There is such a thing as too much snow
I never thought I’d say this, but there might be such a thing as too much snow.
The first clue is when there’s 10,000 Summit County snow hounds drooling to get to Arapahoe Basin and they end up parked on U.S. Highway 6 for the entire day because the highway never opens.
Or, when Interstate 70 opens around noon and everyone b-lines it to Loveland Ski Area, where an employee is there to meet cars on the off ramp and turn them around because there’s no place left to park.
Here is a good place to point out that Loveland rocks my world. It truly does.
Although the off-ramp attendant advised cars to turn around Thursday, he clearly understood the mentality of the drooling snow hound and was still a good sport when everyone parked along the road anyway and started hiking toward the ticket office. Then, despite the scene in the parking lot, which resembled a train wreck, the mountain was virtually empty.
I don’t know why Loveland isn’t packed to the gills every single day. The terrain is so vast, steep and so often untouched, it’s almost surreal. It’s hard to simulate the experience of getting lost in the backcountry, but you do at Loveland. Only, once you get your bearings, you don’t have to hike to your next run (unless you want to get to the tippy-top of the Continental Divide, which you are also able to do at Loveland).
And Thursday, there was the train wreck for a parking lot, the drooling snow hounds parked haphazardly along the road all the way from the off ramp, and still so many fresh tracks to be had, you really didn’t know what to do with them. How is it that a lift-served mountain can feel like it’s all yours, especially on what had to be one of its busiest days all year?
It was easy to forget it was the end of April Thursday – but that three feet of snow, to say the very least, was pretty damn heavy. It’s a good thing the light was flat most of the afternoon, because every time there was any visibility, you’d be terrified at the sight of the trenches people were making on their way down the mountain.
Then, there was the other issue. At the ticket office Thursday, some guy asked if there were any groomed runs, which elicited several derisive chuckles from the crowd. I myself had to wonder why this guy bothered to hike from what was practically Georgetown for groomed runs. But, once I got on the mountain, I understood.
People were disappearing.
No joke. There they were, hooting one minute as they got tossed through the three feet of snow like rag dolls; then, they’d just vanish. They’d vanish and were probably left for someone to dig up in August .
OK, I will say it; three feet of snow is almost too much. The high-angle runs off Loveland’s Chair 1 were magical, but there is sort of a fine line between magical and dangerous, and some of us were tossed, squirted, plunged, doused and launched along it all afternoon Thursday.
Three feet of snow is almost too much, but you will surely find me at A-Basin this morning to do it all over again. And for those of you that want real magic, Loveland and its Great Divide terrain closes May 4. I suggest you get yourselves there. Also, A-Basin officials have said their ski area will almost certainly be open until July 4, which makes a lot of us very happy. Because, as far as I can tell, it’s not really even spring yet.
Shauna Farnell can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 236, or at email@example.com.
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