The boys flew the coop on Friday morning taking advantage of a rare school holiday and a chance to ski 14ers with Ted Mahon, Christy Sauer and Jordan White (editor’s note, more on that later). I must admit I felt quite sorry for myself as I sat in my office and worked through my bottomless in-basket. I pitied myself even more when I arrived home to find a fourteener sized pile of laundry waiting to be done.
It is the weekend. I have a new pair of Goode skis burning a hole in my quiver and a mound of dirty clothes. Hmmmm…
Our friend, Scott Newman, invited me to ski Aspen Highlands. But Louie’s recent post about his corn snow jaunt with Louie had me yearning for the backcountry. Scott has always wanted to ski Marble Peak so it was an easy sell. At 5:30 a.m. on Saturday morning we were on the road, heading for the trailhead.
Thirty six degrees, frozen corn, a super-solid snow pack, and my feather light Goodes led to a quick climb up the peak. Without Lou to follow, my route lacked finesse and I went straight up the side of the face. The wide Goodes with wall-to-wall BD Glidelite skins gripped so well that I barely thought about making switchbacks. And yes, mounted with Dynafits they’re ridiculously light in weight.
Approaching dark clouds caught us as we neared the summit. The wind picked up and snow started falling. We quickly switched modes and descended on carveable hardpack with a little skiff on top.
We skied to the car, drove down the road, and noticed it was only 9:00 o’clock. Scott was bemoaning the fact that Highlands ski area was closing this weekend and I was thinking about the heinous heap next to my Maytag. With little deliberation, we turned on the highway and headed up towards Aspen. A quick lap on Highland Bowl would make this day complete.
On top of the bowl, we saw friends, talked about skis and applauded six year old Reed Beidleman’s first ascent of 12,382 foot Highland Peak. We geared up and took off, testing the Goodes on the mountain’s steep, variable spring snow.
The Goodes are different than my Black Diamond Miras. They are wide, have no camber and the carbon fiber construction makes them stiff. They ski well but are not as forgiving as the Miras. Scott, an excellent ski instructor, quickly noticed my bad habits and gave me a few pointers for keeping my weight forward. His suggestions registered and soon I was skiing down the fall line, making turns more effortlessly than ever before. The Goodes chattered less on the hardpack, they were responsive through the bumps and the wide base floated me through the slush on the bottom of the mountain.
Perhaps it’s the dreamy weight of my new planks or the fact that they force me to hone my technique, but the run was one of my best. Yes, I know, every day on skis is great, but this one was tops. A good day on snow and the laundry pile remains.
|Neal and Reed take the plunge. Neal, the author of an Aspen skiing guidebook as well as a noted mountaineer, has this to say about the bowl: “Growing up here, I recall that until just a few years ago when it was opened, Highland Bowl was a place of renegades, dark epics and tales of conflict with law enforcement. Now, with proper controlling, monitoring and the vision of the Aspen Ski Co, both of my kids have hiked, skied and enjoyed the beast at six years old. Amazing.”|