The Outsider: Mud season of the soul
Hard to believe that only a week ago we were praising Mother Nature (or cursing her, your pick) after she dumped a rogue two-plus feet of April snow all across Summit County.
When I woke up this morning, the first thing I did was kick off the suffocating sweats, throw on a tanktop, walk outside with the dog herd and soak up the morning sun. Luckily, I hit a lull in Breck’s signature frigid wind — there’s never such thing as a warm gust around here — and it almost felt like spring. Scratch that — it felt exactly like spring. What a weird place we call home.
Who knows how long it will last, but, as much as I love snowboard season, I’m almost giddy with excitement to think that soon enough I’ll be able to hit the downhill tracks at Keystone, or huff up the trails east of French Gulch, or maybe finally learn to solo command a sailboat on Lake Dillon, also known as the “black diamond of sailing,” to borrow a phrase from Dillon Marina harbormaster Bob Evans. (I guess the ice melt device will have to fall through first. My guess is May 11 at 2 p.m., not sure about the exact seconds or water temperature.)
But I’m jumping the gun just a little. The lifts at Breckenridge and Copper are spinning until 4 p.m. this Sunday, while Loveland has until May 8 and Arapahoe Basin looks like they’ll make it until June 5 at least. I’m a mid-June baby, and anytime I can spend my birthday at the Basin it’s been a damn good ski season.
Then again, it’s already been a damn good season. Keystone saw above-average snowfall, including more than a few back-to-back powder days. That rarely happens. Breck also saw more snow than usual, and even though the rocks off 6 Chair claimed my powder board, there were more deep days than lean days this year. This past weekend, when the powder was piling up beneath those same cliffs, I almost pulled a repeat and added a second gouge to the massive blowout just beneath my back binding. Luckily, those cliffs didn’t claim two chunks in one season.
Then there’s Copper, the closest resort most everyone forgets, a hill I visited only a handful of times when growing up in Denver. This season, I got about 40 or 45 days out there — the most I’ve had in my entire life — and every last one of them was memorable. There was early season on the downhill course with the U.S. Ski Team, followed by the debut Revolution Tour snowboard and freeski stop at the Main Vein superpipe, one of the first to open in North America. There were powder days in the Meadows, powder days in the Tucker chutes, powder days in the frontside trees off American Flyer — just so much powder. It’s safe to say I’ve fallen in love with that mountain, or at least lust, and I’ll make at least one visit to the public rail park just above Center Village when it opens this June. You can only keep us separated for so long.
So until we can all go sleeveless for more than a few minutes, we’re stuck in limbo. Call it the mud season of the soul: snowboarding nearly behind us, biking just barely ahead of us, and everywhere from Moab to Cozumel calling out — if you can afford it. What’s there to do if you can’t? Road biking? Crossfit? Video games? Honestly, Netflix just added every episode of “Animaniacs.” Might as well revisit childhood while life is on hold.
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