Our Snowboard Buyer, Jenna, took a trip out to A-basin this summer to spend her birthday in the mountains. She got some incredible conditions and beautiful weather.
Once I had decided I wanted to go snowboarding on my 30th birthday, I pretty much had my mind set. It didn’t matter that it was in June, or that I could only get away for a weekend, or even that Abasin was planning on closing that weekend. I had airline miles, a tent for lodging and most importantly a determination to get back on snow that I couldn’t shake. So with that, I convinced my husband, found a cheap flight and we headed to Colorado for a long weekend. After a few awesome days camping at Rocky Mountain National Park, we headed to Abasin and I got my day. Was it worth it? Absolutely.
Coming in from Dillon you drive right by Keystone before hitting Abasin. As we drove through my heart sank, there wasn’t a single ounce of snow to be seen. I’m not sure what exactly I was expecting, but it wasn’t lush green grass at the top that’s for sure. Fortunately for me, just 20 minutes up the road and things were starting to look different. First, it was just snow on the highest peaks, and then to my surprise tucked into the perfect little valley sit’s Abasin, snow from top to bottom. What kind of snow? To be honest, the first run had me worried. I had only taken 1 chair up, eager to get on snow, and was met with sticky, slushy, heavy, mushy snow. My legs, that hadn’t seen this kind of activity since April burned and I couldn’t imagine how bad it would get with the sun beating down. On my next run, I took the main chair back up, but this time boarded a second chair and took it to the top where I was pleasantly surprised to find things fairly firm and fast. I shot down the run with a smile beaming ear to ear. Far better than I had expected, it was like a dream come true. With 3 chairs open there was plenty of variance in terrain, and tons of things to pop off of. Not at all typical of what I was used to finding in late spring. In fact, they were in better shape than most of my resorts back home had been when they closed in April. These conditions held until roughly 2pm and then things got a little soupy. The fun continued, with little streams to ollie, and plenty of people attempting to conquer the slush pool that popped up.
Bluebird spring days are always fun and everyone’s always in a good mood, but in my 14 years of riding, I don’t ever remember a day where I heard that much cheering and yelling from both the hill and the chair. Again, with plenty of terrain to get creative on, a small kicker formed underneath one of the chairs and a soft landing encouraged those hardly dressed to go all out. 5-year-old kids and a grown man dressed as a T-Rex (complete with short arms) got some of the loudest responses, but from anywhere on the hill at any given time you could hear someone cheering as they enjoyed their run. The beach, a lodge midway up the mountain was also a sight with rows of plastic beach chairs, girls sunbathing in bikinis and guys going shirtless. Needless to say, in my snow pants and “shacket” (a waterproof button-up shirt-jacket) I felt a bit overdressed.
Again, fairly normal to see on a warm day but the sheer amount of costumes made the day unique. I counted 2 Mr. Potato Heads , 1 Pineapple, 1 Banana, 1 Penguin, 1 T-rex, multiple superheroes and numerous other things I couldn’t really identify. The more appropriately dressed, the less legitimate the skier/rider. Again, myself in what I deemed to be a pretty appropriate spring riding outfit, totally out of place.
It’s always fun to see what people are riding on days like these. For some, it’s their most beat up gear for fear of hitting rocks or other things that will cause damage. For others though it’s their powder gear. A big fat powder board with plenty of rocker would have been absolutely ideal for a day like that, cutting through the loose snow and helping me stay afloat when things got a bit too soft. However, not knowing what to expect I tried to go the safe route, bringing a twin that would be fun to “screw around on” if all they had was a white ribbon of death. While I had a blast on what I brought, those on something a bit surfier had it right, and something a little wider in the nose would have plowed through the end of day slush and chop a little better. Either way, it was hard to complain no matter what you were on.
When I put a small amount of sunscreen on my face in the parking lot, I figured I was in pretty good shape. I had sunglasses on and most of my body was covered. I figured I would be alright. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky, and the sun seemed to make what snow was left in on the mountains glow. It’s really quite hard to be concerned about anything on a day like that. Unfortunately, it’s also easy to lose track of just how much sun you’ve taken in. Simply put, I fried. Throughout the day I had rolled my sleeves up and burnt myself to a crisp from my wrists to my elbows. Furthermore, the next day I woke up dizzy and nauseous, completely the sun drained and dehydrated. Still, completely worth it.
So yes, I flew out to Colorado only for the weekend and to chase end of season snow simply to meet the goal of snowboarding on my birthday. Would I do it again? Absolutely.