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…)
Skiing is inherently silly. As stated by Dexter Rutecki in Aspen Extreme: “We’re not curing cancer here, we’re sliding down a mountain with sticks on our feet.” Skiing is fun, it’s silly, and it’s not to be taken too seriously.
Unless you’re a member of Colorado’s Ski Patrol.
For Ski Patrollers, skiing isn’t just a fun activity; it’s their job. Colorado’s Ski Patrol represent one of the most comprehensively trained groups in all of outdoor recreation. Medical training, mountain travel, search and rescue, evacuation, incident response and evidence gathering – you name it, the Ski Patrol is trained for it and ready to respond.
Colorado’s skiers and snowboarders were recently presented with a misleading article that stated:
“When someone dies or is seriously injured on a Colorado ski slope, it is ski patrollers — not trained police officers, sheriff’s deputies or forest rangers — who document and determine what happened.”
That’s true, and it’s exactly the way you, as a skier, should want it. Here’s why:
Allow me to extrapolate:
National Geographic recently named Durango, Colo. as one of the “Top 10 Emerging Ski Towns in North America.” National Geographic, an internationally recognized publication, presents the best in adventure travel by featuring destinations, photographs, videos, maps, gear and more. In their latest feature, National Geographic named ten North American ski towns that don’t necessarily have the name recognition as other known destinations but they were described as “real towns, often cheaper and friendlier than the big dogs…”
A quick bit of math: Take all the awesome ski and snowboard spots in Colorado, then find all the sweet terrain parks, halfpipes, and superpipes in Colorado. Add all the parks, pipes, superpipes, and jibs togehter. What do you get? About a jillion ways to catch air in the highest state in the union. Here are some highlights from one of ‘em:
OK, so I’ll admit that I didn’t get the job of Mountain Correspondent because of math skills, but hear me out…