Awesomeness at Arapahoe Basin
October 28, 2009 —
Terrain parks and NASCAR have more in common than I originally thought.
Part of the reason is because I originally thought they had absolutely nothing in common, and I was mostly right: NASCAR happens at high speeds on hot asphalt at places like “The Brickyard,” involves a lot of motorized and mechanized machinery, large support teams, and costs millions to participate. Riding the terrain park happens at low speed on cold snow at places like “High Divide,” involves one human being, one board, a bit of snow, and it’s cheap enough so pretty much anyone can participate.
But they’re both fun to watch: you never know when there’s going to be a wreck.
This Nobel-prize-worthy deep thought occurred to me at the A-Basin terrain park while watching huckmeister after huckmeister hurl his/her soft flesh and brittle bones across the cold, hard bars of reality. The arrival of each nubile young boarder/skier atop the railyard reeked with the promise of devastation. I could almost smell a YouTube moment on its way. Carnage combos scrolled through my mind like a Taco Bell menu: snow to face, face to bar, bar to face, knee to nose, nose to bar … and my own personal favorite, bar to groin. I watched and waited for a dose of shock in rubber-necked horrification.
Yet it never came. Somehow, even this early in the season, each set of baggy pants that braved the railyard came away unscathed. Every teenage fashion nightmare that set forth into the web of metal bars miraculously (and sometimes barely) escaped the sting of injury. No carnage, no YouTube, no problem.
Disappointed, I did what I had come to do: ski down the precious few runs available at this time of year, where I found myself surprisingly non-disappointed. October skiing is good for the brain, helps remind that life above 8,000 feet, as gray as it may be this time of year, always delivers a sunny disposition. I soon overcame my sense of loss at not having witnessed a viral video firsthand.
True, a few runs down the base of A-Basin will hardly have a effect in January, but in comparison to my other annual early-season trips to A-Basin, or Loveland, Copper or Keystone, I have to say this one ranks among the best. The snow conditions were very good … weirdly good, and even in my banged-up, rusty-bladed tele skis I was able to find an edge. The air was clean, the wind blew in the face, and two runs later my legs ached with the age-old reminder that Miller Time is never really too far away. So it wasn’t long before we called it quits and hit the bar (after all, we wouldn’t want to strain a muscle, would we?), and left the mountain with a sense of accomplishment.
Now, to leave you with a similar feeling of accomplishment (for having read this blog all the way to the end), I’ll show you a true YouTube worthy moment:
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