Archive for April, 2013
As the winter season comes to a close the tradition of celebrating spring skiing and riding continues with Sunsation at Copper Mountain. The two-day festival includes live music, off-the-wall competitions and plenty of great conditions and sunshine to go around.
Colorado Ski Country USA resorts embraced the latest snowstorm to sweep through the state, welcoming April snow showers that picked up where a snow-laden March left off. The ongoing snowfall enabled several Colorado resorts to re-open recently on select weekends after their official closing dates, and the past couple of days have left further powder deposits for guests to enjoy.
One of Wolf Creek Ski Area’s Ski Patrollers has some particularly bad breath. I’ve just watched Rico execute a rescue of a buried avalanche victim in a training drill put on by Wolf Creek, and as I congratulate him on a job well done, Rico’s halitosis washes over me and I’m struggling for fresh air, much like the simulated avalanche victim he just rescued. I can’t help but wonder what he had for breakfast.
Having smelled Rico’s breath, my guess would be dog food. And I’d be right, because Rico is one of Wolf Creek Ski Area’s avalanche dogs.
Arapahoe Basin Ski Area announced it has added another certified avalanche dog to Ski Patrol – a Golden Retriever named RIO!
As the season winds down and the weather begins to slowly warm up, resorts are beginning to close throughout Colorado Ski Country. Loveland and Arapahoe Basin will remain open into May as usual, continuing the tradition of Colorado having one of the longest seasons in the nation, but many others will start to close in the next couple of weeks. Check out the list below so you know where to head before the 2013-14 season is in the books.
Buttermilk closing day will be BAD – in the best sense of the word – as Bacon Appreciation Day is back for the third year in a row. The 3rd Annual Bacon Appreciation Day, featuring bacon snacks and samples all day long, including bacon waffles, bacon samples, sundaes with bacon sprinkles and a bacon and beer happy hour, will take place on closing day, Sunday, April 7. The day culminates with a rail jam at the base, then the Bacon Bartender’s Brawl, with music from DJ Ronnie.
I hop on the 8 o’clock chair with a few Ski Patrollers at Durango Mountain Resort (DMR). I ask one of the patrollers what he thought of a recent article that seemed to suggest Ski Patrollers across the state lack in training.
“That article made us sound like a bunch of un-trained monkeys!” exclaimed TJ, a veteran patroller at DMR. “I resent that. We’re highly trained monkeys.”
The vibe here is relaxed, even on dawn-patrol. The snow has already begun to soften up on this late-March day. Festivities at the base area, known to locals as “the Beach” will include snow bowling, a pig roast, and of course, beer. Did I mention it’s college day?
“That’ll bring the rabble out for sure.” remarks Scott Clements, director of the Patrol at DMR. I’ve seen closing day at DMR before. It usually means costumes, antics, and lots of fun, so I know it’s going to be a good day to shadow the patrollers.
Despite the chucklings about the laid-back vibe of spring skiing in Colorado, Ski Patrol is diligent about their job. It’s business-as-usual in the Patrol Shack. The morning meeting begins with grooming reports, station assignments, and the typical razzing of the rookie. The only think significantly different today is sitting on a table in front of me… (continue reading…)