It’s been just over a week since a friend of mine and I headed to the hills to hunker down right before the global pandemic was about to change our daily lives. For(alongtime)ever. After a couple days of high winds, teener temps, and cabin fever, I struck out to snowshoe up and snowboard down the abandoned ski area next to my place.
After last weekend’s debacle of Denver Front Range skiers crowding into SUVs then crowding closed ski areas or nearby mountain passes (with no avalanche mitigation), I was glad to be alone. Mine is a wee little hill, but it provides the necessary social distancing I have preferred most of my adult life.
It snowed a few inches the night before. Conditions were variable.
This was not the maiden voyage of snowshoe up, snowboard down. I’d done it once before. All I needed were good fitting snowboard boots and a backpack with sunscreen, water, helmet and goggles, and bungee cords for the transition from country to western. Shoutout to High Society in Aspen. After two decades of snowboarding, this one is my favorite.
A winter’s worth of snow crunched beneath my snowshoes, but two to three inches of freshies had fallen the night before.
By early afternoon it had warmed up to the high ’20s. I traded in my hat hair for a helmet.
My goal was the top of Chair 4, but a dry log beckoned me and a patch of dry grass persuaded me. Triathletes call this transition; I call it a rest stop.
Alone on an easy blue run, still wearing a helmet. Call me paranoid. Or cautious. Late season obstacles existed, and I didn’t know where or what they were. Too many head injuries to risk. I hear ERs might be crowded right now.
After adjusting some bungee cords and catching my breath, I enjoyed my 74 seconds of freedom on the run formerly known as Francisco’s Revenge. Then a quick hike home and back to the casa.
Total jaunt time: 75 minutes. Total downhill time: 74 seconds. Total bliss. I’ll take it.