The O. Zone
Vail pasted with surprise powder day
Original post on Thursday, Jan. 31: It was absolutely sick out there on Vail Mountain Thursday – by far the best day since the now legendary season of 2010-11.
Vail only reported 9 inches at 5:30 a.m. (just 4 overnight), but it must have snowed 8-10 inches between then and when I got on Gondola One at 9 a.m., because there was a legit foot and half to two feet in the Back Bowls.
It’s been a long time since I’ve straight-lined Widge’s with powder piling up over my thighs and into face while I’m trying to simultaneously laugh, yell and breathe. But that was my first run this morning. Followed by Wow, Headwall, Genghis, Genghis, Genghis, Over Yonder and a frontsider back to reality (Zot to Arena to Spruce Face to International ... sorry Lindsey).
There were comments like “best run ever,” “never skied anything that good before,” and “I’ve been waiting for that for two seasons” being thrown around in the lift lines on Thursday. And there’s no question this was a game-changer.
It came after an 8-inch quasi-powder day on Tuesday, when I punished myself with 17 lift rides and nearly 27,000 vert. That’s what pent-up powder aggression can do to you.
The lack of snow since Christmas was glaring, especially after such a dry November. Good snow in December turned things around quite a bit, but then it got dry again in January. And we’re still way below average annual snowfall amounts, but the last week has gone a long way toward once again turning around another sub-par season. Was it really only two seasons ago that Vail broke its all-time snowfall record with 525 inches? Seems like a lifetime ago.
Meteorologist ski writer Joel Gratz actually called for the snow to wind down around sunrise Thursday, which is about when the snow machine really kicked into high gear in Vail, but he did accurately predict it would be the best day of the season so far – and there’s no doubt he nailed that forecast.
Now it looks like things get sunny and warm for the weekend and into next week, with the next storm heading in toward the middle or end of next week. Let’s all hope that pans out and we don’t drop back into another three-week dry cycle. Those, frankly, suck. And nothing sucked about the skiing this week at Vail. You might even say it was epic.
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