Thanksgiving is when the real ski season starts, many say
The awaited hiatus of school, glorious fall break, is now officially in session.
Students will be flocking from campus to the airports, their homes, exotic locations or wherever their plans lead them. But there always remain a dedicated bunch: those who simply look west. Strapped in their gear and anxious for the frosty wind to bite their faces, these people spend their days skiing over break.
Although resorts have officially been open to avid riders and skiers for a few weeks, many say this is when the season really starts.
“From what I hear, the mountains are always overcrowded and don’t really get that much snow at the beginning of the season,” said Rob Chan, a junior integrative physiology major. “I’m going to be here in Boulder all throughout this break, and since I’m really busy during the school year, I’m looking forward to the time off to be able to get some riding in.”
Chan is one of many Californians, along with other out-of-state students, who took refuge in Boulder’s campus for its promised snow and roads into the mountains.
“Yeah, I’m here for the snow,” Chan said.
With the mountains receiving a steadily increasing amount of snow, eager snow-freaks anticipate high quality terrain. Most of the major resorts are open and ready for the holiday crowds to pump up business.
“I’ve already been nine times. I have the five mountain pass, the Copper/Winter Park pass and the Eldora pass,” said junior studio arts major Kaite McNally, who is also a member of Boulder Freeride, CU’s ski and snowboard club.
“The mountains have been getting dumped on the past few weeks, so I’m definitely going,” she said. “The club is also taking a trip to Steamboat: $275 for lodging, lift tickets and transportation. (There are) 6 inches new snow, and more to come. It’s going to be great.”
For the night-crawlers who find the idea of quitting at mid-day to be preposterous, this week Keystone Resort will be offering “Nightriding” from Nov. 22 to Nov. 26. The schedule varies during other parts of the season. Refer to www.snow.com for more information.
“Nightriding is probably some of the best, because there are usually no crowds and you virtually have the entire mountain to yourself,” said sophomore Chinese major Greg Gibson. “Just haul and blast down, and your face becomes numb with the speed and wind, but it’s awesome.”
Also, at the end of last season, a mountain exclusively for tricksters opened to provide new terrain. It is a small all-park resort by the name of Echo Mountain. Located off the Evergreen exit on I-70, Echo Mountain is much closer than the bigger resorts. If rails, jumps and grueling sessions sound tantalizing, McNally said it is worth a visit.
“It can definitely be fun, especially if you want to practice your park skills,” McNally said. “If you just want a quick session, it can be pretty cool.”