While our member resorts hosted festivals, fireworks, and torchlight parades to ring in the New Year, I was miles from all of it in Colorado’s backcountry somewhere between Aspen and Leadville. For the first time since I’ve lived in Colorado I didn’t celebrate the New Year in the bars in a mountain town, but rather in a hut in the backcountry.
With all the snow flying the past few weeks here in Colorado, it is clear that ski season has arrived. On a slow lift ride a few weeks ago I started pondering things I wanted to do this ski season. Some make the list year after year, some are new, some are givens, some have already been accomplished and it is an ever-changing list.
Every single Colorado Ski Country resort reported a powder day yesterday and the day before and the day before. Yea, it has been snowing a lot. I am pretty sure there were a lot of individuals taking “sick days” a couple of days ago, and my boyfriend and I were two of those individuals.
We headed up to Winter Park on Tuesday night because we were nervous (and secretly hoping) that the pass would close and keep anxious skiers from getting to the mountain. It did not close, but being up there already guaranteed we were in line when the lifts started turning at 9:00am the next day.
From the lift, all you could see was snow, lots of it, everywhere. On every tree, on every peak, and on every run.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that flakes have been flying in Colorado over the past week and it finally feels like #winterishere. Yup, I’m that kind of nerd.
Eager to test out the new snow, we got all of our chores done on Saturday so we could hit the slopes bright and early on Sunday. We knew it would be frigid, but fresh snow is worth it. Always. We were up and out of the house early, hit the road, and it was smooth sailing all the way to Loveland.
We didn’t quite make first chair, but we weren’t far behind. The skies were clear and the snow was oh so soft. There wasn’t much more terrain open, but it felt like a whole new place since the last time we had been there because all of the surrounding mountains were covered in a fresh white blanket. A dramatic difference from the brown slopes of October and early November. Ahh, winter.
Amazingly, I skied 4-5 runs before having to go in and warm up. That’s huge for me. I get cold. Really cold. So we popped into the lodge for some hot chocolate and our buddy made an awesome discovery. Season pass holders at Loveland get a small hot chocolate, with whipped cream even, for only 75 cents. Passholder perks. Love ‘em.
We headed back out for a few more runs and spent some time admiring the backdrop of the Continental Divide and snapping a few photos. Thanks to our buddy for risking some serious frostbite to snap a few photos!
At some point in the afternoon, I couldn’t keep my legs from burning or my fingers and toes from freezing so we called it a day and hit the Rathskeller for a little apres ski beverage. I missed my mug, but there is something special about the Rathskeller, mug or not.
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.