The other day a guy sitting next to me on the lift at Eldora said to his buddy, “it would be really cool if we could ski twelve months of the year here in Colorado.” I butted in and said yes it could be done, but it sounded better than reality. Ideas always sound better on the chairlift, around a few beers, or on the chairlift after a few beers.
A few years ago a buddy of mine, Cheyenne Wills, and I decided to challenge each other to see how long we could drag out the ski season. The goal was to make at least one run every month of the calendar year. Our streak ended at 20 months of consecutive skiing. In case you’re interested and want to try it yourself, here’s how it went down.
January – April
OK, that was easy. We pretty much skied every weekend, and most of it was at lift accessible areas. Our usual haunts were Arapahoe Basin, Breckenridge, and Vail. In fact, it was not hard to find good snow, and we made plenty of turns. Lucky for us, it just happened to be decent winter.
While most of the resorts were closed and most folks were thinking of spring, Arapahoe Basin was still open in May. Actually, it stayed open that year through June. Instead, chose to hike a few peaks since the spring skiing conditions in the backcountry were great. The usual suspects were Rocky Mountain National Park, Indian Peaks, Montezuma, Loveland Pass, and Berthod Pass. The best trip we had that month was near Montezuma in the Deer Creek drainage.
The backcountry skiing was great in June, as well. The corn snow was perfect in the mid-morning hours, and we had no problem finding spots to make a few turns. However, due to procrastination, we got out only once that month and it was in Rocky Mountain National Park right off Trail Ridge Road…yeah, I know, we were lazy bastards.
July was unusually hot. The rivers were swollen, and Cheyenne was spending most of his time whitewater kayaking, and I was doing a lot of running. You know the saying, “there are no friends on a powder day?” The same applies for skiing in the summer. So, you should have a determined partner that will get your ass up in the mountains when you’d rather be drinking and enjoying the summer weather down at lower elevations. However, we did have a great morning on July 2 hiking to the top of James Peak and skiing the east face. This is where the novelty wore off.
Oops. We almost forgot about August, but while on a trail run in the Indian Peaks, I spied a
nice decent pitch of snow on Mt Epworth above Rollins Pass. Actually, it was the only patch of snow I could find anywhere in the Indian Peaks that didn’t involve a death march and climbing gear. The summer heat was raging down in Boulder, and it was a nice relief to spend the morning on the snow. It was so nice, I think we took several runs that day.
September almost got away from us too. We actually waiting around til the end of the month foolishly believing the weatherman’s predictions of an early season dump that never materialized. So, we searched high and higher for a patch of snow to get our September run, but none could be found…except a miserable patch of “snow” on Saint Mary’s Glacier. It felt downright silly at the moment and looks even worse in the pictures. Yuk. Thank goodness that October and new snow was just around the corner.
Well, October came and almost went without much snow. Facing the last week of October, we had two options a) ski Saint Mary’s Glacier again or b) the icy ribbon of death of early-season skiing at Arapahoe Basin. We chose the latter. Arapahoe Basin opened the last weekend, and we braved the crowds for our last month of craptastic turns.
November – December
Back on fresh snow, we finished up our twelve month ski season making turns at the usual suspects. In total, we ended up with a 20 month ski season which is not too shabby. In retrospect, it was a fun challenge, but I’m not sure I would do it again. I checked one off the Bucket List, but there are just too many other things to do in Colorado during the beautiful summer months.
I’m sure you’ve seen a number of “Shit People Say” videos lately. Yeah, I know, that’s sooo last week, and you’re probably tired of them by now. That said, here are a few outdoor sports iterations of the popular internet meme.
Sh*t Cyclists Say
Sh*t Runners Say
Sh*t Ultrarunners Say
Sh*t Fly Fishermen Say
Sh*t Triathletes Say
Sh*t Kayakers Say
Sh*t Skiers Say
If you come across any other interesting ones, let me know.
For some reason, I feel compelled to start blogging again. It’s been about three years since I’ve uttered more than a Facebook status update or a Tweet. Coincidentally, or not, three years ago I started graduate school, and I spent all of my free time thinking about project deadlines, mid-terms, finals, or the beer that would flow after those hideous events. Now that I’m free of graduate school, I’ll need something (other than a new job) to keep my brain from getting squishy again. Maybe the blog will help?
There will (hopefully) be a few distinctions between this one and my last attempt at blogging. For starters, I’ll try to actually write original posts and not just rehash garbage I found on the Internet – while I was supposed to be working. Rest assured, I’ll be writing my own “original” garbage instead. Second, while I’m a tech geek, I’ll refrain from boring anyone with a worthless story on the latest techie start-up or gotta-have gadget. Lastly, I’ll stick to a few select topics that I’m passionate about.
Here’s an idea of what to expect:
Running – Like many things in my life, it’s a topic that I’m obsessed with at times. It’s also something that I never get tired of talking about. So, be prepared.
Fly Fishing – Ever since my grandfather put a fishing rod in my hand, I’ve been smitten by fishing. Some twenty years ago I was introduced to fly fishing, and I’ve never turned back. I pursue all types of fish from saltwater to backwater, and I have a particular fondness for carp on the fly.
Climbing – I don’t do much of it now, but I still love to tie into the sharp end of a rope from time to time. I’ve had the opportunity to climb in many parts of the world, and I’ve made a lot of great friends along the way. I’m sure I’ll dig up a few stories from the “good old days.”
Skiing – From 70+ ski days when Anne and I used to live in the Vail Valley to the magic carpet with my three-year old, I loves the snow.
Hunting – I’ve never embraced the idea of trophy hunting, but I’ve grown up hunting all my life mainly for food. I’ve recently discovered pheasant and elk hunting. I’ll probably wax on about cool crisp mornings in the field and the love of a good bird dog.
Bucket List – Everyone has one or, at least, they should. I’ve always had a “bucket list” of things that I wanted to do before I die. As a have the opportunity to complete an item on the list, I usually add two more. Luckily, Anne has been the perfect companion through many of those adventures. I plan to dig up the original list (and subsequent revisions) and chronicle my adventures past. I better do it now before I forget the details in my old age. Hopefully, it will inspire others to get out and live life to the fullest.
Western Contemporary and Sporting Art – I’ve recently found that I love to paint and draw. Who knew that it was hiding deep down all these years. I’m not really that good (yet), and I’ve never had any formal training. So, we’ll see where this takes me over the next few years.
Adventures with Kids – For as long as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to be a dad – yeah, it was on my “bucket list.” Now, I have two beautiful daughters, and I want to teach them everything I can and watch them grew to be strong, independent women. I’ll probably post quite often on our family adventures.
…and a few other topics that I can’t pigeonhole into a nice category.
I hope you’ll join me.