The Outsider: Demos for days at Copper and Gold Run Nordic | SummitDaily.com

The Outsider: Demos for days at Copper and Gold Run Nordic

SDN sports editor Phil Lindeman.

It never fails. Around this time every season I trade trail running and gym time for videogames.

Don't get me wrong — I still try to go riding at least two or three times per week, and with the snow as good as it's been I've been charging hard. I've just never really considered snowboarding exercise. It's physical activity, sure, but when you snowboard like I do — head out late, spend two hours on the hill, grab happy hour drinks after — it would be a major stretch to consider my routine a workout, and it's definitely not the kind of structured workout I want at the gym.

That's not to say snowboarding or skiing is for couch potatoes. I have a friend who tried to argue that skiing at a resort is like interval training — every chairlift ride is a rest period before taking a run. I'm not convinced, not in the least, and that's fine. It works for her, so who am I to say she's wrong? My idea of an interval just happens to be more in line with Tabata training, not 15 minutes of rest between 10 minutes of downhill cruising. Besides, I don't want snowboarding to be on par with exercise anyway. I enjoy the two for entirely different reasons.

I still feel weirdly guilty about my videogame habits. I've come up with a few reasons why I fall into the warm, glowing, warming glow of a PS3 every November, ranging from the sudden temperature drop (legitimate) and depressingly short days (also legitimate) to the fact that TV is loaded with videogame commercials in the weeks before Christmas (totally unfounded, but troubling in a totally different way if I'm watching enough TV to notice).

It has to do with intent. Do I feel guilty when I consciously choose riding a couch over lifting some weights? Kind of. Should I? Probably not, but I still will. Maybe one of these days I'll consciously get over it.

Until then, I've started approaching the guilt question from a different perspective. For me, exercise and videogames (and snowboarding, mountain biking, comic books, etc.) are all outlets, ways to unwind after the stress and chaos and demands of everyday life. A few of them are undeniably better for blood pressure, but each one can work wonders for overall wellbeing.

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It's when one activity or hobby or whatever overshadows the rest that it becomes problematic. I'm a firm believer of "all things in moderation," and that includes activities I know are good for my mental and physical health. The way I see it, as long as I organically rotate through my passions I won't lose sight of moderation. I'll stay centered, as students of Lao Tzu would say.

I guess I'm also damn lucky. I unconsciously fall in and out of gaming: One day, I'll realize I haven't even touched a controller in a few weeks, and I'm cool with that. It's not so easy for some.

For now — or at least until Dew Tour comes to town — I'll keep plugging away at Mass Effect 3. If this says anything about my habits, the game came out in 2012 and I've owned it ever since. Maybe now I'll finally (finally) find out what happens when Shepherd tries to take down the Reapers. If not, well, there's always next winter. And I'm cool with that.

Colorado Demo Days at Copper

After five years, Colorado Demo Days has become an early-season fixture at Copper, just like U.S. Ski Team downhill training and USASA snowboard events on the first halfpipe in North America. Those final two are for spectators and a select few competitors, but demo days is for everyone and anyone who wants a taste of the latest gear from companies based in Colorado. (What does that mean these days? See page 2 for the full article.)

More than a dozen companies will be in Center Village from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. today and Sunday, offering the opportunity to take a few runs on brand-new gear for free. Yes, for free. There will be skis, snowboards, outerwear and accessories (think sunglasses) from Colorado companies like Unity Snowboards and more, plus big-time brands like Spy. There's also free live music (plus Colorado beers) from noon to 4 p.m. today.

Gold Run Nordic Center opening

The Gold Run Nordic Center, found on the fairways of Breckenridge Golf Club, opens for the season today. Drop by for the first-ever Fat Bike Open race (see story on page 20), complete with demo bikes from Borealis, Breck Bike Guides and the Nordic center for folks who don't own one.

If biking isn't your thing, Gold Run is also hosting a free Nordic open house this weekend. Today at 9 a.m. drop by for a waxing clinic, then come back on Sunday at 9 a.m. for the Winter Warmup program — 30 minutes of stretching followed by a 60-minute snow clinic. The center is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily during the open house with free refreshments.