Fresh dumps in Grand County enough to satisfy any powder hound
Grand County, Colorado
Below me a steep chute of untracked snow and not another skier in sight ” it’s all mine. I jump, my skis parallel to the steep drop, and slide up to my waste in fluff.
I jump again, turning 180 degrees in the air then fall into another pile, pushing a little snow slide in front of me before pointing straight down the runout. I howl as I make turn after bouncing turn and leaving an artful squiggle in my wake. Where are Warren Miller and his cameramen when you need them?
That drop down Baldy’s Chute at Mary Jane on Saturday was just the first run of what would be two days of powder-skiing bliss at Winter Park Resort last weekend.
Never mind that the snow dumps fell on busy days, which meant long lift lines; the fresh tracks lasted much longer than my leg muscles, and I mined my favorite tree lines for every flake.
It started Friday when my girlfriend and I returned from a shopping day in Denver to a follow a line of cars crawling over Berthoud Pass in a driving snow. The forecast predicted continued powder puking, so I lined up my gear near the door and early Saturday morning suited up fast as a fireman. I stopped to grab a coffee and a still-warm-from-the-oven muffin from the Fraser Roastery, then joined the mad rush to the hill. The Corona parking lot at Mary Jane, the farthest from the hill, was rapidly filling up at 8:30 a.m.
I jumped into my skis and charged to the Challenger lift to hit the chutes, and I didn’t stop until midday, alternating between the slow old lift and the high-speed Super Gauge to rack up some serious vertical feet (I’d like to thank the plucky Resort Host who did a great job pairing up groups and filling the six-pack chair Saturday ” wish she’d been there first thing).
I dropped over Volkswagen Bug moguls into fresh snow on Pine Cliffs, but when I spilled out onto Sleeper I was going too fast; I didn’t pop out of my bindings as much as I ejected forward into a glorious forward roll, earning hoots from people on the lift.
Sunday I was still a little sore from skiing Saturday and a little tired after celebrating Mary Jane’s birthday on the streets of Winter Park and catching Marc Ford of the Black Crowes at Smokin’ Moe’s. But another bounty of fresh snow called ” this time lighter than Saturday’s snow ” and after digging out my car yet again, I gunned it for the Jane.
I skied a glorious tree line off Sleeper on my first run, then made high-speed laps off the Eagle Wind chair all morning, farming the powder-choked glades and traversing a little further out to get fresh snow on each run. In the afternoon I joined some friends and picked apart what little was left of the freshies until the lifts closed. I’d eaten nothing all day, and that apres ski pizza was the best thing I’ve ever had.
I could barely walk on Monday, my quads and back muscles feeling as if they’d been tied to a winch ratcheted a few clicks too tight, but my pursuit of powder was not over.
On Tuesday as part of a project I tagged along on a snowmobile tour with Trailblazers in Fraser. I have to admit to being a bit of a self-powered snob, choosing a bicycle, skis or my own two feet over two-strokes and all that noise. But leaning halfway off a snowmobile to pull bouncy turns in three feet of fresh powder in a high mountain meadow will make a sledneck out of anyone. It’s like powder skiing laid flat.
” Charles Agar is grinning about these winter storm warnings and will take his powder wherever and however he can get it.
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For the third time USA Today readers named Winter Park Resort the best in North America, beating out 19 other nominated North American resorts for the coveted title.