I was worried that this season wouldn’t be the same because of the pandemic and the unorganized reservation system, but I was wrong. The Epic Pass reservation system worked just fine, and I spent the last few months of the season riding my heart out and enjoying hobo life in Utah and the High Rockies in Colorado.
Road trip! Driving through Nevada, Utah, and Colorado
I spent the weekdays practicing yoga (I was so excited that studios opened sooner in Colorado than in Cali!) and weekends were spent snowboarding in Vail, Beaver Creek, Keystone, and Breck.
But it wasn’t always magical snow globe experiences and blue bird days. Colorado is ridiculously cold. I suffered through bone-chilling conditions no matter how much I layered up, constant fog in my goggles, complete white out conditions, unrelenting snot oozing out of my nose (hey, I said it was cold!), chairs closing because of wind, slippery snow and icy road conditions to make for extremely dangerous and scary driving, and yes, THE biggest snowstorm to hit the Colorado area since the 1800s?!
The storm was supposed to be this dramatic ordeal, but according to locals, the weather predictions in Colorado are always hit or miss.
When it finally hit, it dumped three to five feet of snow (I think?), but wasn’t the snowmageddon we all thought it would be. There was plenty of snow in Denver, which was a big deal, but only because it’s Denver, and apparently they normally don’t get that much snow all at once like that.
Overall, it was no more dramatic than a white-out day in Tahoe.
On the day of the storm, we were at Keystone, and sadly, due to the snow, closed North Bowl, which was a bummer because that’s the highlight of the resort! Oh well.
Key takeaways from the High Rocky resorts
Vail exceeded my expectations—it’s incredibly expansive and so beautiful. Wide, open runs that are groomed perfectly. The backside was icy though. Also, parking is expensive. I think we paid over $30 for the day. Going to Vail the second time was a treat. We stayed in a gorgeous hotel in the village with views facing the snow-capped mountain, and it dumped that night!
Beaver Creek was icy the first weekend I went. The mountain is odd in that it’s the flattest from all of the High Rocky resorts. The greens are on top, but they’re mostly cat tracks. If you’re not careful, you’ll be on a green and then suddenly on a double black. But we spent our last day there, and it had snowed the night before. It was perfect and so scenic.
Keystone was white out conditions when I was there. Bowls were closed. I ate it twice trying to go up the T-bar. After accepting defeat, I rode down the iciest trail to get back to the chair. Nearly died.
Breckenridge was the most crowded mountain, with lift lines nearly half an hour long. Peak 6 and 7 are apparently the best, but after waiting in line for 15 minutes, they closed down the chair and everyone rode down to the bottom. Again, we waited for nearly half an hour. At one point I got so fed up, I took a beer break and just chilled out.
Before Colorado, I also did plenty of weekend trips to Northstar and even ran into my crew on a random Saturday. We did a few runs together and had a blast.
We also did a week-long trip to Park City, Utah, where we conquered the slopes and braved the snowy conditions. It was cold and we completely lucked out because it snowed every day we were there.
Next season, I plan on getting an Ikon pass, which will give me access to more mountains like Mammoth and Copper Mountain in Colorado. I’m sad the season is over, but I’m also incredibly grateful that I was able to accomplish 221,000+ feet doing the thing that brings me joy, but most importantly, surrounded with the people I love.
Until next season…