6 ways to make the most of opening day!

Nov. 21, 2017

By Janet Lawrence

In the Rockies, we open early. It’s almost Thanksgiving and we’re ready to slide.

When I lived in the northeast and would hear that Colorado Mountains were opening in mid-November, it just felt wrong, like Christmas decorations up before I’d polished off my Halloween candy. (There’s a big chance there was a pinch of jealousy in there). Are we really ready or pushing the season just because we’re ski junkies?

The answer is, WE’RE READY!

Here are some thoughts to get psyched and ready for the big day.

1. Day’s agenda

Get up early enough to hit those first flakes, stand up top and soak it in, you are HOME! Take a few easy runs to get your season off to a solid start, have a great lunch in the sun (or snow… we skiers celebrate either). Celebrate your first successful day on the hill!

2. Peace of mind and Value?

Relax these first few days. A half day on the first day can be plenty. We all need time to get our legs under us. I have friends back east who used to buy their lift tickets, then spend the day calculating the cost of each run as they skied. They prided themselves on skiing enough runs to get their cost down to where the mountain almost needed to pay them to ski there. Now that we all have access to the Epic Pass that worry is gone! Every day is already a great value we can count our days skiing, not our minutes. It’s ok to take it easy the first days we have all season yet to go! Besides, I can’t imagine doing that much math and skiing at the same time.

3. Your Gear

I haven’t missed a year yet. One evening every October, I find myself standing in my living room like the ski geek that I am, with all my gear on, including goggles, beyond ready to go! As much as I could ski right through to the kitchen right then and there, it is a good idea to check my gear first.

Skis and bindings – If you haven’t already, for your own safety and your best skiing, drop your skis off at the shop. Have them check your bindings and give your skis a great tune to get you started. Bindings that release when you need them are essential and good edges will ensure more control no matter what the conditions are. It is well worth the trip to get this errand done.

4. Fitness

If you haven’t started working out a bit, don’t worry it is NEVER too late to start. Some strength training, stretching, and aerobic work outs will all help and even a little stretching the morning of will make that first day a ton easier.

If you have started, great! You’ll be safer and happier with your day for sure. But don’t be dismayed if you’re still not in the ski shape you were on the last day of last season. I ride a bike all summer and still, there is just nothing exactly like skiing.

I’m always feeling the fronts of my boots the whole night after our first day, and have to admit to that pull in my calves for a couple days afterward. We all should take it a little easy the first day out. We can’t help but be a little rusty and our ski shape and reactions will come back with more days on the hill.

5. Safety

While we’re all ready to jump right in, it is vital that we take a good look at each trail, the other skiers and riders, the snow type and the terrain, before taking off. Remember too, that our Ski Patrol loves to open trails for us, so if they have kept one closed it is always for a good reason. We need to heed their postings and stay out of closed areas. We have a wonderfully long season ahead of us so we’ll want to enjoy every little bit of it!

6. Party!

The first day, first chair, first run- IT IS AN EVENT! The first day is an eruption of joy everywhere; pounding music, fun freebies, free snacks and the die-hard skiers and riders who started waiting in line for the first chair since the first light of day! It is a party to be sure!! The anticipation of those first wonderful turns is enough by itself. Personally I just can’t wait even to get up top, smell that air and look over the ridge and see our Back Bowls and Blue Sky. Mid November is perfect! Let’s go!!

Your Peeps! What a day to be with people just like you, who cannot wait to get up there, breathe it in and take those first lefts and rights. Grab your family or your best sliding buddies. It doesn’t get better than this!

So yes, it is time AND WE ARE READY!! The 2017-2018 Ski Season is here! Let’s get this party started! Can’t wait to see you Opening Day!

Author: Janet Lawrence, of the Vail Ski and Snowboard School. Janet grew up skiing in Upstate New York and came to Vail in 1997. She has been working in the Vail Ski and Snowboard School since, first as an instructor then a Trainer and a  Supervisor in the Golden Peak Children’s School. In the off- season she sails and bikes and works with children at an outdoor day camp.