Off The Hill: Weather dependent and the many faces of a Breckenridge winter morning
Off The Hill
Once upon I time, I lived in the Wellington neighborhood next to a ski patroller. He was a 20-year man. I was very much in awe of this guy. We asked him what it had been like going out day after day in any and all conditions, and he paused and replied simply, “You know … I’ve seen a lot of good mornings up there.”
I was very envious at this point thinking of him out there: the utter quiet, the solitude, grandeur and stark beauty of the early mornings on the hill before the mountain and town “wake up.” I admired his ability, fortitude and dedication — and more so his humble appreciation of the mountain and weather. I love weather.
We ride the season and immerse ourselves in weather. We track weather and storms. We go out in the wind and rain and ride when it’s double digits or a goose egg. When the “report” comes out, we determine how we will approach our day.
Are we going to need to get up and come off the blocks on a pow morning? Will I be driving somewhere? Will I be wearing the ninja suit? What gloves? Will we be anxiously awaiting openings, or will it be open? Do we need to get there? Will we be running up to the high-alpine hikes and jumping cliffs? Will I possibly be rag-dolling before I’ve had breakfast? Is it bluebird, greybird, flat light, all right? Is it milk bottle up top? Is it a park day? Is it too windy to ride jumps? Is it too tacky to ride logs? Will I be smiling wide and screaming with joy no more than one hour from being asleep in my bed? Am I dreaming? Will it be sketchy, will it be blower, will it be crusty or busted or beat? Will I be spiking adrenaline or simmering on low?
It gives a whole new meaning to the term “weather dependent” when your life is as such.
Getting yourself up, suited and out every day in the winter is no small feat — braving the cold and conditions, starting your car, scraping snow off of windshields — facing down howling winds, blizzards, snowdrifts — making coffee before the sun is up as your one means of combatting the cold world outside. More often than not here in Colorado, the mornings are incredibly beautiful, and being present for every sunrise is a glorious thing. Watching the patterns of storms and the weather throughout the season is probably my favorite part of snowboarding.
Since roughly the beginning of the season, I have been delivering the paper early each morning. It has me up before the dawn and driving to Frisco for pick up, then back to Breck before finishing in Blue River. It has been something else seeing the winter progress from snow guns to snowbanks with each storm. I have been taking pictures almost every morning and posting to my Instagram page (@zgriff) with the hashtag #znnmorningnews. I’ve seen some good one’s so far.
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