And just like that it’s over. Typically in March, the spring skiing season is just getting started with lots of sunshine, warm temperatures, mushy afternoon snow, and sitting around in shirtsleeves on the patio with an apres-brew. I’ve always known in the back of my head that my own personal ski season could come to a premature, ignoble end (probably because of some catastrophe on the slopes or wrapped around a tree) but I didn’t expect it to end for everyone! Now is the year of CoVID-19 and social isolation is the phrase of the day. Judging from the early cases of the virus in Colorado, ski lifts are a really good way to pass diseases around, so all areas are shut down as of mid-March.
So, the ski season retrospective comes early this year. The 2019-20 season was… aborted. It was good, but far too short compared with the 2017-18 or especially the 2018-19 season it looked likely to mimic in terms of snowpack. After five years of skiing as a family, we’ve got our system pretty well dialed in and everyone is now comfortable on terrain which is far from boring. We spent six days (or more typically half-days) at Eldora and our now-traditional three-day weekend at Steamboat, but only managed two days at Copper (both spectacular) and a single somewhat crappy day at Winter Park. We’d hoped to add Arapaho Basin to our late-season conquests as well as a couple days at exotic Taos down in New Mexico over Spring Break.
So here’s the breakdown:
Date Trip Lifts Vert. (ft) ------------------------------------------------------------- 11/17/2019 Eldora #1: 19-20 Season opener 6 6,074 12/7/2019 Eldora #2: Jolly Juggernauts 5 5,475 12/24/2019 Eldora #3: Cloth of the King 10 11,800 1/5/2020 Copper #1: Beasts of the East 13 20,214 1/11/2020 Winter Park #1: Dragon Wagon 7 8,615 1/19/2020 Eldora #4: Jack be nimble 9 9,890 1/31/2020 Steamboat #1: Traditional 3 3 4,823 2/1/2020 Steamboat #2: Winter Wonderland 11 14,781 2/2/2020 Steamboat #3: Superb Owls 12 15,681 2/17/2020 Eldora #5: Knee-deep, tree-deep. 8 6,055 2/28/2020 Eldora #6: Playin’ Hookie 9 10,593 3/7/2020 Copper #2: Mountain Standard Time 13 14,622 Totals: 12 days (last year: 17) 4 mountains 106 runs (last year: 147) 128,623 ft of vertical (last year, 150k) Friends skied with: only 10 :-(
Despite the disappointing numbers, there were moments of sheer bliss. There was a powder day at Eldora when I found an excuse to blast through knee-deep powder in the trees on every single run (including a couple on the bunny slope). There were a couple of days of “fairytale snow” at Steamboat when an upslope storm had flocked the west faces of all the trees leaving us to feel like we were skiing through a wedding cake. There was a day at Copper when the entire family was having a good day and conquered the steep Triple Threat run on the far east end. There were several days in there where I felt more “on” on skis than I’ve ever done before, attacking moguls and trees with new vigor alike.
So, short though it may have been, it was a good season. But let’s hope that next year lasts a bit longer.