What does Opening Day mean to you? To me, Opening Day means going back to my comfortable happy place. While every day on the mountain brings new challenges, with varying snow conditions and weather, it is also filled with five-minute chairlift conversations with strangers, laughing with friends between powder turns, exciting events and an infinite number of new memories.
The Opening Day tradition is one to be coveted. While it has been a long time since snow conditions warranted an epic Opening Day, Opening Day is about so much more than snow conditions.
It is about reconnecting with friends, the mountains, the sport of skiing and snowboarding and the camaraderie that goes along with it all.
In previous years, I have done both. Opening Day traditions and I have waited. I waited to get on snow for some unknown reason. I waited for an epic day, a sunny day or a day to ski with friends. But in the end, the tradition of Opening Day always wins, whether I am with a carload of friends making the road trip or adventuring by myself. Being at a mountain on their first day of operations is the best way to kick-start ski season and a winter full of ski days. The sooner you get your skis on, the better your winter will be.
And if you are lucky enough for your Opening Day to be an epic snow day, all the better. But the only way you will find out is getting up there for opening day.
Cheers to Opening Day!
Opening this week:
Lookout Pass - Friday, Nov. 18th
Schweitzer Mountain Resort — Saturday, Nov. 19th
Checkout their websites for details on operating schedules and pricing.
The signs of winter start earlier for skiers and boarders than for most. When we walk in to the hardware store in September, we notice the outside BBQ displays have been discreetly replaced with snowblowers. We awake on a crisp fall morning with a smile on our face as we have just had our first epic ski dream of the season. We feel our heart skip a beat when the "Do Not Pass Snowplow on Right" signs appear on area highways sometime in October. And we love the first visible snow line when it arrives in early November.
The true sign for everyone, whether you are a skier or not, is the first morning you wake up to a blanket of snow in Spokane. This happened on Saturday. For skiers and boarders, this increases our stoke level, but in the end we still have to wait. We wait for more snow to fall in the mountains. The undeniable sign that our winter is here is when local ski areas announce their opening dates. We all hope for sometime around Thanksgiving and occasionally we are lucky enough to have a pre-Thanksigiving opening. And thanks to Lookout Pass, it is happening for us this year.
On Friday, Nov. 18th, at 9am, ski season in the Inland Northwest will commence. And this shall be Day 1 in an effort to break an illusive 100 ski days in one season. Thank you, Lookout Pass, for the jump-start to ski season. See you Friday!
We could be skiing in two weeks or less. Scheduled opening days are a tough one, since it is all based on snowfall. There are a lot of 'what-ifs,' but if the current forecast is anywhere close to true, an opening day in two weeks is feasible.
The countdown continues. Opening day is the start of a season that consumes every moment of my day. So, to be better prepared for the next four months of my life, here is an excerpt from my winter preparation 'to-do' list:
* OK, the obvious: buy/locate my snow shovel. Get snow tires on — just because I have an SUV doesn't remove this one from the list. Locate my window ice scraper.
* Pick up this week's Inlander. The second issue of Snowlander is located inside.
* Secure my work schedule to allow for maximum ski time. Ideally, the schedule would allow me to ski every day, conditions permitting.
* Refresh memory on the names of my winter friends. Uncomfortable at first with the concept of seasonal friends, I have learned to embrace it. This is like the adult version of the first day back at school after a long summer break.
* Find the storage box with my ski socks and gloves — and their matching partners.
*Last-ditch attempt to strengthen my ski legs. While nothing better prepares my legs than the actual act of skiing, a little pre-season running, lifting and elliptical time will make my first day a little less painful.
* Pick up my season pass. I have heard the horror stories of opening-day season-pass pick-up lines. I think I would rather be waiting for first chair than be waiting to pick up my season pass. I'm doing myself a favor and getting this one done ASAP.
* Get my stoke on. I know I didn't get enough of the movies this year. That is why I am purchasing them on iTunes. Some of the best from this season are All.I.Can, Travis Rice's The Art of Flight and TGR's One for the Road. I have also subscribed to a large selection of ski- and snowboard-related podcasts and getting lost in them on AppleTV. My Queue on Netflix include the classics: Hot Dog, the Movie and Better Off Dead.
* Get my skiing playlist ready. My favorites from last season, "Rolling in the Deep" by Adele, "Mi Confesion" by Gotan Project, and "Moment 4 Life" by Nicki Minaj.
* Attend a 'Pray for Snow' party. Silver Mountain will be celebrating the upcoming winter season with a party on November 18th, a showing of "Tailgate Alaska" and beer specials from Alaskan Brewing Co. Burn skis, drink beer around a bonfire — a great way to train for apres ski — and catch up with those winter friends.
What's on your getting ready for winter to-do list?
We are sincerely stoked to introduce Snowlander, the best way to stay in the know for all things skiing, snowboarding and snow in the Inland Northwest.
Today, October 20th, brings the first insert found in your weekly Inlander. We will be publishing Snowlander once a month through February.
For those who need a little more face time with your winter love affair, we are launching a Facebook fan page and a website with links to my blog, ski reports, events, deals and much more. Like us on Facebook to receive our daily newsfeed and information on how to register to win for weekly prizes, including lift tickets, great swag from resorts all over the West, and a grand prize drawing of a Rossignol snowboard!
Please feel free to interact with our Facebook page, read our blog, add photos and videos, and give a shout out to other winter enthusiasts and let them know where you are finding the good stuff this winter.
Also, you can drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have a story that you think we should cover.
Until that time, think snow!
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