The season is upon us, and while the old fuddy-duddies in the resort's main offices are finding more and more ways to stifle our fun on the hill these days (how many signs telling us what we can't do on the mountain do you need, Keystone?), there remains plenty of opportunity for on-mountain debauchery.
So, what the hell: A guide to seven-deadly- sinning your way through ski season:
1. Lust Because there's more than one way to stay warm on a gondola.
I must admit that I've never partaken in gondola hanky-panky, but I've witnessed it enough to know that the Outback Gondola at Keystone is a great place to get freaky on the hill. The entire ride takes about 15 minutes, and most of the time you are suspended high above the Window Glades.
Of course, people who do ride in that area of Keystone are privy to your actions, so remember there's a possibility of people watching even if there's nobody in the car in front of or behind you.
Runner up goes to Town Gondola in Telluride, which also runs into the evening -- though remember there's a midway loading station.
An honorable mention goes to the old Vista Bahn chair at Vail, another infamous place of lift-chair debauchery -- so much so that they took the protective windshield (The Bubble) off of the chairs three seasons ago. Aside from allowing for worry-free pot smoking, the "bubble chair" or "Rasta bahn" also provided decent visual shelter for on-chair blowjays, at least according to my college roommate, who got a thumbs-up from a ski patroller who happened to be looking up at just the right time.
2. Gluttony Where to gorge yourself after a day of riding.
Many people don't care what is put in front of them after finishing a day of skiing and riding, so long as it's edible and there's plenty of it. That said, you want your money's worth.
If you're an I-70-resorter who finds they stop in Silverthorne for a cheap burger before diving in traffic, next time take the extra two minutes and head up to Chimayo Burrito. The steak burrito with grilled onions should be a staple of your snowboard-season diet. It's suspected there is crack in the recipe, because you'll find yourself fiending for one the minute you drive through the Eisenhower Tunnel.
After shredding the gnar on Vail mountain, head over to get some shredded pork at Moe's Original Barbecue. Sure, it's a chain barbecue joint -- but their ribs, paired with whisky-ginger ale, are a great way to get rid of the lingering soreness in your legs.
I'm a sucker for a simple, yet well-made deli sandwich. The Butcher's Block, a stone's throw from the gondola in Aspen, serves up Boar's Head-meat sandwiches as well as a variety of sides and soups. Local's tip: order your sandwich on a French roll; you get more sandwich for the same price.
3. Greed Ski masks are good for more than keeping your face warm.
We could talk about how greedy some people are for powder here (I have no friends on a powder day), but nothing proves the sin of greed on the mountain better than robbing a bank and escaping on Vail mountain.
Now, their plan may have not been that well thought out -- but let's face it, escaping from a bank robbery by lift chair and then snowboarding off to (what you hope is) freedom is ridiculously cool.
4. Sloth Rocky Mountain Even Higher
Sure, you could be out at Breckenridge busting huge airs over a gap in the park or lapping a few high-speed groomer runs ... or you could just get stoned. The famous smoke shacks at Breckenridge are both the pride of locals and the disdain of local ski patrol.
For years (read: before the internet) the shacks were a word-of-mouth tradition and right of passage for stoner locals and Midwestern-college kids who scored some overpriced herb outside of Rasta Pastae. Unlike other mountains, where the shacks are usually lean-tos on the side of a rock face, the pothead engineers of Breck have created small mansions that match the real estate at the base of the hill - including the awe-inspiring "Smoke Mansion."
In recent years, ski patrol has taken a more active approach to dealing with the smoke shacks by blasting them off the side of the hill with explosives, but there's still there's a number of smoker safe-havens on the hill. Be sure and refer back to Gluttony after accomplishing this sin. 5. Wrath Don't let the newbies get you down.
Skiing should be a peaceful, serene experience where man convenes with his fellow man (and woman) to enjoy nature in all of its glory. And nothing can break that serenity like a tourist barreling into you unannounced, skiing over your tips or eating shit on the lift dismount.
Whether you opt for some verbal passive aggression -- "Did we not learn what "alternate" means in kindergarten?" -- or a more direct approach -- like stepping around and then in front of the offending skier -- do what you need to get through to the Texas A&M-beanie wearing hordes come March. And do it knowing that every once in a while, the universe does a great job of schooling people who should have stopped and asked questions instead of blindly trudging ahead. Remember this guy?
6. Envy See how the better half lives.
You can't always get what you want by being your broke, honest self -- so lie!
Want to see how the rich and famous hob-knob it during après ski, or what the real Aspen nightlife is about? Then sack up, pretend you are worth millions, ignore the doorman and own that motherfucker. The private Caribou Club in Aspen is famous for its members and tony parties, as well as the debauchery that goes on inside. Everyone from spoiled trust-fund babies passed out in the bathroom to multi-million dollar movie producers grinding with models on the dance floor, the place is something everyone should experience just once. Find yourself a young, rich local on the mountain or during après ski, buy them a few drinks and get them to put you on the guest list for the night (likely on their parent's membership). Walk in like you own the place, but never give any real answers as to who you are.
Once inside, start making friends with everyone. You aren't going to see these people again (remember, they are rich and want nothing to do with your broke-ass), so be loud and have fun. Get in on someone's $250-per-bottle Grey Goose. End your night by dancing like a fool in front of the DJ booth, knocking over some b-rate movie starlet's drink and then giving her a dirty look like she's at fault, and stumbling back to your cheap hotel room.
7. Pride Showing off the mad skills to the Bettys or bro-brahs.
If ski slopes are becoming fashion shows as many of the ski magazines say, then the terrain park is the runway. Head over to Beaver Creek for an afternoon of checking out some of the area's top riders in this season's top gear, or make your way over to Keystone's Area 51 park, where seeing is just as good as being seen.
If you and your crew's skills are halfway decent, and you're ready to step up your game a notch, check out some of the competition events at Echo Mountain this season, including the Scion Traffic Jam Dec. 5, featuring vehicle-themed jibs and rails, and the Echo Mountain Team Challenge in February. To catch the best of the best showing off under the lights, head to Aspen for the ESPN X-Games Jan. 28 through 31.
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