Powder Predictor

Tranquil weather moves back into Colorado

Have you hugged your local ski patroller?

By Reid Griebling
Real AspenFebruary 11, 2011
After a good three weeks of active weather, Colorado returns to what makes it famous: over 300 days of sunshine. High pressure builds in as the major weather axis begins to shift, affecting California and Oregon.

Colorado will see sunny skies and mild temps for the next five days, as light winds and plentiful sunshine will be the norm. On-mountain highs for the next five days for both Vail/Beaver Creek and Aspen/Snowmass will reach into the low 30's with overnight lows still in the upper teens.

South-facing aspects can expect some softening as the days move on, while north-facing slopes should be able to hold the cold snow. For those of you looking for fresh snow, it's time to start hiking or calling that friend of yours with the snow machine as our weather returns to "boring."

Finally, have you hugged your local ski patroller? With the recent passing of A-Basin legend Lief Borgeson -- who just happened to be the snow safety director -- this question popped into my mind while visiting with two Vail patrollers this past Wednesday.

We've all heard stories of over-the-head milk runs, tossing six-pound bombs and the late-night shenanigans that go down in lore. But I think many of us forget some of the garbage work that these men and women do on a daily basis for a wage that leaves something to be desired.

With a few cold snaps under our belt already, many of us forget to realize that ski patrollers don't get to take hot chocolate breaks when windchill values are tumbling to 20 below. Much of the work they do gets done with the gloves off, from assisting injured guests, to digging out tower pads, handing out grooming reports and tossing those loud six pounders.

These folks punch in and deal with the elements. Of course, there's always those four-day storms that drop huge amounts of snow. Ski patrol respectfully get first tracks.

However, braving the elements day in and day out is not for the faint at heart. It takes motivation, skill, and lots of leg work. But for those few who wear the cross, it's all of these traits that make the frostbite, low wage, and risk of serious injury worth it.

Because at the end of the day -- and really the start -- no one gets to ride the hill until everything is safe.

I didn't know Lief, but I can imagine he was one who poured these values. I also think that in this vast universe, there would be no other place that Lief would want his days to end. On a mountain, skis on shoulder, with deep turns in mind.

Rest in peace, Lief Borgeson, and thank you for your hard work and guidance.

Remember, we are the folks who enjoy the fruits of their labor, so next time you see the cross, stop, and hug your local patroller.

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Snow Report

  24hr snow mid dpth snow cond.
A-Basin n/a n/a
Aspen n/a n/a closed
BC n/a n/a closed
Breckenridge n/a n/a closed
Buttermilk n/a n/a closed
Copper n/a n/a closed
Crest. Butte n/a n/a closed
Eldora n/a n/a closed
Heavenly n/a n/a closed
Highlands n/a n/a
Howelsen n/a n/a closed
Keystone n/a n/a closed
Kirkwood n/a n/a closed
Loveland n/a n/a
Monarch n/a n/a closed
Northstar n/a n/a closed
Powderhorn n/a n/a closed
Purgatory n/a n/a closed
Silverton n/a n/a closed
Ski Cooper n/a n/a closed
Ski Granby n/a n/a closed
Snowmass n/a n/a closed
Steamboat n/a n/a closed
Sunlight n/a n/a closed
Telluride n/a n/a closed
Vail n/a n/a closed
WinterPark n/a n/a closed
Wolf Creek n/a n/a closed
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