We’re loving the April snow that we’ve seen so far, and we’re having a strong late-season here in Colorado Ski Country. We have four resorts that are still open, Arapahoe Basin, Loveland, Aspen Highlands and Winter Park, and we’re affectionately calling this the “season that won’t quit.”
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.
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…)
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:
[WARNING: This blog post is NSFW - Employees: if your boss sees you reading it, you can kiss your next powder day goodbye. Kids: do NOT let your parents see this unless they're very cool, or already have the Powder Flu themselves. Read with caution]
You don’t want to be sick, right? But you do want the conditions to be sick out on the slopes. So what happens when you’re not sick, but the conditions are? Colorado Ski Country has the answer. It’s called the powder flu, and it’s extremely contagious around here.
Colorado Ski Country USA resorts have announced their spring event lineups. This year’s antics feature unique competitions and activities, both on and off the slopes, designed for all ages and abilities. These home-style, home-grown Colorado antics range from the philanthropic to the family-friendly to all-out high intensity competitions.
One of the most amazing winter carnivals, hands-down, no-doubt, bet-your-season-pass is Steamboat Springs’ Winter Carnival. It’s coming up Feb 6-10. Do. Not. Miss. It. And when you get there, be sure to put on some warm socks, fill a thermos with some piping hot <ahem> cocoa, and head out for a night at the signature event, the Night Extravaganza.