theme, as well as full bar (wine by the bottle, cocktails, beers, whatever…) and then let a bunch of smelly mountain bums pile in and feast. Once you’re good and stuffed, you schuss down by the light of the moon, happily ever after. Kelly and I decided to avail ourselves of such an event just last weekend.
After telling myself continually to wait it out through early season conditions, I managed to get a day in on the Friday before my birthday. One of Catherine’s co-workers, Sean, offered to drive up for the day, hoping to catch the projected two feet of snow on top of the recent back to back storms we’d had.