Editor’s note: Summit Voice is happy to once again have Emily Palm contribute her ski column, Steep Shots, every couple of weeks during the ski season. Palm is freelance writer based in Golden who heads up to the mountains as often as she can. Steep Shots also appears in the Fort Collins Coloradoan.
By Emily Palm
Not to hit you over the head with a frying pan of the obvious, but don’t forget the essentials that first day up on the slopes. (I don’t know about you, but the weather has had me thinking about disc golf more than skiing, bring on the snow!)
I speak from experience. A couple years back, I showed up at the A-Basin parking lot sans poles. Had it been later in the season — when you’re not waiting in line with the hordes only to ride up to a crowded death-luge course — I would have womanned up and called it a fortuitous mistake turned day-long “training” exercise. However, it was late October with crusty early-season snow, so I opted for some $7 rental poles.
Another rookie mistake I’ve made is forgetting my ski pass. You can do this a couple times each season, and Vail Resorts will simply print you up one for the day (with ID, of course). A-Basin, however, is a separate entity, so they don’t keep your Pass information handy, thus charging a $15 “convenience” fee for printing a temporary pass. I get that the workers need to go out of their way to check in with the Vail office to see that you indeed ponied up for a pass, but $15 seems like the Pali Face (steep, that is). When it happened to me, I’d already geared up, journeyed from the Last Chance Lot, and waited my turn at the booth, so I begrudgingly paid for what I thought would be a mea culpa no problema. Well, problema pequeno, if you’re a stingy Betty like me.
Surely that last blunder won’t happen to me this year, as Vail Resorts sent me my Colorado Pass three times. Oddly enough, the first pass came non-punched. A few days later a second pass arrived, this time with a round hole punch. Followed then by a third pass with a thin rectangular hole. Curiouser and curiouser.
I tweeted that to @VailResorts, to no response. (My investigation stopped there, resting on the laurels of 140 characters to answer a question. This prompted me to realize that I, too, represent what I sometimes view as the demise of society.)
Even though you can reuse the Colorado Pass from prior years, I get a new photo taken each season. Other mountains at which I’ve been a pass holder (Mt. Hood in Oregon, and Grand Targhee in western Wyoming) show the season’s dates, and you have to get a new one each year. Why wouldn’t you want to collect these? They’re like the endangered wildlife cards I collected growing up.
In addition to being able to ski when I’m 80 with a sweet necklace of passes from yonder years of my youth, there is an air of excitement going to get the pass each year. Clicking “renew” seems tantamount to mail-in ballots. (Though, I do opt for the latter…)
So, repeat after me, poles, check. Pass, check! Add to that: non-cotton base layers, warm fleece or thermal layer, ski pants and jacket, mittens, neck gaiter, helmet, boots, skis, and a smile, and you have all your essentials.
Pre ski season to-do list:
- Get the body ready (hiking steep slopes and backpacking is a great way to firm up those quads).
- Wax your planks.
- Stock up on hand warmers (Costco has them in bulk for only $15 or so a box).
- Watch some ski porn (don’t miss Greg Stump’s long-awaited Legend of Ahhhs, out this year).
- Figure out which books on tape to listen to in the ski traffic.
- Check Tramdock.com incessantly during your workday.
- Pack a lunch.
- Remember your poles, pass, and other essentials when you hit the road for the best activity in the world.
Visit Emily Palm online at www.emilypalm.com.
Follow her ski adventures on Twitter.
Or connect with Steep Shots on Facebook.
Filed under: Arapahoe Basin, ski industry, Ski Resorts, skiing and riding Tagged: | A-Basin, Colorado skiing, Emily Palm, Steep Shots, Summit County Colorado, Summit County News, Summit County skiing. Colorado season passes