Shades of the old 10th Mountain Division, or at least that's what some skiers might have thought a couple of weeks ago at [R220R, Loveland Ski Area].

U. S. Army troops were taking advantage of the early season powder and some great conditions, according to Loveland group sales coordinator Dustin Schaefer.

"We had just received a half-foot overnight the day they were due to come and conditions were perfect for some high-altitude training," Schaefer told OnTheSnow. "They were doing some skinning and avalanche training. It was the first time training for some on the snow, and I was impressed with how quickly the troops all took to it.

"I took some of them up on Chair 4 where we ended up on some double-black, and I was shocked at how well they handled fresh powder on the steep. It was a privilege for me to be able to tag along and observe."

They don't show up often, according to Schaefer.

"We can't divulge when they will be here for security purposes, but they require training every so often," he explained. "It's something we are proud to offer."

Loveland offers some of the highest lift served skiing in Colorado at 12,700 feet. It has nine chairlifts and a poma, 93 trails, and one of the longest seasons in the Lower 48; October through May. Top that off with an average of 400 inches of snow per winter season. It's no wonder the Army chooses to train here occasionally.