Skiing 16 inches of powder on Winter Park closing day
What do you imagine when you imagine a day when ski resorts are closed? I’ll tell you what, I would generally expect very little snow, very few trails, and lots of mud and puddles. Winter Park’s closing day, May 21, wasn’t exactly that, and I was there to witness it.
Now, while most people were complaining about the drastic weather change coming to Colorado, I (and depending on the size of the lifts, way more than me) was making plans for a Saturday ski trip. Sure, I may have taken advantage of the 80 degree and often higher weather, the ability to sit outside all day, and the fact that my Teva tan is already hard, but there will be plenty throughout of summer! No, I wasn’t complaining about the snow, I was getting excited.
As I said earlier, it seems like a lot of other people are getting excited about the snow as well. Obviously, looking back, there are only two resorts still open in Colorado (Winter Park and Arapahoe Basin), and those two resorts only have one or two lifts open at this point, so a big drop in snow will inevitably lead to long queues. both stations. But, I’m a dumb person and for some reason thought I could ride the elevator around without a problem, so I was a little disappointed to find out that my dreams wouldn’t come true.
Unfortunately, the lift lines weren’t the only disturbing thing on the mountain on closing day. Despite the cool sixteen inches that fell on the mountain overnight, conditions remained a little goofy. Fun fact, if you cover rocks, dirt and a tiny bit of snow with 16 inches of powder, you end up skiing on rocks, dirt and a tiny bit of snow that you can’t see exactly because of 16 inches of powder! Now to clarify, I’m not complaining. I had an amazing time and was able to take full advantage of the conditions, but I think a lot of people on the mountain seemed to forget it was still EXTREMELY late spring skiing, and therefore pretty much expert terrain only. There was A LOT of people who seemed to be struggling, and unfortunately with the very limited number of trails open, this led to major traffic jams on the mountain.
Now I’m not saying that people with less ski experience shouldn’t have been there…well, I’m saying some people with less skiing experience should not have been there. Specifically, I’m saying that people who believe skiing is all about getting drunk and running down the mountain as fast as you can shouldn’t have been there, and there was a lot the. I’m 22 and feel like I’m spitting out the words of an old man, but when there’s only a few open trails and the terrain is already incredibly rough, the drunken morons really manage to get me upset.
IN ADDITION TO IVRONS, the mountain vibes were amazing. I managed to have a brief chat with a ski patroller who explained to me that the majority of the remaining patrol staff were volunteers so they were just there because they really love the sport. He gave me some tips for finding less affected spots with pockets of powder. Other patrollers dotted the mountain, making sure people weren’t stupid and trying to get off stuff they shouldn’t be getting off, but also acting as fantastic guides for everyone on the mountain. The few elevators that were left were playing deafening music at the base (a ton of Led Zeppelin, so, like, yeah) and just seemed to be enjoying their last day of work.
I will note that it is quite surprising how much you manage to deform after only a month of stopping skiing. I started making the transition from the mountain to the bouldering gyms in early April, and skiing on closing day really showed me that I needed to do more squats. So with a lack of athletic ability, long lift lines and pretty rough conditions I wasn’t able to get a load of boats but got what I needed for the day .
Many thanks to Winter Park Resort for an amazing season. I know it’s your business, and I know you’re just doing your job, but all the staff at this mountain have always managed to make you feel welcome, and Saturday was definitely not different.
Winter Park Resort received a total of 347 inches of snow throughout the season and was open for skiing and snowboarding for 186 days. The summer season begins on June 16, with scenic gondola rides, an alpine slide, mountain biking and more among the various activities available.
Image credit: Nolan Deck