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The Five Best Things About Spring Skiing 5 April 2011

Posted by magicdufflepud in Skiing, Travel.
Tags: , , , , , , ,

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.


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