Well, another ski season begins anew tomorrow as both Loveland and Arapahoe Basin ski resorts open tomorrow. This is the latest opening day for the Colorado skis season in 15 years. It seems like a long time coming, but in reality, it’s still a pre-Halloween start to the ski season, so who can complain about that? Whether you ski or not, the start of the ski season is meaningful, as it brings big money to the state’s economy. For me, I find myself feeling a little bit giddy like a kid in a candy store. I think I’m the rare breed of person who actually looks forward to the winter season more than summer. Summer is nice, and I like going hiking and camping, but winter makes me flat out HAPPY (as in Snoopy doing his happy dance happy).
Something I’ve observed about mountain residents in both the Sierra Nevada mountains of California and the Rocky Mountains of Colorado is that winter is a big, big deal. As in if you’ve moved to the mountains because of the summers, winter will seem really, really, really long. And in actuality, winter is really long as the first big snows came come in October and it can keep snowing right on into May. You’ll grit your teeth, and try to tough it out through the wind, cold and snow, but you won’t like it, and those balmy summers that made you want to move to the mountains in the first place will seem a long ways off. I ran into a Nederland resident the other day who told me a story from his realtor friend. Some people from Texas bought a place here and moved in during the month of June. By February, the wife was threatening divorce if they didn’t move NOW. Literally, the house was put on the market and they were gone before the 1-year anniversary of buying the house.
But if you love sliding across the snow, whether by ski or by snowboard or other means, you will love the mountains as much or more in winter as you do in summer. You will revel in every flake of snow falling from the sky, and anticipate with childlike glee the exhilaration of skiing on a perfect powder day. You will keep track of the storms, analyzing the various models (Euro vs. GFS) for signs of impending storms and regularly read Joel Gratz’s OpenSnow website with dedication each morning. You will spend copious amounts of time in REI, buying the various colors of wax to use on your skis, so they will slide with the greatest of ease during any snow condition. Your office area will become a storage area for all things winter. We have an entire room of our house devoted to our sports pursuits, and have no fewer than 10 different pairs of skis for various forms of skiing between Bryon and me.
So, yeah, tomorrow is a great day for all my fellow mountain residents who revel in winter, and all the joy and excitement that brings. The beginning of ski season is like Christmas Day for every snow-loving, crazy skier or snowboarder out there. Let the sliding begin!