At Arapahoe Basin Ski Area’s opening day, shredders share their new ski season resolutions
It felt like a New Year’s Eve celebration at Arapahoe Basin Ski Area on Friday morning as the emcee relayed a 10-second countdown over the ski area’s speaker system before the Black Mountain Express chairlift began spinning for the 2018-19 ski season.
Riding in that first chair was Nate Dogggg, who for more than two decades has made it a tradition of doing whatever is necessary to ride in that first chair. Once again, Mister Dogggg and his first-chair cronies broke through a Colorado Ski Country USA banner that read “Colorado is open!” The crew also held up a cardboard sign that read “Make Wife Happy Honeymoon Fund,” asking onlookers to Venmo money to “@Nate_Doggg.”
Behind them, there was the group within the first 10 chairs that danced in their butterfly and disco outfits to the tune of Vanilla Ice’s “Ice Ice Baby.” There were others dressed in costumes such as an abominable snowman, a transformer and a man who handed out slabs of bacon to other skiers and riders waiting in line.
Those were the day-of celebrations. With the ski and riding season now underway, it begs the question, what are some of the opening-day shredders’ new ski season resolutions?
TO THE NEW SKI YEAR
From locals like A-Basin’s head man Alan Henceroth — the chief operating officer who held the season-opening banner sign for Nate Dogggg and his crew to burst through — to a man visiting town from Amsterdam who listened to Wu Tang Clan’s “Da Mystery of Chessboxin” while riding down the hill, a collection of opening day skiers shared their new ski year’s resolutions with the Summit Daily.
The most interesting may have come from a local Keystone man who identified himself as “Tiger.”
Tiger was at A-Basin Friday at the outset of a ski and ride season during which he hopes to expand the reach of his own style of snowboarding, which he described as “Ninja Ballerina.”
“Our pro tip for this year is: ‘toes up.’ That’s our resolution,” Tiger said.
“You’ll find exquisite edge control if you simply raise your toes toward the tops of your boots while riding on toe edge or heel edge,” he added. “It’s a safer form of riding. When you’re not riding against the fall line, you’re avoiding those harsh heel-edge crashes. So correct the posture, and then drill everyone in this style, like Fight Club.”
Wearing his customary double-visored headgear, Tiger said he originally self-taught this “Ninja Ballerina” snowboarding style to himself as a kid riding his skateboard around Santa Fe, New Mexico. These days, typically at 11 a.m. at Keystone Resort’s Summit House, Tiger walks through the Dercum Mountain area to meet eyes with those who may be interested in learning his style.
“Fans who recognize me with the double visors,” Tiger said, “people I meet throughout the year. It’s like ‘Fight Club’ — we don’t exchange personal information. People can show up at the Summit House at 11 a.m. to take laps with the Ninja Ballerina in the style.”
THE COWBOY, THE UNICORN AND THE DOG
“Having fun” was the new ski year’s resolution Riley Larson and Megan Carroll of Fort Collins shared as they waited in line. Larson and Collins also dressed up for the occasion, Larson as a “fairy cowboy” and Collins as the unicorn he attempted to lasso out on the hill. Larson sported a glittered cowboy hat which read “Lord of the Dance” while Collins wore what appeared to be some kind of a Halloween mask.
“It’s supposed to be a unicorn,” she said, “but my dog ate it last week.”
As for what comprises a successful ski lasso?
“You have to imagine it before you actually throw it, you know?” Larson said. “You have to envision it.”
LIVING THE DREAM
Also in line were buddies Hunter Stafford and Alex Noonan of Keystone. For Stafford, his resolution was to get out on the mountain more with his dog, Lorrie. To do so, he said he’ll purchase a K9 Sports Sack that will enable him and Lorrie to rip through some of their favorite Summit County runs, such as Keystone’s Starfire.
As for Noonan, his resolution is all about what he’s dubbed: “#100DayDream.”
“Hashtag 100 day dream,” he said with energy while meeting up with buddies at A-Basin’s Mountain Goat Plaza. “We’re hitting it!”
“Who’s we?” someone then asked.
“Me,” Noonan said.
Then there were buddies Nick Wiford and Cam Jones — from Denver and Golden, respectively — who didn’t have a resolution but, rather, a suggestion.
“Gaper traps,” they said.
No matter how silly or serious A-Basin’s guests’ resolutions were, Henceroth himself knows exactly what he’s excited about for this season. With a planned December open for the lift-service to the new Beavers terrain expansion at A-Basin, the ski area’s COO said his resolution is to get as many powder laps in there as possible.
“The terrain is extraordinary,” he said. “There are a couple of blue trails. Good, tough and challenging blue trails. There is some open-bowl skiing, and we have gladed a bunch of black trails. They are treed trails, and they are, I think, going to be the real surprise treat for everybody.
“It’s a big lift, our biggest vertical lift,” Henceroth said of the new 1,500-foot-gain Beavers chair. “There’s a lot to do there. And I wouldn’t be surprised if it becomes our most popular lift, to tell you the truth.”