Five Things to Ignore in the Early Season

Everybody take a deep breath

Christmas week: To be avoided.

Opening Day
It used to be that Loveland and A-Basin would waste a bunch of money blowing snow in September so their season pass holders could enjoy two extra months of awful skiing on a landing strip of death, and whoever opened a day ahead of the other was featured on the Today Show. Now, every Minnesotan hill with a 100-foot beginner slope in the shade is trying to claim opening day. Don’t believe the hype. The season doesn’t begin until you can ski uninterrupted until the spring. There will be plenty of time to bitch and moan that it isn’t a pow day even if you don’t start skiing until Thanksgiving.

Interactive Trail Maps
Nothing gets my Andy Rooney going quite like these over-engineered and painfully omnipresent inventions. Apparently there are people who think displaying the black diamonds on the same trail map as the chairlifts and the terrain parks is information overload. For the rest of us who have the mental capacity to ingest all the trail and lift information at the same time, interactive trail maps prevent us from actually understanding the layout of any given mountain, as we play reverse whack-a-mole trying to pull up every individual feature of the mountain until we have the exact same image and information Jim Niehues painted in his turtleneck in the ‘80s.

Christmas Week Skiing
Christmas week is the worst time of the year to do anything other than get drunk with friends and family and return presents you didn’t like. Anything else you’d like to do is as expensive and inconvenient as it comes. Even though it’s everyone’s favorite time of year and likely their only week off, Christmas week skiing means paying full bore for absolutely everything so you can wait in lift lines for hours while your fresh ski feet crumble and bunion in your boots, then savoring the hot pain of the skin ripping as you descend the scratched, beaten remains of a snowpack pizza’ed to shit by every tourist from every metropolitan area on Earth.

Tuning Your Edges
Bro, I know you’re pumped, but you got to chill. Spending the entire night before your first day on the hill tearing metal off the side of the hill is only going to help you catch an edge on your second run when your first-day legs handle your stoked full-speed GS turns like Gumby on Zanex. Getting injured before New Year’s is totally am, bro.

The Backcountry
Coastal snowpacks are the darling of the early season because they set up quick, deep, and early. Unfortunately, most other places are screwed until cold weather and snowfall are more consistent. Nothing spells trouble like heading out the gates in Colorado when it’s dumped a foot and a half in early December even though it hasn’t snowed since October and was sunny and clear for six weeks.

Add a comment

  • weberwithoneb

    Don’t miss Christmas Day morning though. Nobody out.

  • skiclimber

    The first read I actually enjoyed and agreed with in a long time from you guys, Keep it up, I want more of this! For years I have been trying to tell it like it is, Finally some one with a voice said it. :-)

  • Dave Hester

    Wow Powder Mag, what a bunch of downers. Maybe if your office wasn’t on the beach in Cali, you’d be a little more excited for ski season. Surf’s up!

  • Dave Hester

    Wow Powder Mag, what a bunch of downers. Maybe if your office wasn’t on the beach in Cali, you’d be a little more excited for ski season. Surf’s up brah!

  • B.E. Freekie

    I’d have to agree with the “downer” sentiment. Opening day at A-basin is a celebration of skiing. Nobody is there for the “amazing” snow, but everyone is there for the amazing atmosphere. If Mr. Dunfee can’t understand that, then I’d say he needs to get out of the office more.

  • Chim Richolds

    Powder Magazine: Because skiing isn’t about having fun.

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