If you love après-ski just as much as the skiing itself, you’re probably familiar with the dilemma I faced on A-Basin’s Opening Day this year—the lift line or the mug line. If you’re not in the mug line when it starts forming at 7am, you’re out of luck because they sell out of these Bad Larrys by mid-day on Opening Day each year.
This year, I chose mug line over lift line. Okay, okay, so actually my boyfriend diligently waited in the mug line, outside of the 6th Alley Bar, while I did my “official” duties of watching first chair. As luck would have it, I strolled back into the A-frame just in time to notice he was only a few people away from the register. Not so lucky for everyone else, I hopped into line with him while nonchalantly chatting up his line neighbors hoping they didn’t call me out for being a skipper. Yes, it was much like being in elementary school. They didn’t seem to mind and I was on my way to becoming a first time Mug Club member.
Evan, the boyfriend, was far more prepared for the difficult process of procuring his mug than I was. He knew exactly what number he wanted. With 300 available, that’s a lot of options. Not having a favorite number I was at a loss, but since Evan chose XX**, I went ahead and chose one number before him and handed over my credit card. It was official; I was a proud member of The Mug Club.
As I walked away with only a receipt for the $40 that they charged to my card and a tiny piece of paper that simply stated “Free Beer 2012-13,” my first thought was, “What exactly did I just spend $40 on?” I wasn’t sure yet, and wouldn’t be until my next visit, but I did know that I was in The Mug Club and was pretty darn pumped about it.
After going back to my opening day duties for a bit, we decided it was time to redeem that little piece of paper. So at the late-hour of 10am, we marched ourselves into the 6th Alley Bar and proudly proclaimed, “Mug XY, 1554, please.” It was, of course, the most delicious beer I have ever had since it was out of my very own mug that would hang above the bar for the remainder of the season.
Fast forward to this past weekend. I hadn’t skied at A-Basin since opening day and had all but forgotten about my beloved mug. Our deciding factor on heading to A-Basin was the fact that we wanted to use our mugs. After a few speed laps on the few runs open, it was mug time. Seriously though, forget the beer, I just wanted to spend some time with my mug.
The problem was, I could not remember my mug number. I knew Evan’s, but I didn’t know my own. With my head hung low, I approached the bar and told the friendly server, “I have a big problem,” to which he responded, “Oh yea, what’s that?” I mumbled, “I don’t remember my mug number,” and quickly added, “I’m 99 percent sure it is either XY or XZ.” He happily pulled out the list, asked my last name then playfully asked me which one I thought it was. “XY, I definitely think it is XY.” And bam, it was. As one bartender filled my mug, the other handed me a Sharpie and demanded I write my number on my pass. Even though I wasn’t sure I should be writing on my Gold Pass, I obliged.
I have commitment problems when it comes to stickers, so my mug still looks as it came – just an A-Basin logo, and a New Belgium logo. With half my beer down, I proclaimed my mug would get, at the very least, a Colorado sticker. That is, if I ever remember to bring it with me.
As we closed out our tab we asked the bartender what exactly we got with our mug. Apparently, we get $1 off every beer we put in it for the entire season, we get to keep our mug, and we got that one free beer. The bartender also told us we would pay off our mugs in two more visits. I’m not sure how that math works, but it makes me feel better to think it is paid off, so I’ll take it.
Until next time, Mug.
**Please note, mug numbers have been removed to protect the identity of The Mugs.