Off The Hill: The 100-day dream called snowboard season
May 17, 2016
"It was a winter," I respond to my pal at City Market when he asks me how the season was. "It went by so … fast."
The more seasons I spend riding, the faster they seem to go by. I got a lot of days with On The Hill and am still riding a couple days a week at the Basin, as well as splitboarding around the county.
The spring riding is amazing here in Colorado. I like to call it "second season." It is not uncommon for it to snow in May, and even now, as a write this, a snow squall is dumping wet, cornflake-sized snow straight down onto the ground, where it will all melt off in an hour.
The conditions at the Basin this May have been excellent, allowing for Pali and Montezuma chairs and the East Wall to remain open until now. They have officially extended the season until June 5 and will play it by ear after that. There are two — count 'em, two — very fun terrain parks open, with a mix of boxes and rails. They will be holding a rail jam on Sunday, May 29 along with the rest of their Memorial Day events. There is live music every weekend on the new concert stage, and the vibe in the spring at the Basin is like none other, with people coming from all around to "extend the season," all in a good mood.
Corn harvesting and Frisco park days
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This year, I got to do something I've wanted to do since moving here over a decade ago: go snowboarding on the Frisco sledding hill. The snowy remnants of the sledding hill were pushed together to make a small run, with four rails and a few features for skiers and boarders to play on. It was a treat to ride for free so close to home, with Peak One on one side and Lake Dillon on the other.
The Woodward summer camps and public snow park will open in early June, and the word is that the public park will be open both Saturdays and Sundays this season. Last year, the public park was open until late September, which meant only a mere three weeks from the time it closed until the chairs started up again.
The corn-harvesting season is here, and conditions in the alpine have been good for skinning and splitboarding. I was happy to be able to go up Quandary Peak, Breck's local 14er, this spring with my friend, Lawson Yow. I also got to click off some other "split missions." As it gets hotter and hotter, one must go higher and higher, but still, endless lines exist for those willing to trek.
This season marked my 21st year snowboarding, and I am more amazed and more grateful than ever before. I am happy and humbled to have a community of people who are so talented and driven. I am happy to have heroes to emulate and follow and to have met people and seen places that are truly special.
On The Hill brought me to many spots this year, and, along the way, we met many characters: opening day at Loveland with Nate Dogggg and the network to Wolf Creek pow chasing to the Slash and Burn at Steamboat to St. Patty's Day with the Ravinos to riding with Amy Purdy and para-athletes at Copper to closing days and the late-season Weston hut trip — there were too many good times to count.
That is the afterglow. More than 100 episodes of On The Hill. All the good times, people, friends and powder. It all settles into this spot in your memory banks when you finally step back from the go-go-go that is winter and think, "Wow, what a ride … ," and all I can muster for my friend at City Market is, "It was a winter."
I mean … how do you describe a 100-day dream?
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