Have you been listening to the weather reports lately? Did you hear the “S” word? That’s right, it’s been snowing up in the mountains!
If you are a skier or snowboarder, you’re probably already looking through the closet for your …
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If you are a skier or snowboarder, you’re probably already looking through the closet for your clothing and gloves, checking out your gear to see what kind of damage you did last season and looking for the sales at the ski and sport shops. Some of you have probably been looking at your bank account to see if you saved up enough money to get your favorite season pass card yet. It’s a Colorado ritual that’s been going on around here for a long time.
OK, so I know some of you just moved here and do a little skiing or boarding and are looking forward to hitting the slopes this winter. Let me give you a little guidance to help you get the most out of your winter fun season. Now, this is coming from a guy who grew up skiing from the time he was 8 years old, raced for four years and was a ski instructor for four years at a major resort. Yup, I wasn’t always the balding guy with the gray hair and pot belly, alright?
To begin with, ski and boarding season never really ends here in Colorado.
The resorts start making snow before summer actually ends, a couple of them compete to see who can open first every year and usually you see lifts starting to open by the end of October. It takes until the middle of December for most to be operating at full steam, but by Thanksgiving they should all be open and running. Peak season is January through March.
Yes, It’s true, March is usually the snowiest month of the year up in the mountains but once April rolls around it starts to warm up pretty quickly and the snow at most resorts starts to recede. So by the end of the month they all start to close — except Arapahoe Basin. That’s the highest ski area in the country with a summit of 13,050 feet, so it usually stays open into June (although I remember one season where it actually stayed open until the Fourth of July!).
But, that’s not the end of skiing for the die-hards.
Up at St. Mary’s Glacier and a few high peaks in Rocky Mountain National Park you can find snow fields that never melt and spot people hiking and then climbing up the slopes with skis or boards all summer long. So, with that in mind, it’s time to get crackin’ and ready for the ski season, even though it’s only the end of September.
You might want to head over to the American Mountaineering Center, 710 10th Street in Golden, this Thursday, Sept. 29, for the 2016 Ski Season Kickoff Party. It’s sponsored by Bent Gate mountaineering shop and is billed as “ the biggest stoke fest of the season." This is the seventh year for this event and hundreds of dedicated skiers and riders from around the Front Range turn up to celebrate the coming snow.
Now, this isn’t just some kind of skiers' flea market. It’s also about back country education, avalanche awareness, and they will have some associated games and competitions like timed avalanche beacon searches, timed split board transitions, and blindfolded folding shovel assembly that can save your life.
There will also be a mini winter sports expo highlighting some of the new gear and more, plus a raffle and silent auction. Of course, there will be food trucks as well as beer, too. The evening is capped off with Icelantic’s latest ski film about the 10th Mountain Division and how those veterans returned to Colorado and founded the ski industry around here.
The party starts at 5 p.m. with the raffle and silent auction at 7:30 p.m. followed by the movie. Tickets run $20 and you can contact Bent Gate at (303) 271-9382 for more information if you need it.
Now, get those files out and start sharpening your edges, it’s already snowing up there!
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