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Boulder Beer Scavenger Hunt (and Spring on the Front Range) 24 April 2011

Posted by magicdufflepud in Random.
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This blog will be returning to the regular weekly posting schedule soon, so don’t fret.

It’s difficult to find anything to write about this time of year. The skiing has (mostly) ended. The cycling season, in the mountains at least, has yet to begin. It’s an in-between time, bereft of the the usual pleasures, although let’s be honest: in any other city without mountains, this is how things would feel all the time. April still offers road rides on the flat lands around here, but the interesting stuff must wait till June.

Still, it’s a time to think about spring, especially since we’ve already arrived at Easter.

Remember Sit and Be Fit? Neither do I.

Two things herald the return of spring on the Front Range: flowers and people drinking outside. In warmer climes, I suppose people take sip their cocktails outdoors year-round, but come October, Denverites hole up in darkened bars and clubs, swaddled in layers of performance outerwear. It’s a happy day when people once again proliferate on patios. A happy day indeed.

But perhaps it’s an even happier day when spring transforms into costume season, as happened last weekend. Boulder Beer, makers of “Hazed and Infused,” and other drugs, holds an annual scavenger hunt along Pearl Street, Boulder’s version of the 16th Street Mall without the homeless people and crazies. As with most scavenger hunts, it seems more an excuse to drink than to compete in anything too serious, although the first place prize of a year’s worth of beer likely motivates some. And the chance to dress up motivates the rest.

Anyway, for the past five years, it’s worked like this: you dress up, you find and take pictures of things on and around Pearl Street, and you drink Boulder Beer, for free. Sorry that you’ve already missed it this time around, but with Denver Cruisers starting May 18th, the next costumed outings are just around the corner.


The Five Best Things About Spring Skiing 5 April 2011

Posted by magicdufflepud in Skiing, Travel.
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You’ve probably picked up the golf clubs already. I went on my first road ride two weeks ago.

But up in the mountains, the snow keeps falling, or sun keeps shining, and either way, the conditions are as good as they’ll be all season. So let’s take a moment to put summer on hold and explore the five best things about spring skiing (here in Colorado).

1. Arapahoe Basin

Nothing says spring like a day on the beach. Sure A-Basin’s charging for the prime spots, now, but with a couple cases of PBR, a few lawn chairs, and as many scantily-clad snow bunnies as you can find, you can pick any place and forget you were worried. And that’s the thing about A-Basin—nobody’s worried. It’s spring. The tourists are elsewhere. The beer is flowing. And there’s still enough snow on the East Wall to go get gnarly if you feel like it. But you probably won’t. Summer’s on its way, and it begins with the best tailgate in Colorado.

2. Gaper Day

So I’m a little late on this one, but it’ll come around again next year. It’s the rare person that deserves the term “asshat,” but the gaper is a rare person indeed, one so devoid of self-awareness that his greatest concern is whether he’ll meet someone with a rival team’s starter jacket. The only thing that brings more joy than calling out gapers on the mountain is proving that imitation isn’t always the sincerest form of flattery. Bring your neon. Bring your onesie. And please, oh please, bring your Carhartts.

3. Goggle Tans

By this point in the season, two kinds of skiers have emerged: those who spend 40 miserable hours in a cubicle between weekends, and those who have goggle tans. It’s possible to attempt both, though the strategy generally results in the gaper goggle burn and deep feelings of shame on Monday morning. On the other hand, the real skiers have carefully crafted their tans over the last five months, baking their chins to a deep umber, or maybe burnt sienna. Do not challenge these skiers, for they are your elders, great sages to be revered in the bar and on the slopes. Even the 17 year-olds will drink you under the table, then crush your sorry, hungover self on the mountain.

4. Pond Skimming

As a general rule, skiers avoid water on the mountain because, like sugar and promises, they melt in the rain. In the spring, though, they flock to vast pools on the slopes to prove to their lady- and man-friends that doing a yard sale into nearly freezing water sucks about as much as you’d expect. Of course, some of these brave souls make it across the pond, winning admiration and beer, but most end their days as a soggy, yet deliriously happy, mess.

5. Closing Days

Skiing is kind of a party in the first place: you get a bunch of friends together, go wild and crazy for several hours, then end up in a bar wondering why everything hurts so much. But since closing day is a party on top of what’s already a party, both skiers and post-modernists can agree that it must be a meta-party, the best kind of all. Take everything above, add a concert, costumes and lax enforcement from ski patrol, and you’ve got closing day, a celebration of the entire year and a time of mourning for the several sunny a ski-free months ahead. This year Vail’s hosting Shpongle (I just linked to MySpace), and somebody else Stephen Marley for its closing weekend (April 23-24). You might not believe me, but that’s a sure sign of a good time. Do your Easter thing, then hit the slopes. You won’t be disappointed.

Post Tomorrow 4 April 2011

Posted by magicdufflepud in Skiing.
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I know, I know… it’s been a while, and I haven’t written anything too useful lately, but fear not, a post comes tomorrow, celebrating the joys of spring skiing.

For now, though, you should check out the great guest post up on ColoradoPowderForecast (excerpt below). Don’t be a ski-diva.

Dinger totally had a “Diva Day.”

Dinger is one of my best friends here in Colorado; he organizes the bulk of our social gatherings, has a tendency toward being hilarious and is generous to a fault. He’s also one of my favorite people to ski with (and not just because he has an AWD car and lets me bring my dog). Dinger pushes me to ski terrain that would normally have me unclicking my bindings and curling up in the fetal position, crying in a tree well. He’s really good at building up my confidence without making me feel like a lame-o. Because 80 percent of the time he’s a great skiing buddy, I’m going to go easy on him here. Everyone’s allowed at least one “Diva Day” per season. That Friday was Dinger’s.

He tried borrowing my powder skis and they didn’t fit. Then he didn’t wait at the lift, but puttered around trying to reset the bindings on said skis. Then he was hungry. Then he was hungover. Even he admitted he was being a diva. If he could have awarded himself an EpicMix badge, it would have been one with a pink, pretty pretty princess crown. Diva happens. But if you know the signs, you can prevent yourself (or a friend – friends don’t let friends be daily divas, or else they get left at the tunnel) from becoming the friend who doesn’t get called on powder days.

The rest is just as good. You can find it here.