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Skiing Under a Hunters Moon

By Ann Driggers


The cold cut like a knife as we skinned across the snowy flats and on up the windswept ridge at dawn. Although the peaks were tainted pink with alpenglow we didn't linger and turned our tender cheeks, more used to warmer climes, away from the needling icy wind. Spindrift streaked across the tips of our skis, over the lip of a cornice and spiraled into the bowl below. To the east the sun has begun to lighten the sky, casting a gold underside to the ragged raw clouds scudding across the mountain tops. To the west, above the snowy peaks and earth's umbra, a waxy full moon hangs low in the muted pink sky. This is the Hunters Moon, said to be named for its ability to illuminate the prey of hunters, and today is October 19, the first day of the rifle hunting season for deer and elk here in Colorado. But were it not for the moon and the orange capped hunters we saw on our drive up, all signs pointed to winter.

A series of storms has been depositing snow with quite some regularity over the past few weeks and rumors of powder skiing have been swirling in the valley below. When another storm reported six inches of fresh I couldn't take the armchair view any more and decided to interrupt my regular fall programming with a wintery intermission. I had to head up to see if there was enough snow to make the first turns of the 2013/14 season. And heck yeah, there was! I was super pumped to arrive at the top of my first run with a snowy blanket laid beneath me.

My ski partner Scott dropped it first:

Then it was my turn. As cold and light snow roiled up around my knees and swirled around my head I couldn't quite believe that it was only October. Whoop whoop!!

In fact these were quite possibly the best turns I have ever had this early in the season. Let's hope it is a precursor for a most excellent winter where the snow falls often and deep.

Now back to fall....


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