November 5, 2012

You Just Moved Here: 5 Tips for Living in Our Ski Town

Will Dujardin & Tristan Burch

Photo: Trent BonaWelcome to the coolest place in Colorado.  The mountains are incredible.  The weather is amazing.  The town rocks.  Here are a few guidelines to living and riding here.


And then this happens. Skier: Will Dujardin. Photo: Devon Balet.

1. You don’t always have to talk about skiing and riding. I’m glad you had an epic day. If today’s powder made for the best day of your life, chances are, I got mine too. Furthermore, you’re not going to attract a member of the opposite sex by telling them how rad you got, because they’ll probably hear the same thing from five other guys in the bar. Thanks, bro.

2. Respect the mountains. Wear a helmet. If you don’t realize this already, you probably don’t have much up there to protect anyway. A spine protector, hip pads, and knee pads help too. If you have to stop long enough to think about the cliff you’re about to send, popping in a mouth guard isn’t a bad idea either. Don’t be afraid to back down. You’ll get another chance.

3. Fear the backcountry. This is Colorado. The snowpack is not stable. We have double the amount of avalanche deaths than any other state in the lower forty-eight. Use your brain. No turn, line, or faceshot is worth dying for. And the fact that the backcountry gets twice as much snow as the resort does not justify sending whatever you want. If you need Search and Rescue to come drag you out of the backcountry, you are going to be in debt for a long time. There is no substitute for experience. Go with someone who knows, and pay them accordingly. If someone takes you touring, buy them some beer. If they take you snowmobile skiing, pay for their gas. Chances are you’ll be invited back.

4. Ski Patrol deserves your appreciation. They are not just whistle blowers trying to take your pass for skiing too fast. While you are sleeping off your hangover and dreaming of fresh pow, they are out there by 6 AM, making those dreamy lines safe for you. And don’t duck ropes. The rope is there for good reason. If you do, you can kiss that $1,200 pass goodbye. Instead of whining about how they haven’t opened Third Bowl yet, let them know that you appreciate the work that they’re underpaid for despite the fact they risk their lives every day for us.

5. Get involved in the town. Go to trivia. Join a hockey team. Stay for summer. If you base your existence here just off riding, you are not enjoying the people, places, and experiences that make this place so unique. Diversify your life. Bad snow years happen (we just had one of the worst ever). When they do, life can still be awesome. Find a job and work hard at it so the time spent here is not spent wasted.  Do as many things as you can.  Be flexible.  A lot of people like to whine about snow, work, and drama. But the fact remains, if you are fortunate enough to live here, you’re lucky enough.

Vinotok 2012. Photo: Trent Bona

A lot of this article has to do with respect for your surroundings. I’m not telling you to tip toe around and show reverence for everyone and everything. Definitely be bold and take chances (but not with driving, the average cost of a DUI in Colorado is somewhere around $10,000). Opportunities will present themselves everywhere. Make sure you take advantage of them. Just don’t forget to use your brain.

Read our female version of the 5 tips written by the Ski Bumette.

About the Author

1. Ed Dujardin
After moving out west for college, Ed took summer school so he could spend winters in Crested Butte. These days, he coaches the Western State Colorado University Freeride Team, and spends as much time as he can fishing the incredible rivers of the area.