Princess: Springing into summer
Well, it looks as though spring decided to show up all of a sudden, like that guy who is the life of the party but always gets there late so everyone has to stand around awkwardly with their plastic cups of beer and do their best until he arrives.
I do find it amusing that everyone freaks out when it snows in May because it snows in May every year and everyone always freaks out. We don’t have spring in the high country, people. It goes pretty much from winter straight into summer, and considering we were skiing on Memorial Day, that much we know is true.
You gotta hand it to Skico for firing up Chair 3 and letting the locals have their one last hurrah on the slopes, at least ones with lift access. We drove over Independence Pass on Sunday and could see the whole area had been shredded, people in town claiming it’s the best skiing up there they’ve seen in years. There’s nothing that says “Colorado living” like a couple of guys casually walking back to their cars in a pass-summit parking lot with skis slung over their shoulders doing the ol’ heel-toe boot clomp at the end of May. That is just so cool, and I’m sure all the idiots from other states who drove in front of us going a maddening 10 miles per hour got a real kick out of that.
Speaking of Independence Pass, we also happened to notice a stand of trees that were wrapped in decorative yarn. A friend of mine took a photo of it and posted it on Facebook with the requisite maddening hashtag description wherein we no longer use punctuation or spaces between words, and it drives me absolutely nuts. Hers said something like “Yarn bombs on #independencepass #yarn #aspens #fuzzytreesweaters.”
Anyhoo, because I can’t resist my voyeuristic and a narcissistic urges, I responded to her post and said, “What the hell is that?” She responded with a link to a Wikipedia entry about yarn bombing that says, “Yarn bombing was initially almost exclusively about reclaiming and personalizing sterile or cold public places.”
I get that, but when you’re talking about a pristine mountain environment, the trees don’t need to be donned in ugly sweaters (though I’ll admit the pattern was coolly reminiscent of a Missoni textile), and the views don’t need to be tainted with some urbanite’s idea of living art. The only way to personalize wilderness is to go and experience it in a personal way — #knittingisanindoorativity.
So we got back from the Front Range in time to take our winter toys out one last time, and it was just another one of those #onlyinaspen things where you’re kicking back in your Adirondack chair on the summit of Ajax, drinking a beer in the sun and thinking how you are lucky enough to live in the coolest ski town on the goddamn planet.
I think Ryan and I just assumed it was going to be a “one and done” kind of ski day, a novelty, really, of just being able to say, “I skied on Memorial Day, sucka.”
Not when you go skiing with the Bobs.
The Bobs are an old-timer ski gang comprised of guys who moved here in the ’70s, who know the mountain like I know this keyboard, who still carry on like ski bums in their first season of total stoke, armed with their weed and their smiles and their stories and their hardened belief that there is no such thing as a bad day on the hill.
“Let’s do Moonshine to Catapult and then down over to Lazy Mary Mine,” one said to the other.
“Should we hit up Cowboy Junction on the way, maybe stop in the woods and burn one?”
Ryan and I just kind of looked at each other and shrugged, not only because these guys are pushing 60 and cooler than we are, but because we have no idea where any of these runs are.
We ended up doing like 20 runs until our legs were burning and our cheeks were sunburned, and I’m not even kidding when I say I’m pretty sure we never repeated our line exactly. The other big surprise was that there were people ripping out there that day like I’ve never seen. We watched one posse of guys huck this one jump over exposed dirt that didn’t look like much but still they managed to pull ironcross back flips and slow, delayed front flips one after the other. They skied over the dirt at speeds that said they were too young to care about getting hurt. It was awesome.
There were girls in bikinis and Daisy Dukes who looked hot as hell, and I was only jealous that I’m no longer in good-enough shape to pull something like that off, though I’m not sure I ever was — not really. They all had belly-button rings and long hair in loose braids or side ponytails under baseball caps worn backward, which is the coolest look ever because it says “effortlessly sexy” in the way only a mountain girl can.
Just when I was feeling bad about not being in better bikini shape, we pulled up to our house, where dozens of enormous lilac bushes are in full bloom.
I remember that when we bought the house, the previous owner who had lived there for 40 years kept going on about her lilacs, but we were in too much of a drought for me to be able to see what in the world she was talking about.
But this year I saw everything I would ever need to see in those explosive purple flowers. They’re so tiny and delicate individually, but together they become something spectacular.
When spring is that good, a few days is all you really need.
Bring it on, summer.
The Princess wishes her thumbs were a little greener. Email your love to firstname.lastname@example.org.