“Did you hear? Eldora is opening this Friday!”
“I can’t wait to go skiing, I got my new boots and skis!”
My friends were stoked to get out the boards and start sliding down the hill.
Then I got the email.
“We’re Opening Early! The snow is here and conditions are great…”
Even my home resort, Winter Park, was getting in on the action. Winter Park never opens before mid-November.
I just told my husband last night, “I’m so glad that Winter Park isn’t jumping the gun and trying to open early. I’d rather wait and have a great opening with lots of trails to ski.”
But like so many other Colorado ski resorts, a week of snow and winter temperatures, proved too tempting. Nov. 2 will be their earliest opening day in 80 years.
Keystone, Arapaho Basin, Loveland, Wolf Creek, Eldora, Monarch.
So why aren’t I planning on going skiing during the next two weeks?
I’m not a big fan of early season skiing. Usually there’s one or two trails open. Many times they are the easiest trails (green) trails, ones that I mastered 35 years ago when I first learned to ski.
How many lifts do you think run to serve this meager terrain? Yep, one lift and mega tons of people like my friends waiting to get on that one lift.
And then there’s preparation for the season. Ski preparation and body preparation. I’m a procrastinator. I haven’t even touched my skis since I skied last May. The bases are dry as a bone, and the edges dull. Not exactly ready for prime time.
My body isn’t much better. Usually I try to run and do lots of lower body weight training — squats, lunges, core work. Sadly, I’ve only recently started ramping up my work outs. And once I put on my skis and start heading down the hill, I’m going to feel the lack of training in a very painful way.
Despite all this knowledge, last year I got sucked in. I had to go fill out paper work for my part-time ski instructor job. Being a Friday, I thought — how crowded could it be? So I brought my gear and thought I’d ski for an hour or two. The line had more than a hundred people in it. During two hours, I skied a sum total of three times down the same trail.
That trail had rocks poking up and the surface of the snow felt bullet proof, making it hard to set my edges. Which leads me to my final reason of why I don’t love early season skiing – the conditions. While it’s true, I have an older pair of skis that I don’t mind dinging up, it’s just not that enjoyable playing dodge the rock.
Inevitably, I feel that scraping sound. I dread looking at the bottom of the skis at the end of the day.
My rule for early season skiing? When Mary Jane opens three or more trails, I’m in. Because then I know there’s enough snow and trails to give me what I crave the most. That exhilarating feeling of flying down the hill, making all kinds of turns. Short, zippy turns, long looping turns, and maybe even a few bumps.
Only then, am I all in.