Today was opening day at Breckenridge, the one mountain on the Epic Local Pass that I have never visited before in my totaled nineteen years of living in Colorado.
Kind of like all the other ski areas Ethan and I have visited over the past few weeks, we figured there wouldn’t be much open, but it was worth checking out just the same. After all, we already have a pass. We wouldn’t be wasting money buying a ticket.
We might have wound up wasting money on parking, however. We finally arrived at the mountain only to discover that the only open skier parking lots were paid lots. Not only did I not have any cash, I also didn’t see the need to pay $10 for a full day when I would only be skiing for a few hours. In fact, I didn’t see the need to pay $10, period.
So I circled the block and duly noted the 3-hour parking limits. I tried the small strip mall across the street from the lot and noted the warnings that cars not belonging to shoppers would be towed. I also made note of the surveillance cameras they had to enforce the notion that they were Not Fucking Around.
Fortunately, there was a grocery store just beyond the strip mall, and the lot was blissfully surveillance-camera free. If you or your loved ones ever get mugged for your groceries at the Breckenridge City Market, it is not my fault.
Ethan and I put on our foot-shaped bowling balls–er, ski boots, grabbed our skis, and huffed and puffed our way to the gondola. Still, walking the extra two minutes was, we agreed, totally worth the ten smackers we’d saved.
We boarded the gondola and faced a ride so long and with so many stops for mid-point loading and unloading that I wondered if we’d wandered onto a Rocky Mountain set of No Exit, or perhaps Waiting for Godot.
I started grousing as we picked our way past boozing snow bunnies and bros on beer breaks just to get to the bathroom. “You know, Loveland doesn’t charge you for parking. They also don’t make you walk way too far–and any distance is too far in ski boots–through shops you can’t afford anyway just to get to the lift like Keystone does!”
Ethan nodded in agreement and ran the best he could in ski boots to reach the bathroom. I posted my plea for Loveland to hire me as their new PR person on Facebook with this, in my humble opinion, catchy motto: “Loveland: For when you just want to fucking ski.” Also apparently for when you just want to fucking split infinitives.
We got in five runs in a total of two and a half hours. No, the open runs were not that long nor that challenging, but the lift lines sure were. This, however, was not the fault of Breckenridge.
November is universally recognized as ski season in this state, and while people might have been wary of going to A Basin’s or Loveland’s opening days for fear of early-season rocks, Breck’s solid choice for an opening day drew expectedly large crowds, even for a Friday.
The discouragingly long lines did persuade us to hang up our skis after reaching our bare-minimum for calling a ski day such, however. We went in to the cafeteria to grab a snack and some drinks.
I mused that the chili sounded good. Ethan looked at the menu.
“Better be, at $9.75 a bowl.”
“Seriously?! I think we get a discount with our passes, but still!”
We passed on the chili and decided to get the moderately less price-gouged cheese fries. I got a drink and went up to the counter to pay.
“Just those?” the cashier asked. I nodded and took out my Epic pass.
“And I have this,” I proudly proclaimed.
She looked at it, puzzled. “So…you already have a Resort Charge on there?”
“A what? No. Does this get me any discounts?”
She shook her head and rang up the order. Eight-plus dollars for some cheese fries and a hot chocolate.
“No discount,” I groused to Ethan over what really should have been the best damn cheese fries of my life. “The Super-Pass Plus? You get discounts at Copper, Winter Park, AND Steamboat!”
“Yeah, same with Loveland.”
“This is bullshit,” I further declared. “I know all ski areas fuck you up the ass somewhat on food prices. But at least Loveland has the decency to use lube!”
He nodded in agreement. He also nodded in agreement when I asked if I could pitch that to them as another motto. I get the feeling he’d stopped listening by that point.
We finished our obviously gourmet snack and took the endless gondola back down to the parking lot. And even though my feet hurt in new and fascinating ways from my extra-long walk back to the grocery store, I still maintain that the saved ten bucks was totally worthwhile.
I’ll still make a profit even after I get the Krazy Glue to cement my pinky toes back on.