Editor Column: Not one for the slopes
Recently I was stalking — digitally, not really — some staff members at other Colorado newspapers. It was mostly an attempt to put a face to some of the names I routinely see.
A staffer at the Denver Post mentioned in her brief biography that she dislikes being cold and wet and she dislikes falling down. Consequently, she is not a skier, which sounds criminal for a Coloradan to say.
How does one live in the mountains and not like skiing?
It’s a question that people have posed to me numerous times since moving here. Last January was the first and only time I’ve been on the slopes, and I have to say that I agree with the one staff member at The Post, but for some slightly different reasons.
To be clear, I did fall … a lot. I probably spent more time on my back, head, side and other parts, than I did on my feet. I was cold but dry for the most part.
Despite all of this, I had a nice enough time and did not feel most of the pain until the next day.
The problem was the cost. I enjoyed the experience, but I didn’t enjoy it that much. Luckily I knew somebody on the mountain and didn’t have to pay rental fees for skis, boots or poles. All I paid for was the lift ticket.
Even getting a good deal, it still set me back nearly $60.
Recently, I explained to somebody how skiing was too expensive for me — a simple peon of words. The person contended that there are plenty of good deals up at Sunlight in Glenwood Springs, especially if you buy a season pass early on.
“Good deals,” I agreed after she told me the price. “Not good enough,” I said in my head.
There’s very little in life that I can justify spending hundreds of dollars on. Skiing is not one of them.
Others have mentioned how much the enjoy cross-country skiing.
“Skiing minus the cost of a lift-ticket and the terrifying speeds of downhill skiing,” the people say.
However, lacking the experience necessary to feel comfortable about sinking that much money into some cross-country skis, but still wanting to be able to get outside, I recently opted for some snowshoes.
I had never “snowshoed” at the time I made the purchase, but I figured it had to be much easier than skiing. And I was right.
I made it out this past Saturday for a dual first: First time trying out the snowshoes and first time heading out to Rifle Mountain Park.
The snowshoes were, as expected, easy to acclimate to. More importantly, it was a blast, even though we only made it a couple of miles. We hit the ice caves afterward and they did not disappoint.
As we were driving back into town, I couldn’t help but think about the reports of the snowboarder who was pushed off an Aspen chairlift. The original story pointed at the possibility that this was some sort of clash between a skier and a snowboarder. That portrayal was refuted in a later story.
“No information supports a skier-snowboarder rift or a subculture of hate,” Pitkin County Undersheriff Ron Ryan told the Aspen Times.
Regardless, I tried imagining myself on that chairlift. I couldn’t. Not only am I incapable of physically skiing and mentally incapable of justifying such an expense, but also I cannot imagine myself belonging on that chairlift.
When we first parked the car this past Saturday, we got out as a group of people started unloading their snowmobiles off a trailer. We exchanged pleasantries with one woman and went on our way.
With those two thoughts rolling around my head — the Aspen incident and our arrival at the park Saturday — I laughed.
“Screw the skiing,” I said to myself. “This is my scene.”
Ryan Hoffman has nothing personal against skiers or snowboarders. Rather, he just severely lacks coordination and money. You can reach him at 970-685-2103 or at email@example.com.
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Former Rifle Bears standout turned starting running back for Western Colorado University Ty Leyba remembers it like it was yesterday.