During a winter such as this one, when snow has been sorely lacking, a forecast for any snow at all can seem welcome. So as we headed to Winter Park this past weekend for our annual winter ski trip, we felt optimistic hearing there was snow in the forecast.
We woke up to a rude awakening on Monday morning. The storm had only dropped 4 inches of snow at the highest elevation, which was disappointing enough. But in addition, it had brought a cold front, that turned the 40 degree temperatures of the previous day into sub-zero temperatures, complete with 50 mile per hour winds.
This sudden drop in temperatures combined with the howling winds resulted in what we call “dust on crust” ski conditions. Not only did the new snow do nothing to soften up the skiing, but it actually created mini snow dust bowls on the open slopes as the winds whipped it into whirling dervishes that stung our eyes.
Now I suppose if I had been some out-of-town skier who came for the week, and this would be one of the few times I skied for the season, I might have toughed it out. But Colorado skiers are ski snobs. Because we are often treated to primo “champagne powder” conditions and know how good it can be, we turn our noses up at less-than-ideal conditions. This was as close to east coast skiing as I had seen all season. I learned to ski on the east coast — the hard pack and ice — and decided I was having none of it.
As soon as I took the dogs out in the morning, and felt the wind blasting my cheeks, as I tried to shield my eyes from the blowing snow, I was done. No skiing for me!
Judging from the few cars in the parking lot, I’m guessing I wasn’t alone.
The winds calmed on Tuesday as the sun came out, and conditions improved greatly. As we rode the chairlift this afternoon, we met some skiers from Washington, DC who inquired about the conditions. My inner ski snob came out, as I proudly declared I hadn’t skied on Monday, because of the “dust.” They seemed entirely happy with the snow, making me think of something my friend had told me. Our worst ski day here in Colorado is as good as the best ski day back east.
Maybe I should stop being such a ski snob.