On the hill: Feeling like a turkey
ASPEN – They ought to hand out pins on opening day for brain-dead locals who wait until the last minute to pick up their season pass – especially when opening day is a powder day, as it was Thursday.
But there were no souvenirs for the stooges like me (and, by the way, my counterpart editor at Aspen’s competing daily newspaper) who ended up standing in line for 45 minutes to pick up a pass that we could have procured anytime in the last month or so. There was one nice Aspen Skiing Co. employee behind the counter who, recognizing that the line was long and none of the customers wanted to be there, had placed a batch of homemade brownies on the counter.
The brownies didn’t make up for the long wait, but they certainly helped. And the mood in the Gondola Plaza ticket office was pretty mellow, considering that the fluff was boot-deep up on the mountain. Maybe we all just felt ashamed.
Of course, it’s hard to get really bent out of shape when you’re in Aspen, Colo., on opening day, the sun is out and the snow is plentiful – even if you wasted the better part of an hour standing in line. At Vail or Breck, you would have wasted the same amount of time at the chairlift anyway, right?
Fortunately, up on the mountain the skiing was great. Even at midday, there was still soft snow all over the place, and everybody was having a great time. It seemed too good to be true that Walsh’s and Hyrups were open on the first day of the year, as were both sides of Bell and the Glades as well. I didn’t even hit a single rock.
I only had two hours to spend before returning to work, and after the long wait at the ticket office it ended up being more like an hour on the hill. But even that was enough to place a stupid grin on my face and make me feel like the luckiest man alive.
You could say I started my season on the wrong foot there in the ticket office, but an hour later, all was right with the world.
It was a happy Thanksgiving.
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