On the I-70 slog | AspenTimes.com

On the I-70 slog

Steve Benson

There’s nothing quite like piling into a car with half a dozen other people – like clowns in a circus act – after skiing all day. Especially if it’s a Saturday or Sunday afternoon and you’re driving from, say, Arapahoe Basin to Boulder with a million other yahoos on Interstate 70.This is how I spent the better part of four (OK five) years in college – when I wasn’t studying, of course. I was reminded of this after revisiting Boulder earlier this week. Midweek trips, when the Interstate wasn’t jammed with weekend warriors, were easy and swift. But the weekends were just silly. It wasn’t too bad when I first arrived in the mid-1990s, but as the Front Range grew, the drive became increasingly insane. There were two options to beat the crowds in the morning: get up super early or sleep in and drive late. The early (still not light outside) option didn’t work too well because it’s just not safe to drive under the influence. And if you went late, you felt really pathetic. So we always wound up slamming into a wall of traffic right after that steep downhill curve before Idaho Springs. By the time we got to A-Basin, whatever freshies may have existed were long gone. But the skiing was still good, or so we thought. Mainly we were all just ecstatic to be in Colorado. There could have been a 6-inch base and we still would’ve been yelping with joy. Then came the next decision: drive home early to beat the crowds or have a few beers, hang out on the “beach” in the parking lot, and drive home late. So of course it was always getting dark by the time we left. But it still didn’t matter, because all the other day-trippers in Summit County were doing the same thing. I don’t know how we did it all those weekends – these days, I get frustrated if I have to yield to a car at a stop sign while biking to work, which is a demanding six-block commute. Regardless, they were some of the best days of my life.

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