When I left my home yesterday morning I wasn’t sure if I made the right decision bringing my powder skis. Turns out, I should have brought pontoons.
The storm was originally predicted to drop a modest 2-4 inches throughout the day. I had no high ambitions and kept my level of stoke at bay–AKA the modus operandi of the past month or so in Summit County where big snow predictions fall flat into the dismal suicide inducing inch. In the morning I did, however, take a peek at the snow stake to see that Breck had picked up a couple inches overnight. Out of all of my options in Summit County (Arapahoe Basin, Keystone, Breck, Copper), this was going to be the winner winner chicken dinner, but not by much.
Well, so I thought.
When we arrived in the parking lot around 10:30am, the proverbial heavens opened their trap door of powder they had been depriving us of for so long right on to the top of my head. The sight was beautiful, completely unexpected, and best of all, it never stopped. In fact, as I write this article now, the snow is still falling in Summit County.
To say that this season still has some umph in it should come as no surprise to those that are familiar with these parts. April (typically) sends in the truckloads of snow, and even over at Loveland Ski Area just over the pass, I’ve heard that May sends the oh-sweet-mother-of-God amounts of snow just after they close. Of course.
Late snow, however, comes at a cost.
We hiked up Breckenridge’s Peak 8 summit to catch the goods on the Lake Chutes–some of Breck’s top notch extreme terrain that has been nothing but incredibly loyal to me time and time again. From the top, a sea of white undulated down to the bottom towards the chair, not a scratch in it’s surface. Dropping in I felt the whoosh of snow shoot up around my thighs, my waist, and then, as I picked up speed and made my first turn, the cold smoke crept up my chest threatening intrusion into my air passages. The turns were magic and the deepest I had ever skied. Second turn. Third turn.
CRUNCH. SCRATCH. CRACK.
Rocks. Apparently my loyal lake chutes had forgotten about me and left a thick layer of scree lurking underneath that “pristine” layer of snow. I didn’t want to look at the bottoms of my skis. “Out of sight, out of mind,” I thought to myself. “If I don’t see the core shots, they didn’t happen.”
15-20 inches of snow had fallen on those parts, but the beloved champagne powder is just like bubbly champagne, with enough of it you can hide any imperfections. Needless to say, the Lake Chutes never saw my face again, and it’s easy to say our relationship is on the rocks.
As for the rest of the day the snow continued to fall, intensify, and even grow lighter. By the time we left, the snow was falling down as if two EDM show goers were projectile vomiting white glitter. It was a sight to behold and underfoot, a feeling never to forget.
So while ski resorts continue to close up shop, remember that the season is still far from over.
For those lucky enough to have access to resorts staying open late in the year, happy shredding. Just be forewarned that everything is not as it may seem. Sometimes, just like us, the snow can be hiding something much much uglier just below the surface.