I know every ski bum is thinking: let’s just skip fall and go straight to winter. You might be wondering how to do that – head to Arapahoe Basin in October.
Arapahoe Basin opened this year on October 13th, which just so happened to be a Friday. I wasn’t able to ride on opening day, but was able to ride the following weekend. One of the locals called the two runs that were open the “White Lighting of Death” due to the poor snow coverage. I personally didn’t think the coverage was too bad for early season conditions; receiving two inches of fresh powder the night before wasn’t so bad either.
Now how does an out of towner fit in with the locals at the Basin? For starters you ride a pair of local skis. My set-up for the day was a pair of Icelantic’s. Nothing screams Colorado quite like a pair of these skis. People constantly compliment you on your equipment or question you about what you’re riding while in line, and all you can say is that these things are the bee’s knees.
The second thing you must do is have your trusty puffy down jacket fully equipped with some duct tape patches on it, nothing tells a local “I’ve seen and done some things” quite like a well-used puffy. You should also own a decent GORE-TEX shell. It doesn’t matter how old these shells are as long as you treat them well, they will never go of style.
Also, lose the gap. That’s right Jerry, the gap between your helmet and goggles. The easiest way to get rid of your gaper gap is buy a setup from Smith. Their integration system not only allows for perfect ventilation, it also allows the goggles to sit flush eliminating the gap.
And last but not least, after riding for a few hours I had to perform my final task of fitting in. Drinking Bloody Mary’s at the 6th Alley Bar. Arapahoe Basin is well known for their Bloody Mary. Generally I wouldn’t consider a Bloody Mary and après drink, but for some reason – they do – so, when in Rome!