Right about now a year ago, you couldn't shoulder your way through a lift line or attend a public meeting in our valley without someone loudly praising the great groomers saving the ski season.
And they were right. Vail and Beaver Creek's grooming crews were heroes.
How they kept the slopes skiable with no late snow was amazing, even miraculous. The recognition for their work by the end of the season grew into a well-earned torrent.
They deserved all the plaudits we could give them.
They still do.
This year has been kind of a mirror of last year. Last season, the snow came early and shut off. This season, Mother Nature was just about as parsimonious with the white stuff, but started late and then dropped just enough just in time throughout the season.
And the groomers were just as heroic as last season. It just wasn't noticed as much.
Then frank-ly, grooming got scapegoated for another challenging snow year.
Taking reasonable safety precautions, the resorts this season ended grooming at 8:30 instead of 10:30 a.m.
That's all. This is what the crabapples are crabbing about. You'd think the world as we knew it had ended, the groomers had suddenly forgotten how to do their work, the mountains were a mess for covering the same ground before the lifts opened instead of finishing shortly after.
Listen, a groomed run is not all "chopped up" because the work ended at 8:30 instead of 10:30. That's utter nonsense.
This side of perhaps Deer Valley, you won't find better grooming anywhere, and they'd better be looking out as Vail and Beaver Creek keep working to perfect their art.
The shrieking over two hours shows how spoiled some of us have become. Well, it's not even that, since grooming has not declined a whit from the all-pro standard that attracted so much praise last year at this time.
For whatever reason, a small knot in any group just has to complain about something. If there's nothing really to complain about, trust them, they'll make it up if they have to.
You'd think some of these pampered poodles need an escalator to do their skiing for them in addition to the escalators up to the lift at Beaver Creek.
I'd say stay off the slopes and go have a latte, but these folks would go all Goldilocks about their drink being too hot or too cold for their tightly tuned tastes. If everything has to be just perfect for you to enjoy yourself, maybe a ski mountain isn't the place for you.
Isn't skiing supposed to be about adventure? The grooming has smooth-ed the way for more of us to experience it. Two hours takes nothing away from that.
Editor and Publisher Don Rogers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 970-748-2920.