Because the backcountry is a little scary right now with incredibly sketchy avalanche conditions, I, along with my good friends Jill and Jason, headed up to Arapahoe Basin to ski some of the best inbounds conditions of the season, maybe even of the last couple of seasons. We knew it would be good, but we honestly had no idea it would be that good.
The three of us being avid backcountry skiers, who truly enjoy working hard for our turns, showed up early (well before the lifts opened) and quickly set off climbing toward the Continental Divide. I know I speak for the three of us when I say that despite the hard work, there is something centering to the soul about being in the mountains as the sun comes up, being with the people you care most about and detaching from all the stimuli that tends to clutter our everyday lives. And when you can climb with your favourite people for long periods of time and never have to say a word to say everything that needs to be said, you know you’re in exactly the right place, doing exactly the right thing with exactly the right people.
After initially skinning up and skiing back down, we quickly decided the day’s conditions were just too good to make it a one and done type day so we jettisoned our packs back at my truck and hopped on a lift to whisk us to the highest point of the resort. If you’ve never skied The Basin, it’s pretty close to magical to stand on Lenawee Ridge, right on the Continental Divide at over 12,400-feet and look around at 360-degrees of awesomeness. To be there when the sun comes up, even better.
The Basin is not a Vail, Aspen or Telluride, though I honestly find it far superior. There are no fancy restaurants, no world class hotels and certainly no fur coat-clad tourists. What they do have though is incredible terrain, good food at a fair price in a cozy and fun little lodge and sun-loving locals who love to ski and go there to…well…ski. Because people genuinely love the funkiness, simplicity and overall groovy vibe of The Basin, they tend to host a battalion of fervent loyalist, like me.
Anyhow, as quickly as the lift would get us there, Jill and I were skiing Montezuma Bowl off the back side of the resort, a mind blowing place known for steep lines and deep snow! As usual, the stoke was high and people’s exuberant “yee-haws!” were echoing around the place as they flew off steep drops and plowed through deep powder stashes! Taking note of all this while riding the lift back to the ridge, Jill just blurted out, “I just love it when everyone around me is happy”. Yeah, me too, and happy they (we) were.
I learned a long time ago that simple most always means more. If I just take time to look past the hype and frills (promised or otherwise) to see what the true heart of something is, it will tell me everything I need to know. That applies to ski resorts, jobs, cars, houses, people and life itself.
I’m so fortunate to know what I love and have a few good friends around me to share the same stoke.
Keep it simple, keep it fun.