My arms flailed wildly, ski poles dangling, searching for purchase in the empty air before my entire body tilted forward into a snowy hug 2 feet deep in the powder. I inhaled a mouthful of fluff and wrenched around until I was facing what I thought was skyward, exhaling and reaching to clear a few inches of snow from my face and goggles.
I should have brought a snorkel.
After floundering around for a few minutes, I finally pulled my skis under me and attempted to push myself up with a ski pole, only to have the pile of buttery goodness under me give way and send me into another unintended snow angel. I gave in and just lay there for a moment, watching big, fat flakes fall from the overcast sky.
It was Wednesday, April 30, many weeks past what the calendar dictates as the start of spring, and I was half-buried in snow somewhere between Lifts 4 and 9 at Loveland Ski Area. A late winter storm had dumped 28 inches of uncharacteristically light snow on the resort in the past 72 hours — 19 of which fell in the past 48 — to put the storm’s total at 34 inches in four days.
Nearly May and I just about drowned, I thought, as I finally scrambled to my feet and tried to soothe my bruised ego by convincing myself that I was too far from a lift for anyone to have seen me take my snowy dive.
Big end to a big season
As of Wednesday, Loveland had racked up more than 471 inches of snow for the 2013-14 season, which draws to a close on Sunday, May 4. That’s well beyond the 30-year average of 422 inches and good news for the skiers and riders who were running midweek laps as the sun made its first of many attempts to peek through the clouds.
Even the wind-swept areas had enough snow to cover my boots, and I surfed to Lift 9, plunging through drifts that often reached my knees or up to my waist in a few areas. I shook a cloud of snow off my helmet and shoulders and headed up for another run.
Ullr has a funny way of coming through late season and forcing you to make the hard decisions: bike or board, skis or spray skirt. I was glad that on this particular day, I opted for a few end-of-season turns at Loveland — if the snow holds, it’s going to be a pretty spectacular closing weekend up there.