Big Powderhorn has never been a frequent stop for our ski trips. Quite frankly, I prefer Blackjack and Indianhead when we are over in that part of the world. However, that does not mean I feel no loss or sadness over the lodge burning down, in fact, I do feel it.
Our infrequent stops there means I do not have many memories of the lodge and they often conflate into the memories I have of other nearby lodges.
I have one memory that stands out very vividly. We were skiing late in the season and it was very warm out, even for that time of the year. I want to say it was in 60° F but even if it was only in the 50° F range it was still warm. Guess what the snow was like? Yes, wet slop lots of it like mashed potatoes. Of course the whole hill wasn’t sloppy like that but there would be patches of good snow and isolated islands of mashed potato snow.
So it was variable speed skiing, reasonable speeds followed by abrupt decelerations and repeat. I was still fairly new to skiing and took something I read too literally and this lead me to assume and maintain a forward off balance stance over my skis. I hit one of those mashed potato patches and face planted. The face plant wasn’t pure however as I came down hard on my right shoulder. My right shoulder immediately signaled distress.
I skied to the bottom of the run and went to Powerhorn’s deck and thought I would shake it off and click back into my bindings. I was wrong, that was the end of my day and the end of that current ski season for me. There was more skiing to be had that season but not for me. I sat on the deck while my brother continued to ski and my wife and father took a trip to the nearby Copper Peak ski jump. I sat in the warm sun and self-anesthetized myself with canned products from the tavern.
I can clearly picture the front of the lodge; the side facing the parking lot. It was a distinctive face. I remember one weekend skiing at Big Powderhorn just before Ash Wednesday, yes it was a Mardi Gras theme going on with plenty of beads being handed out (the women were not offering payment for the beads nor were they being asked for payment) and I recall the slim comely woman behind the bar handing them out. I had one ski adventure too that day. It was a rather gloomy day leading to a very flat hill. I was skiing over on one side I am not too familiar with. I was going along and all of a sudden a drop caught me completely by surprise. My stomach was left behind for a moment and I was in one of those situations where I was holding on just to stay up, regain balance, and then regain control.
Big Powderhorn like myself, has hit a patch that caught them by surprise, let us all hope they can get their balance back, and get back on their edges! Good luck and all the best to Big Powderhorn!