Sean Beckwith: A perfect storm of summer action
The best time of the sports calendar is late fall. You have big time college football, the NFL, top tier European club soccer, the start of the NBA and NHL and postseason baseball all happening at once. It’s like going to Denver for a weekend culinary tour — Vietnamese, Mexican, sushi, Indian, pizza, maybe some Chick-fil-A, who knows? There are so many options.
The 2018-19 ski season that rolled into spring and now summer has me wondering: What is the ideal day? Is a powder day still the best possible scenario? One could feasibly ski, float and golf all in one day this coming weekend with Aspen Skiing Co. announcing bonus, bonus, bonus skiing.
There’s not a much better day off than bouncing around from one activity to the next and eventually ending up in some kind of water feature. There’s something about swapping out sandals for golf spikes, bike spandex (if that’s your thing) for fishing waiters or snowboard boots for boat shoes that’s inherently cool. It’s like being a two-sport athlete, just a lot easier.
That said, would you rather do that or bathe in a foot of Champagne powder before a dip in a hot tub with an actual glass of Champagne? It’s a tough ask, but what’s the point of listable clickbait without something to argue about?
So let’s take a look at the contenders:
Boots to beach (Spring/summer snowboarding/skiing plus any kind of water feature) — This is a rarity because river flows are usually too low, cold or both to enjoy during spring skiing. Not this year, though. Taking your boots off is pleasure enough, but slipping your feet into sandals on the way to the pool — and not your couch — is something not many people experience without significant travel time.
Skis and sticks (Skiing and golf) — Early season golf is about getting your swing back but that might be tough if you’re still getting over that shoulder injury you sustained overestimating your abilities while underestimating your closing day consumption. Still, spraying balls around the course after spraying slush around the mountain is always fun.
The Aspen Classic (Powder day plus hot tub) — A nice warm burn after turns is undeniable. Easing into a hot tub with family, friends and a cold beer is as good as it sounds but the activity is lacking. It rivals any day in Aspen on the calendar but feels like a cop-out because a soak is technically leisure.
Golf extravaganza (ball and disc) — This is the kind of day that ends as soon as the summer sun goes down. Requiring at least two if not three applications of sunscreen, the golf extravaganza is a marathon that takes mental toughness and liver longevity. The 37th hole tends to get a little dark, though, and I’m not talking about trying to sneak in twilight swings at the par 3.
White guy special (Golf and fishing) — With as much appeal to white guys as whatever is under the lid of a perfectly temped grill, the white guy special is ideal for people who like a side of sport with their recreation. The similarities of each activity are eerie, as well. Both take technique and precision, but no matter how much you practice, you can still have an outing that makes you feel like an amateur.
Smuggler and a soak (Hike or bike and float) — Also known as a typical summer day, a cool watering hole should be the goal after any hike. Not because it’s refreshing but because there has to be some kind of impetus to wandering around the wilderness.
All right, so now that you’re educated about the entries, here’s my preferred order:
1. Boots to beach (Weather permitting, which is why it wins, this season)
2. The Aspen Classic (Docked top spot because activity implies being active)
3. Golf extravaganza (How else am I supposed to get that elusive golf tan?)
4. Skis and sticks (Going from gondola car to golf cart is fun when it’s warmer than 60)
5. Smuggler and a soak (Hiking to a high-altitude lake also counts)
6. White guy special (I don’t fish)
I’d like to reiterate this was a subjective list. However, if you want to comment, argue or agree, by all means, send those page views skyrocketing. And, to be fair, a day spent doing one of these activities, let alone two or three, is better than a day at the office, inside or anywhere other than the mountains.
Sean Beckwith is a copy editor at The Aspen Times. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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