Post freelance journalist Ike Fredregill contributed to this story.
Encountering someone brushing their teeth casually and early in the men’s room at a Sunlight Mountain ski resort is a telltale sign that fresh powder awaits.
At least, that’s what I thought when I saw him Thursday morning.
“Sometimes you’re just on the run,” he told me.
“You must be looking for fresh powder,” I replied.
He smiled, his teeth sparkling clean.
From there, Thursday turned out to be hands down the best fresh powder day I’ve had since trading my life savings last year for new boots, bindings and a board.
Over the past week, in fact, the Garfield County ski resort picked up about 25 inches of snow, said Troy Hawks, director of sales and marketing for Sunlight Mountain.
“We have remarkable conditions for spring,” he said. “Tree skiing is great right now, and we have about 50 inches of snow base.”
Traffic on the mountain is maintaining a steady pace as the spring break season is in full swing, which Hawks says should decrease around March 20. Starting Friday, Sunlight will be open for 23 more days before officially ending its winter season.
The last collection is April 3.
It’s one of the reasons Post Independent editor Peter Baumann was kind enough to pay me to wake up at 6:30 a.m. Thursday, drink a whole coffee, and arrive at Sunlight Mountain just in time for the premiere. race at 9 a.m.
Man, was that g-lor-i-ou.
Parking spaces near the entrance were still available. Waits in the queue were practically non-existent. Pristine fresh powder runs teased everyone eagerly waiting to disembark the lift.
At the top? Just you and the mountain.
With a Nikon D3500 camera and a telephoto lens hanging around my neck, I didn’t want to risk breaking the thing. So, I took the most dangerous ride Sunlight has to offer.
I actually descended Grizzly Trail, a relaxing green trail parallel to stunning views of Mount Sopris to the south. At this time, low clouds surrounded its peak like genies.
Doing my best not to fall as I pushed away from the passing skiers and snowboarders, all I could hear was, “This snow is the best” and “It feels so good.
Underneath my board, the snow felt like sliding on a larger-than-life cream puff. Meanwhile, parts of the trail, groomed and groomed to perfection, looked like corduroy pants on the first day of school.
Then there’s the cool powder itself, an item that seems to be getting rarer than dinosaur fossils now that the finished season is winding down and everyone’s thinking about Moab.
You don’t even have to hit a kicker or jump. Simply carve through this soft, plush material and the snow flies.
Grizzly was loaded with large amounts of this untouched powder. Some speed demons, however, rejoice when new snow falls, settles down tightly, and replenishes their favorite runs.
Slowly but surely but very quickly I’m starting to think Sun King’s stiff hips are just awesome to hit when there’s fresh powder. Partly groomed, partly not, the conditions propel you almost weightlessly down the center of the mountain.
It feels like snowboarding on a cloud.
With a few minutes to spare before the newsroom dispatched a search party, I put the camera back in its pouch, stretched my glasses over my eyes, and made it my mission to strike the Sun King last. .
Bliss has never been so sweet.
However, everything must end. At 11:45 a.m., I was back at the office, wondering how long it would be before I was the one brushing my teeth in a Colorado ski resort bathroom.
Journalist Ray K. Erku can be reached at 612-423-5273 or [email protected]