How to Ski Snowmass On A Powder Day
Formulate a game plan for skiing or riding at Snowmass when the conditions are deep, with the help of professional skier, Chris Davenport.
Snowmass should really be called Enor-mass. Cheeky play on words or not, there is no denying that 96 ski trails boasting 4,406 vertical feet and 3,332 acres can hold more powder skiing than most quads can handle. But with all that terrain comes a lot of choices. How in the heck are you to know where to go and when? Luckily for you, professional skier and Aspen hometown hero Chris Davenport is a bit of a talker—here, he gives us details on the goods at Snowmass.
Make your way over to the Big Burn lift and carve up some untracked snow on Powerline Trees. “These low-angle pine glades are the perfect powder warm-up to wake the legs and feel some fresh snow in your face,” says Davenport. All the runs from Whispering Jessie to Dallas Freeway will be a great way to fire up the lower limbs for the day and will hold fresh runs for the morning.
Just one lift over is the Sheer Bliss quad. Davenport suggests avoiding the intermediate terrain and heading right toward the black diamond goodness. (If you’ve ever seen Chris Davenport ski, this suggestion is probably not a shock.) “Drop into Gowdy’s or KT Gully,” Davenport says, probably with a smirk because he knows just how good it can be in there. “These short, steep couloirs catch wind-deposited powder. KT is wider, less steep, and usually opens first.” You can trust Dav. Anyone who devotes their entire personal and professional life to skiing is a good source of powder skiing knowledge. Tack off as many of the Sheer Bliss runs as you can. If you start noticing more skiers on the runs and at the chair, it’s time to move on. The goods of the goods await you, friends.
It is time to get into position to ski the Hanging Valley Wall. Patrol will have to delay the opening to make sure it’s safe, but don’t fret… you can ski while you wait. Take a ride up the Alpine Springs lift and keep an eye on the boards to see when the Wall opens. Davenport loves to “ski a lap or two in Reidar’s Trees. When the rope drops, head out to the Wall and drop down Roberto’s Gully to Strawberry Patch, Wall 1 or Wall 2.” You’re sure to want another lap, but there are other zones to hit. Ride Elk Camp chair to the summit and take in the view of the 14,000-foot peaks of the Maroon Bells. Hike five minutes to the Burnt Mountain zone, 206 acres of formerly out-of-bounds terrain. Follow the trail called Split Tree for the best powder stashes and ski 3,000 vertical feet down to Two Creeks.” Chances are your legs will be quivering but your smile will likely touch behind your ears.
Take a deep breath and get yourself ready for more. It’s a powder day after all. “Ride Two Creeks to Elk Camp and do another lap on Burnt Mountain, following A-Line trail,” Davenport says. If you’ve got more in you, take the Campground lift up for tasty treats in the steeps like Powderhorn. Runs on Campground stay untracked and keep leftovers for days. Mmmm, leftovers…. Now, go get yourself a cocoa with extra marshmallows. Cocoa hits different at the end of a powder day like this!
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