Opinion: Join Powderhorn’s business league race series
WHY WE LIVE HERE
Free Press Opinion Columnist
I was lucky enough to spend high school in a small town called West Point in upstate New York that had its own ski hill. It had two runs and one lift and I skied every day after school with my brother and most of my friends. It was paradise.
Skiing wasn’t a luxury sport in that small town. A season pass was $100 and everybody just traded gear at the local ski swap. My first skis were a set of Olins that were way too long for me at 188cm., but hard to pass up for $75 with the rear-entry boots. Everybody cobbled together their gear and we spent our afternoons and weekends on the hill. It was OK to leave your gear all over the lodge and we did.
Our parents dropped us off as soon as the lift opened and picked us up when it got dark. It was good, clean fun free from our parents and the mall. The worst thing that could happen was getting your pass pulled for the day for going too fast or being reckless. There was no such thing as powder on our hill, but we didn’t now what we were missing.
We skied on ice. There was good, rough ice that you could carve through and clear, smooth ice that you didn’t stand a chance against no matter how sharp you filed your edges.
For two years I skied on my high-school ski team. I learned about form and how to turn above the gate. I wasn’t any good, but it was a fun and welcomed break from fall cross country and spring track where I was competitive. In college, I managed to get away to Vermont or upstate New York with friends for a ski weekend here and there.
I skied on that same set of skis for eight years and I don’t recall ever wishing I had a newer pair. They got the job done. I didn’t ski again for a few years as I moved around the southeast and was incredibly offended on my first ski trip to Beaver Creek back in 2002 when the rental office gave me 153’s. I hadn’t followed the evolution of shaped skis, but quickly became a believer when I was suddenly a better skier than I had been 10 years prior. All that good, light snow was a delightful surprise as well on my first ski trip out west.
Fourteen years later, I’m lucky enough to live out here and to have landed back in a small town with a great ski area where my kids are becoming better skiers than I will ever be. Powderhorn Mountain Resort has the same locals-only vibe that I grew up with back east, although it’s bigger and has significantly better snow. You can stow your bag in one of the cubbies and not worry about anybody taking it. There are all kinds of deals and packages as well as multiple ski swaps, so you can swing a season without breaking the bank. There are fun activities every weekend, too, whether it’s the Town Race Series or a band on the deck. It’s also great to follow the Powderhorn Facebook page to find out what’s coming up.
The lifts are probably just as slow as the one I grew up with, but that’s about the only complaint I can summon. It’s fun to escape to one of the big resorts within a few hours of the valley, but it’s always nice to come back to our home turf where the crowds are nicer, everybody knows your name, and the burgers aren’t $19. I can’t think of too many things that are better than sipping a Dirty Hippie on the Powderhorn deck after a day of chasing your kids down the slopes on a bluebird day.
Last year, I saw a poster for the Home Loan Business League Ski & Snowboard Race Series at Powderhorn. I hadn’t skied a course in about 20 years, but that didn’t stop me from emailing a few people to find out how to get on one of those teams. Tom Benton, team captain for Wells Fargo, was nice enough to let me come ski with “The Drivers” and we had a ball. There were also teams from Home Loan Bank, Colorado Mesa University, the Lions Club, Community Hospital, and Hilltop. Races were every other Friday afternoon, followed by beer, a little trash talking, and some great camaraderie in the lodge. It was just plain fun with a little healthy competition thrown in. The networking was pretty good, too.
Unfortunately, there just weren’t that many women skiers in the league although there were plenty on the mountain. So this year, which marks the third season of the league, I put together an all-women’s shred team — known as the West Slope Betties — for the business league under West Slope Events. We are a diverse group of skiers, snowboarders, and even have a tele skier or two ranging in age from mid 20s to mid 50s. We have a few ringers that I feel pretty good about, but mostly we’re just a fun group of ladies looking to spend an afternoon on the mountain together.
I know there are a lot of businesses out there chock full of skiers and snowboarders, and I encourage them to put together a team and join us. I don’t think they have a chance of beating the Betties, but at least they’ll have fun trying. Yes, boys, the gauntlet has been thrown.
It’s why we live here.
Robin Brown, owner of West Slope Events, hopes to see you on the mountain soon. Share with her your thoughts and feedback at email@example.com. For more information on the business league, go to http://www.powderhorn.com/business-league.
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