Today, in honor of the 6th birthday of my faithful Westie dee-oh-gee (d.o.g.) companion KaCee the Wonder Dog (it’s a wonder KaCee does or doesn’t… fill-in-the-blanks) I had my first ski day of the 2011-2012 season at Copper Mountain Colorado.
As my small, carefully selected circle of friends (many of whom I pay for me to have the privilege 🙂 ) and extended family know this is no small feat considering the exquisite, graceful, and thorough fracture of my ankle near the end of ski season last year (“…40 years of skiing, 42nd day skiing that season, yada, yada, yada. Oh the inJUStice of it all!”), outlined previously in these pages:
15 November is early for Colorado skiing most years. This year is no exception. If it wasn’t for man-made snow it wouldn’t be happening. Having 2 main chair lifts (American Eagle and Excelerator) and 2 main runs (Main Vein/Rhapsody and Ptarmigan) open at Copper isn’t a whole lotta skiing. For me and the 4-inch plate on the back of my left ankle, I’m tickled to death to be standing… on skis and sliding on snow.
The big run, Main Vein, was well covered in snow. No rocks, and that’s a good thing. High winds were blowing off the top of the higher Excelerator chair lift and the snowpack was nearly blown to the ground in some places. The rest of the Ptarmigan run was not too bad.
Besides rocks, the other early season danger is PEOPLE. Too many eager skiers not unlike myself itching to get a few turns in as a warmup for later in the season can create a skiing hazard of its own. It wasn’t toooo bad. There were a lot of fast-skiing racers making their way to numerous courses setup on the minimal available terrain. The Copperopolis run was open only to racers and was setup for a snowboard race course.
Main Vein had a slalom ski course setup on the side. The bottom of Main Vein on the left had snow machines furiously blowing on half-pipe construction while directly opposite on the right was a ramp-jump-rail course for trickster snowboarders and skiers, leaving only the middle to navigate back to the chair lift.
Oh-be-joyful. I had a good time anyway. That ‘great to be standing…’ thing. Considering it was about a $429 ski day (the price of my season pass for Copper Mountain/Winter Park, not counting my lunch and gas costs) I kept my sense of humor. Of course my next ski day will cut pass costs to $215 per day, so it does get cheaper as I strive for 42 days or more. I may easily settle for 20 to 30 days of easy skiing this season, ‘just to be standing…’.
In 41 days of skiing last year before that little slip-up I spent $169 on gas, $245 on lunches, and $399 on the pass for an average cost per day of $20.20 and a cost per run for 424 runs in 41 days of $1.95 per run. Ahhh, but if I smoked I probably would have easily spent more for cigarettes. There’s always a rationale, always an excuse…
Some of us are content to walk on sandy beaches and bluffs. (You know who you are.) Others of us strive for greater heights (altitude, baby, altitude). Still, there is that increased risk factor. Hmmm.
It’s great to be standing… on skis… and sliding on snow.