By: Henrik Lampert
October 23, 2012
Two days ago, Arapahoe Basin announced to the world that they would officially open for business on Wednesday, October 17, 2012—today—kicking off the 2012/13 ski season in North America. The announcement put to rest the highly anticipated question, “Who will open first this year—Loveland Ski Area, or Arapahoe Basin?” and simultaneously put a light at the end of the tunnel that is a summer’s worth of misery for many diehard skiers in Colorado.
Last night, I placed my skis, poles and boots at the front door, and laid out my ski clothing on the floor of my bedroom. I thought to myself, “Is this really happening right now?” Just a few days prior, I’d been enjoying the 75 degree weather here in Boulder, CO, hiking, biking… still clinging to the long, wonderful days of summer.
When the alarm sounded at 5:45 a.m. this morning, it still hadn’t fully hit me—”We’re going skiing today?” Even as I hopped into my long underwear and tossed my goggles and gloves into my pack and loaded up the car, it all seemed a bit foreign. Coming off of a dismal 2011/12 winter season, perhaps I’d forgotten what lay in store an hour and 30 minutes up I-70.
It didn’t take the full hour and 30 before I remembered. Near Georgetown, the temperature dropped to a balmy 15 degrees Fahrenheit and we encountered ice on the road. Moments later, we passed a truck jackknifed across the eastbound lanes, forcing a full closure of the interstate, surely spoiling the morning for travelers headed toward Denver. Then, of course, a bit of precipitation froze on the blades of my windshield wipers. With each spray of the icy blue antifreeze, the blades whooshed past without effect, the antifreeze then ironically freezing to the window, making it a bitch to see the car that was now braking, just up ahead. And I don’t intend for you to take pity on me. That’s not the moral of this story. The point is: This is it, baby! That very moment, my mind filled with memories of winter’s great adventures. The “getting there” is always a pain—and I thought to myself, “And it’s always worth it.”
After a slow ascent and descent over Loveland Pass (man, I really need to get some snow tires), we pulled into the parking lot at A-Basin just after 8:00 a.m. Already, a line had formed by the Black Mountain Express—Summit County’s infamous “Nate Dogggg” at the front of the queue, ready to claim Colorado’s first chair for the 17th straight year.