Late afternoon sunshine favors the kind of people who will never show up at the ticket counter before 2 p.m.
Late winter brings out the skiers we see no other time. Many --perhaps most-- of these are downhillers for whom a little cross-country goes a long way. They consider themselves all-around skiers, experts at everything except perhaps jumping. They just refuse to pay a lot of dues in the cross-country season. No hunching shuffle through a January gale for these patricians. They wait for March's glare and settled snowpack to floodlight and support their bravura performance.
One was asking me about kick wax conditions now and in the next couple of days. I explained the nuances of transformed snow and cold klisters in the complex scheme.
"I have a couple more days to ski downhill before I have to go cross-country," he said. "Things may be simpler by then."
Have to go cross-country? Don't put yourself out. You're not doing us any favors slithering around our purgatory looking down your nose at all of it. Why suffer? Stay on the dang lifts.
The people who will never pay more than a half day rate for Nordic skiing get plenty for their money now that sunset has been pushed an hour later. They don't have to scamper around in the chilling afternoon to get their cut rate's worth. They can push it right to closing time and delay my own escape.
Mind you they do so at their own risk.