Friday, February 4, 2011


Tuesday morning we assemble in the northeast parking lot at Copper Mountain, board the bus and make our way to the Union Creek station. Two slow ski lifts take us part way up the mountain where we descend into an adjoining valley. Cloudy skies, light snow falling, frigid air temperatures. We ski up the valley floor for about 3 miles and arrive at Janet's Cabin where we will spend two nights in a winter wonderland. I make my first turns on the fresh snow above the hut in the flat light of the early evening. The temperature gauge reads minus 20 degrees F that evening, but we are snug inside enjoying a sumptuous meal, drink and the company of friends and other guests in the cabin.

Day two brings out the sun and repeated climbs up the slopes around the hut in search of that perfect telemark turn. The temperature high for that day was about minus 10 degrees F, but the sun on skin made the difference between pleasure and pain. Late in the afternoon I ascended to the divide at Searle Pass where I had views of the Gore Range to the north and the Ten Mile and Mosquito Ranges to the east and south. I froze standing in the wind for close to an hour, watching shadows lengthen and the brilliant whites change to yellows and pinks. Once the sun was gone, I fled downhill, carving turns into the snow, heading straight to the hut to warm up the cold hands and feet. Another fine meal, but the atmosphere was a bit more subdued this evening, everyone being tired from a day on the slopes. The temperature this night was a cool minus 30 degrees F. The wood stove kept us comfortable all night long.

Day three finds us packing up the gear, making a final run on the mountain and then heading back to our parked vehicles and our separate destinations, promising to all do it again next year. I don't doubt it!

Following our arrival at the cabin Tuesday night, I had the energy to dress up warmly and spend time standing outside, smoking a cigar and enjoying a tall glass of tequila. On the deck with me this starry night was Public Image Limited, performing before a live audience in Helsinki, Finland on June 6, 1992. Excellent sounding recording, and a great performance by Johnny and his band. Acting as a provocateur, Mr. Lydon’s famous cynicism and corrosive mockery came through loud and clear throughout the show. The music's beat, and the need to stay warm, kept me moving for the hour long show.

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