Day 24 Thur Feb 14. Vail 4400m vertical (66850 total)

The Atmospheric river that’s been forecast for days managed to only deliver a glancing blow on stage 1 – had vague plans for Snowmass but Vail picked up a bit more so it was back up Glenwood Canyon.  For some reason I convinced myself it was OK to get off the bus at the other ski lift base and of course it ended up taking some time to work my way back to familiar territory.  Groomers were nice and soft but I wondered what I was in for when I dropped into China Bowl.  Tried a long traverse across toward the trees through the fog and the snow was really dense with a weird slab top.  Thankfully when made it to the trees the skiing improved dramatically.

Blue Sky had been late opening so headed to there next.  Cloud was hanging in around the top of the lifts but visibility not bad once you dropped down a bit.  Really nice run down In the Wuids – not deep but lovely soft dense fun snow – once you got used to the difference in snow compared to the light fluff of Utah.

After lunch did 3 runs off Orient Express – a cruise on Poppyfields, a dance in Bolshoi Ballroom and a wonderful meander through Shangri La.  Caught the platter up to Mongolia Bowl for the run into the ballroom – only lightly tracked up top in the open then almost perfect once you dropped into the trees, which were largely widely spaced and easily navigable.  And the run down through the Shangri La trees was just about perfect.  Did the obligatory snow depth test by taking a tumble and while there was officially only a bit over 10cm fresh I managed to find about a metre of soft where I fell.  You could spend a day in here doing different lines every time.

With barely a days skiing left in the legs called it quits and headed back over the front for the long run back to base.  Enjoyable enough but took forever. Snowed lightly off and on during the day but turned to r@!n heading back down the canyon, and was drizzling at the motel anytime I took a look outside.

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