The thing about early season skiing is, it’s all about your state of mind. Before you go out, recalibrate your expectations, (not sure if recalibrate is a word, but I think it should be, and this is my blog post) and remember that skiing is a weather dependent activity. I heard a saying recently that I’ll have to use sometime – Pray for snow, but thank God for snowmaking.
Resorts will open terrain when it is safe, and no sooner. If you don’t like early season conditions, then don’t go skiing. Winter doesn’t even officially start for a few weeks, but how lucky are we here in Colorado that we have more than 13 resorts open for business already.
I don’t mind early season, probably because the winter goes so fast, I want to get out there early and take advantage of the few crowds on the slopes. For me and a lot of others, early season is not all about the snow, it’s about being outside, being in the mountains, enjoying being part of the terrain and environment, being up high and taking in views of snow capped peaks and being with my friends and family. It’s for these reasons that I took the kids to Arapahoe Basin recently.
We arrived at the resort and were welcomed by mind temperatures, crystal blue skies and happy enthusiastic skiers and riders. Lift lines were minimal, especially since they opened the upper mountain and people could spread out a bit. They opened the Molly Hogan beginner ski area, and that was the only beginner skiing on the mountain, we stuck mostly to the intermediate options.
I have a feeling this is going to be a breakthrough season for Georgia (6). She is getting used to using poles and more often than not is making parallel turns. We skied blues all day and she was more than comfortable on them than last year – now all she needs is mileage.
We lunched at Black Mountain Lodge on mac n’ cheese, chicken nuggets and spinach salad. I ran into Chef Rybeck who was busy getting ready for their first Moonlight Dinner of the season, which everyone should try, they are really a fun time and beyond delicious. We did it with three other couples and had a ball.
Braedon (8) is a very independent skier, he’s able to ski ahead and knows to stop at the next SLOW sign. Except when he didn’t, and we got separated. Georgia and I were on one run and Braedon went down the neighboring run. Georgia and I made it to the bottom and waited a while for Braedon. I started thinking that maybe he took the lift back up again, but then I noticed a ski patroller making his way down the run and right on his heels was Braedon. We were reunited, Braedon was a little upset, not because he was separated but because he said it took him forever to get the patroller’s attention. I explained to him that the patroller probably had no idea Braedon was calling for him because he was not lying on the ground and his mouth was covered up with his skull cap neck gator thing.
We had about 30 minutes before the lifts closed the kids were unstoppable. Although Georgia didn’t want to go back up the main lift, she was up for doing laps on the beginner run, mostly because she was so eager to ride the lift by herself and that was the only one I’d let her.
The kids lapped Molly Hogan until last chair – and could have kept going. But with the lifts closed and the groomer headed out, I dragged them off the hill, loaded them in the car, swung by Starbucks for apres and headed home under a gorgeous sunset.