I have a confession to make. I live in Colorado, and I don’t ski. I do not have a ski pass, not even for just one mountain, and I will not be skiing this weekend. Or next weekend, or the one after that. No, I will absolutely not be skiing over President’s Day weekend or during spring skiing. Not even – gasp! – on Gaper-Day. Count me out.
The mountains may be calling, but I am sending them straight to voicemail.
The thing is, I used to be a skier. Technically, I probably still am. If I were to get on the slope today I would be a little shaky, but I know it would be like riding a bike. If the conditions were right, I would probably even enjoy it. I’m a Colorado native, so like many other Coloradans, I learned to ski before I can even remember…ski school and bib pants, and those mittens that clipped to your coat, and all. But skiing in Colorado, my friends, is not what it used to be.
Maybe it’s because I blissfully took it all for granted growing up. Skiing was always a fun getaway with family and friends on the weekends consisting of school trips in chartered buses and a lift ticket that just happened to appear on my coat zipper once we got to the base of the mountain. It wasn’t until I got to college that I realized that these Rocky Mountains of ours are a very big deal. “So, why’d you choose this school?” I would ask my fellow freshman. “Ummm to ski,” they would reply as if there could be any other reason for living in Colorado. Now I fully understand the draw of the ski-bum lifestyle has for those that move to our state. It – as they say – is all about the pow-pow.
So, why do I choose not to go skiing these days? Oh dear, let me count the ways:
It’s Too Dang Cold:
I’m a fair-weather kind of girl. And please do not try to convince me otherwise. A 35-degree, blue-bird day without a cloud in the sky? Count me and my 75 SPF in! Snow, wind chills, and single digits? So windy they have to stop the chairlift? My fingers and toes risking frostbite despite my three pairs of gloves and boot warmers? Ummm, nope. Double nope. I am done voluntarily freezing my tush off in the name of a good powder day.
So. Much. Equipment:
I was gifted my current – and only – pair of skis and boots that I’ve ever owned for Christmas in 2002. My poles were purchased at a used equipment shop not long after, so God only knows how old those suckers are. Not to mention, I’ve never owned the right clothes. Rolling up to the lift in too-short snow pants borrowed from my mom was par for the course.
I can’t even imagine how far equipment technology has come since the early aughts, and I wouldn’t even know where to start. And I’m not buying ski clothes that I will wear maybe once or twice a year – not even at a half-price tent sale in July. At this stage in the game, I might as well show up to the rental shop in jeans.
Winter Driving is No Joke:
Oh sure, you learned to drive in Colorado? Have snow tires? Don’t even need four-wheel-drive? Driving in the mountains is a piece of cake! That’s what I thought too until I was stranded on I-70 during a closure in black-out blizzard conditions one evening driving home from Telluride by myself at the ripe age of 23. I still have PTSD from having to stay the night in a motel room with strangers I met at Wendy’s while we were all stranded in Silverthorne as a result. Unless the weather conditions are guaranteed to be clear and snow-free, I’m not risking it. Not ever.
1-70 is the Actual Worst, The End: Before I was working full-time, married. and had a family, it was feasible to get up to the slopes relatively unscathed. From college on, my strategy was to cobble together whatever money I could from however many part-time jobs I was working at the time to buy a lift ticket on my parent’s buddy pass and go up on a week day. I usually had control over my schedule, could afford to wait for a nice weather day, and could get from Denver onto the chairlift in under two hours.
These days, a commute up I-70 is at least three hours each way, and good gracious, there is no way I am spending my precious time off work stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic in order to wait in lift line after lift line. Throw in a toddler that I would no doubt get checked into ski school too late, and that sounds like a nightmare of a Saturday morning. I’ll pass, thanks.
But Really, It Costs How Much??? I could barely afford a lift ticket, let alone a four-pack pass in college, and with price inflations, I still can’t. Plus, I’m gonna want to buy a Starbucks if I have to wake up at zero o’clock to get on the road. And I’ll want to eat lunch at the cafeteria because all the lift-line-standing can really work up your appetite. And I’ll need hot chocolate to warm myself up at some point. Also, remember how I’m going to have to rent literally everything because it is no longer Y2K? Ugh. I’ll continue to enjoy the mountains in the summer at half the cost instead, thank you very much.
So, will I see you on the mountain this weekend? Nope, nope I will not. My version of a powder day is getting first dibs on the donuts at King Soopers. And dang, that’s all one really needs to guarantee an epic weekend.