It had to end some time and this year “some time” was on Sunday, June 12th. That’s right, my ski bum season is finally over. It was a good run – starting and finishing at A-Basin, which has the longest running opening ski time than anyone else. This year it went from opening day on October 29th through closing day on June 12th meaning there were a possible 228 ski days.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t ski them all no matter how hard I tried. I did however manage 107 ski days + 21 more days where I skied with the kids for a whopping total of 128 days on the mountain.
Now, those of you who know me well enough realize that I love spreadsheets and I kept track of all my 128 exploits on the mountain. So, here is the geekiest way I could possibly share my ski year recap with you.
But, to prove to you it wasn’t just about the numbers here are my top memories from the 2015 – 2016 ski season.
- Opening Days at A-Basin, Keystone & Breck – the energy and excitement is something you just have to experience for yourself. A-Basin started it off in October. Keystone a couple weeks later, which was exciting because this was the mountain I learned to ski on as a kid. Breck is, of course, the home mountain was finally open with a DJ bumping music during the long lift lines on Peak 8.
- First Big Powder Day – 13 days into the ski season and we got our first big storm of the year. So, I got up early and was the first few into Keystone’s Outback and first one down a couple of the runs. My legs were burning, I was freezing, but smiling from ear to ear!
- 30k vertical feet at Keystone – I was out by myself so decided to explore all of the mountains that Keystone had on a perfect snow and weather day. Ended up with over 30,000 vertical feet in one day.
- Breck 6 Chair Opening – The chairlift named 6 Chair in Breck gives access to some of the best terrain in the resort I was about 20th person up the chair and had a few good runs with untouched powder from top to bottom.
- First Ski Onesie Day – Just after Christmas (when we all got our retro ski onesies) we had to try them out on the slopes. Only issue was when I fell into a deep ditch full of powder and took me 20 minutes to climb out in non-breathable materials.
- Teaching Zoe and Alex to ski – Throughout the ski season, seeing Zoe and Alex get better and better was probably the most fun I had on skis all year. We started them at the top of Keystone where they had a magic carpet learning area. They quickly progressed to using straps and going down the bigger hills. By the end of the year they were ripping it up in Spooky Forest runs, going in deep powder (at least for them up to their knees) and genuinely having fun on the mountain.
- Timing on Powder Days – Locals understand that you need to be at the right place, at right time to get fresh tracks in the resort. After a foot of new snow, I was one of the first few who were coming up T-Bar and got fresh tracks in North Bowl. Pure heaven!
- First backcountry ski day up Baldy – Bald Mountain (aka Baldy) is a mountain opposite the valley from Breck ski resort and a popular place to do backcountry skiing. With my new buddy, Brad, I met in Avalanche Safety class, I was able to summit what is called “the nipple”, which is a peak in middle of mountain. Can’t beat the views from up there!
- Crazy Ivan 2 – There is a list I came across that named the steepest runs in Colorado that are in-bounds of resorts. One of them is in Breck called Crazy Ivan 2. It’s not even on the trail map, which made it even cooler to tackle. It was the steepest run of my life so far, but so much fun!
- Mid-March Powder – There was a series of storms that brought nearly 3 FEET of snow in only a couple days. Long time locals said it may have been the best powder in nearly 20 years. I enjoyed it as much as my legs would let me.
- Day 100 – On Saturday, April 23rd I hit my goal of skiing 100 days in a season (not including kid days). I debated how to celebrate, but in the end settled on a family day with our onesies on to make it official and fun. Of course, had to have wings and beers at T-Bar too.
- The East Wall – A-Basin resort is called “The Legend” and it’s reputation is for extreme terrain mostly thanks to what is called the East Wall. It is a series of hike up only terrain that includes chutes, cliffs and rock bands – oh and is about as steep as a wall, hence the name. I’d always wanted to give it a shot so finally did late in the season. I had perfect conditions for hiking up and skiing down Willy’s Staircase. Now I’m addicted and will definitely be doing it some more.
- Closing Day at A-Basin – I had almost given up on going to closing day at A-Basin, but because of late spring storms they had a bonus weekend. Kelly’s Aunt Pam wanted to also get some skiing in at “The Legend” so I took advantage. Skiing was surprisingly pretty good with small crowd. It felt good to get just a few more runs in.
Well, there you have it. My ski bum season is over. I’ll be spending the next few months dreaming of snow days. Only 4 months until next ski season!!!