Apr 27 2015

Loveland’s 14th Corn Harvest

The band promised to play; rain, snow or shine.

The band promised to play; rain, snow or shine.

The 14th Annual Corn Harvest at Loveland ski area this past weekend wasn’t a harvest of corn, but there was a nice spritzer of fresh snow on a bed of lightly furrowed slopes off the top of Loveland ski resort. That plus another 200 skiers who registered, some in completely appropriate Hawaiian shirts for the occasion that were completely out of sync with current conditions. Regardless of the conditions, all registrants got lei’d and enjoyed marvelous ski conditions.

In the morning the fresh coat filled in the spaces between spray from yesterday’s tracks that created mini moraines of frozen cookie crumbs that weren’t so hard they deflected your tips, but they did add a crunchiness to each turn. They were substantial enough to require commitment to your edges or you would need good recovery instincts to avoid the lurking snow snakes hoping to trip you up.

No corn, but fresh is fine too.

No corn, but fresh is fine too.

By afternoon temperatures began to warm as squalls of snow prepared to unload by the time the band was scheduled to play. The crunchiness continued from the top of the ridge, as a light wind cooled the surface of the snow, while the underbelly absorbed the radiant heat of a thin cloud cover. It sounded sort of like skiing zipper crust, but it cruised like perfectly ripe corn snow, soft, wet, and slippery with a crenulated crust on top that crinkled when you cut it with your skis.

On the first run after lunch James asked if I thought we should head down to the car or take one more run. We were both feeling the lag that comes after eating just a bit too much lunch, but my legs prompted me to say, “we should do that at least one more time.” After that I said it again. And yet again before we decided to head for the bottom for much needed water.

By the time we reached the car the clouds unleashed a burst of graupel, which turned to flatter, fatter flakes so we decided to check out the band since skiing in a white out sounded less fun that soaking up the bluegrass vibe of the Corn Harvest Band, featuring Mark Morris, the Jon Stickley Trio, Andy Thorn of Leftover Salmon and members of the Rapidgrass Quintet.

For those who thought it was spring – it is. Spring skiing has always been the best part of the ski season. Even though conditions weren’t classic spring corn, it was classic spring mountain conditions which is often of mix of powder and some form of creamy smooth snow. It might just be another day at a resort, except proceeds from registered skiers went to support the Colorado Avalanche Information Center. Since there was an unusually high percentage of skiers in the lunch line wearing duckbilled or walkable AT boots, it’s a good bet the fun helped fund the CAIC.

© 2015

Related Post
Summit Daily story on Loveland’s Corn Harvest