A few weeks back here in the Colorado High Country, Aspen Highlands ski area re-opened for some spring skiing. The ski co. decided to open only on weekends for two consecutive weekends. The winter of 07’/08’ was EPIC, so much so, that we closed with over 250 cm of snow. Both Saturdays were record breaking days for skier numbers for the year, it was a win/win for the community.
I decided on one of those days, which happened to be closing day, to try and put on at least four different shoes, (boots), and ride on four different machines, (snow or wheel) in the span of 5-6 hours. The day started magically with bright Colorado blue sky’s and no wind. It froze good the night before, so the snow would be firm in the morning, and soft in the afternoon, perfect.
My first sport of the day was Ski Area MUni. I find it is best with firm, (Colorado) snow, to just turning to corn snow. I hopped on the chairlift right at opening, and made my way up the scenic mountain. The air temp dropped, as I flew higher up the mountain. I got off the chair riding the MUni, until I stopped at a bench. Made sure my balance was in check, and proceeded to spin my way down the slopes.
Spun my way down the mountain on the MUni, it was perfect conditions. The bottom 1/2 was almost too much corn snow. It made for some challenging riding, but still very rideable. This run was approx. 3000’, (914 meters), downhill on the ski slopes.
Made it to my house, which is about 1 minute from the base area, and changed into Telemark ski gear. I was going to head back up the mountain, this time on ski’s. Hike about 1,000’,(314 meters) vertical, to the summit of Highland Peak, which tops out at 12,400’, (3780 meters). Then make as many tele turns as I could back down to 8000’, (2438 meters).
The hike to the peak was inspiring, views were amazing, and I felt great. The skiing public were just starting to gather on the hill. I reached the peak, took some pics and tele’d my way down the 40+ degree Highland Bowl. Ahhhhh
The tele turns came with a smile on my face, as the snow was firm up high, and corn down low. The legs were feeling fine, which was good, as I still had 2 sports to go. Made it back home, changed back into unicycling gear. This time I would ride about 16 miles, (26 km) of mostly pave trails. These trails would take me down to the Roaring Fork River, and back up the other side of the valley. I wanted to ride this route so I could look over at Highlands ski area, and Highland Peak. The day was just getting nicer as time went on. Temperature was now above freezing, and the winds were still calm. I turned up the IPOD, and cranked my way up the climbs to the desired vantage point. This was about 1000’, (314 meters) vertical of climbing. Stopped, took some pics, and headed back to the house so I could complete the 4 sport day. The 36er felt smooth, and I loved it. I had made the Peak to Creek adventure, and was heading back for more.
I noticed cars parked on the road along way from the ski area, as I pedaled back to the house. That meant that the party was officially under way, closing day at Aspen Highlands. Back at the house, I changed into my snowboarding gear. Rode back up the mountain, and shredded my way around in the corn snow, sweeeeeet. Stopped at midway to check out the ski splash that was going off. Really fun to watch people eat it big in the splash, and really nice knowing that they don’t get hurt. Made as many turns as I could on the way down, this would be the last run down highlands for the EPIC 07/08 ski season.
What a day, 4 sports; what a year. Life is good, get outside and enjoy it!!!
I must admit that I do not have a favorite or preference, I really enjoy both of them. One of the great benefits of living in the mountains, is the change of seasons, therefore I get to ride all the conditions.
Thanks Jamey, yeah I think I might be, oh and my kids as well. Heal quick for RTL.