Landscape: The Back Bowls

It’s official: Vail’s Back Bowls are finally fit for skiing. Last night’s 8-inch powder dump spread itself out evenly over a good base, making today’s skiing the best so far this season. While taking Chair 17 up (at right), I was getting excited about dropping into the Sun Up Bowl for some decently deep powder turns. China Bowl, the Mongolia Bowls, the Sun Up and Sun Down Bowls, and the Siberia Bowls were all excellent fun today…despite the occasional reminders (read: rocks) that it’s still early in the season. Vail is only reporting 92 inches so far this season, with a 33-inch mid-mountain base. I’d say we need at least another 24 inches of snow before skiing in the trees would be sane. And even though Blue Sky Basin opened up yesterday, the steeper faces (such as Lover’s Leap/Iron Mask area) need quite a bit more snow.

Off and on today, big powder flakes were coming out of the sky, and then—in an instant—the clouds would break open to blue skies. Here’s China Bowl, looking good:

Even the Sun Up Bowl looked spectacular today with blue skies above it and tiny specks of people making their way down the mountain:

To put things in perspective, here’s one of my ski buddies:

Nice hockey stop. I took the above photo in the Sun Down Bowl this morning, where we arrived early enough to still carve out some fresh tracks in the fluffy stuff. Anyhow, getting face shots isn’t a bad way to spend the first week of a new year. Happy Twenty-Ten, folks!

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