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Winter on Winter: Spring Skiing

Winter on Winter: Spring Skiing

[ May 3, 2010 - 3:53pm ]
Loveland Pass, April 30
The season doesn’t want to die in Colorado. It’s the first week of May, and it’s dumping. Columnist Tom Winter recalls some highlights of the winter and tells you where you can still ski this spring.

The season doesn’t want to die here in Colorado. It’s the first week of May, and it’s dumping. Avalanches are pouring off the mountains and the folks who skied on Loveland’s closing weekend enjoyed powdery mid-winter conditions.

After a particularly hair-raising drive over Loveland Pass, I started thinking about weather. What skier doesn’t? I was wondering how many powder days I could squeeze out of the year, a year that was a rough one for skiers nationwide. A low tide year.

While stuck behind yet another semi truck whose driver had ignored the chain laws and, inevitably, couldn’t make it over the pass, I had plenty of time to think.

Every year, someone proclaims, “This is going to be an amazing winter!” I’m not saying I’m exempt from this hopeful habit of believing something will come true if you say it often enough. After all, if ski bums share one thing with politicians, it’s the proclivity to create “truth” out of one’s own pronouncements.

But politics aside, no matter how many “experts” tell you it’s going to be a “killer” winter (and I’ll throw the Farmer’s Almanac into the bin with the rest of them), just because they’re saying (and hoping) that it will be a “killer” winter, doesn’t mean that it will be a “killer” season.

Every winter is made up of many moments: The first storm, Wednesday powder days, spring slush, and icy bumps. The trick is in the timing. If you nail your trips, have work off on “big Wednesday” and don’t get stuck behind trucks without chains on your way to first chair, you’ll end up, all things considered, with a year that’s good, damn good.

Sometimes, though, all the luck in the world won’t help you if you aren’t willing to work for it. You have to get up early. Call in sick. Take a vacation when the snow falls. From time to time, luck needs to be massaged. It needs help. And you, my friend, are the only one who can help yourself: responsibilities, friends and marital commitments be damned.

So, with late season storms pounding the central Rockies, I found myself trying to get lucky, to ski one more powder day and to take the snow as it comes.

The Straightline:
As the clock turns deeper into May, it’s going to be harder and harder to get lucky. But you can still ski. Here’s a list of some resorts that are still open. Remember, though, that closing dates are dependent upon weather and snow conditions and can change at any time.

Alyeska, Alaska (Closing day May 31),
Arapahoe Basin, Colorado (Closing day June 6),
Mammoth Mountain, California (closing day July 4):
Snowbird, Utah (closing day June 19)
Timberline at Mount Hood, Oregon (closing day May 31)

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Snowbird's closing day is

Snowbird's closing day is actually May 31, conditions permitting. Keep checking for updates.

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