Riding the lift on a powder day at Eldora.
Riding the lift on a powder day at Eldora. (Ashley Dean, via Instagram)

This is the story of the minor powder day that made me forget all the ice days.

Sunday brought us the biggest snow of the season so far, a storm The Weather Channel had a useless and stupid name for, but the Twitterverse chose to call #giantdump. (Well done, Colorado.)

Being a car-less Boulderite, I hopped on the bus to Eldora. It's not Vail or Copper, but I love little Eldora for its location and short lift lines. Even on a Sunday of non-stop heavy snow, I caught a couple chairs to myself and hardly ever had to dodge a cluster of inexperienced tourists. A quiet mountain on a powder day is paradise.

But it's not too quiet. What makes a powder day really fun -- besides carving fresh lines or navigating a challenging series of bumps -- is the party vibe.

The Eldora staff has always been friendly with me, but that day, a "Heyyyy, what's up?!" was punctuated with a fist bump. Conversations attempted to go on even as the lift slowly carried me away. Once I was up there, it was an excited chat with whomever I'm sitting with, trading tips on where the snow is best and thanking the weather gods for finally sending a good storm.

Then there was the cheering. If you didn't feel enough like a BAMF while absolutely murdering a run, there was the peanut gallery on the lift to make even the most mediocre jump feel like a double cork.

In that moment, I swear we are all Travis Rice.


If instead, you crash in a cloud of powder, the cheers will actually get louder. It happened to me and it happened to several people I egged on from my seat up above. Every single one of us raised two fists in triumph, because when you fall that hard, it means you were riding that hard. We respect the balls as much as we respect the skill.

This doesn't happen on an average day. Fall on packed powder and no one makes a peep. Just a week or two ago, someone yelled at me to hurry up as I waited for an opening in short lift line. On Sunday, everyone patiently waited and shouted encouragement as a man with an entire kayak around his torso struggled to get on the lift (the DOJoe Memorial Telemark Uphill-Downhill Race took place that afternoon).

Yes, it's very simple. Happy people are friendly people. You see this kind of unabashed camaraderie at music festivals, too. But Kurt Vonnegut said, "I urge you to please notice when you are happy and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, 'If this isn't nice, then I don know what is.'"

My versions of that involved more enthusiastic F-bombs than the word "nice" on Sunday. Here, I thought I'd write it down a little beyond that.

It was my best powder day ever. I say this having only lived in Colorado for two of the worst seasons in decades and as someone who can't easily get to the best mountains, but I'm saying it anyway. I haven't experienced Colorado's best, but this felt like the best.

Follow Ashley Dean on Twitter: @AshaleyJill.