Ready. Steady. Go? Endurance Hub Snowmass Looking at Summer as it Transitions From Shortened Ski Season

Colorado’s resorts are busy planning for the new reality. Rob transitions from his last day on skis to thinking about biking at one of his favorite places and shares how Snowmass (and probably most resorts) see their summer right now, as always Rob sets a colorful stage…enjoy

By Rob Quinn

The Peregrine Falcon (known historically as The Duck Hawk in North America ) is a widespread bird of prey. The peregrine is renowned for its speed, reaching over 320 km/h (200mph!) during its characteristic hunting stoop (high-speed dive).

Somebody or something was acting like one next to me while mocking at least 40 mph down Big Burn at Snowmass on skis at the end of the season. This individual was clearly trying to make a statement with their repeated “hunting stoops”. Even with Greg Allman singing about being tied to The Whipping Post at an ear shattering volume, I could hear their edges slicing dangerously close to my surgically repaired knees. The drum solo starts right on cue adding a sort of primal drama to the scene.  

“Move it or lose it Grand Dad. You are skiing like an intermediate”. My wife had a little spring in her step today. Or should I say snap in her turn. She was on the hunt, she could smell weakness. That weakness smelled a lot like stale IPA. She was the reckless perpetrator and bully. The skier responsibility code was now in question. 

“How’s the party boy today?” The chianti canon has been ten years silent. She had given up vino a decade ago. The Word Champion belt hangs over the fireplace. So that is the stock question when I imbibe. Schadenfreude is when others find pleasure in your pain. 

“Feeling like a million bucks” I state in mock bravado. 

“Who were those people you were talking with at the Brew Pub when I picked you up? Very scary. They both had neck tats and one dude had an eye patch?”.

“Snakeman and Texas Red?” In mock indignation. “Those dudes were solid. They invited me to Sturgis with them on their summer vacation, when I mentioned I liked bikes, how cool is that?. I was talking mountain bikes and they were talking Harley’s—it’s all good. If you need any welding done let me know. I got a card, no job too big or small”. 

Wife. “You sure can pick em”

Me. “I sure can” (blowing a kiss). That’s called a “reversal” in wresting. 2 points please. The fog is rising. Today is going to be awesome. Love is seldom perfect. 

What is perfect are the late February conditions. Great coverage and more on the way. Switching to the Ikon pass this year, our new favorite get-away is a weekend in Snowmass. Look at me. I’m a big-shot all of a sudden. 

I think we can agree that I-70 ski traffic is a worthy opponent. I’ve yet to see it lose a fight. Why not let it fight itself? Instead of joining the fray anytime between 10AM and 7PM and paying a price. Why not ski (or ride in the summer) until the end of the day at Snowmass, grab dinner at Taqueria Nopal in Glenwood (order Shrimp Diablo my gringo friend. You’ll need two 20 Oz Mexican cokes to wash that fire down). It’s considered a Federal offense to drive by Nopal in the Quinn house and not stop.  Check google, and when the number dips below 3 hours it’s time to roll. Simpatico. If a good Banda song is on the juke box you need to stay until it’s over. Call me superstitious. Walk out during a Banda Machos song and bad things happen.( 20 episodes in 2 weeks of Narcos Mexico during lockdown is starting to show). 

We all know how this ski / love story ends. That was the last day of the season for us and the skis have been in the garage awaiting further orders. In the immortal words of Porky Pig. That’s all folks. 

Now what?

Snowmass has really seen their footprint in the cycling world increase dramatically. Recently named an IMBA Gold Level Ride Center. The highest honor a Mountain Biking Community can receive. The award is based on a litany of factors. That award basically equals a restaurant earning three Michelin Stars. Simply put in the vernacular of Snakeman and Texas Red “It don’t get no better than that hoss”. 

Snowmass is on the endurance event radar more than ever. It hosted Ride-the-Rockies in 2019. The bad ass Audi Power of 4 skimo/mountain bike epic, their first ever NICA high school race. NICA hopes to be back for 2020. The Colorado Classic is scheduled to include Snowmass in its race in August. Throw in Demo days and some of the best regular and lift assisted riding anywhere–it’s the place to be. The statement that Snowmass is a bona fide mountain biking destination is an easy statement to defend. I had a lot of weekends marked “Snowmass “for the summer of 2020. 

I reached out to Julie Hardman, Special Events Manager at Snowmass. As long time Aspen area event pro…she has seen it all. Except what we are all experiencing today. Suddenly the well scripted summer movie has a new wrinkle.

“Moving forward. Everything is flexible. A dramatic spike in any numbers can change policy”. Julie states. Since press time Aspen and Snowmass have eased restrictions and some restaurant’s and hotels have begun to make plans to open in June. 

With the Pandemic has come a whole new set of cool terms.

“Reopening Roadmap” being the first. The term says it all. “Plan B” does not have the same ring.

The Reopening Roadmap is based on opening slowly.

Topping off at gatherings numbering 250 if everything else is good in the twitching pandemic curves.  

Event protocol will include masks and gloves. Appropriate social distancing and a visible “social responsibility code” printed and posted around the area.

I asked Julie if in June…can I come up and ride the trails? She said that they were indeed open and encouraging “Evergreen Activities” (another cool Pandemic phrase) that include cycling, hiking and anything else that gets you out to the great outdoors. Not everything will be 100% open in June, so do your homework before you make the drive. 

Julie says that they will produce the events on the schedule “As best we can”. Which is about all you can do these days. At press time Jazz Aspen and the Thursday night concert series were cancelled for 2020. 

 A scenario for later in the summer might be:  have a few smaller stages set up around the Village that can keep “music in the air” but spread things out in a responsible fashion. All-of-a-sudden a drive-in movie night sounds kinda cool. You get the picture.

When I spoke to Julie she had just finished a call with Vail Resorts. Everybody is working together, comparing best practices and local ordinance. A lot of dedicated people working together trying to figure out how to keep on keeping on and make the best of a bad situation. That’s the equivalency of The Denver Broncos and The Kansas City Chiefs working together. Pandemics bring out the best in us in many situations. 

Summer resort plans? Keep’em booked. Be smart. Be flexible. Be safe. Be cool. 

If you see Snakeman and Texas Red… buy’em a beer for me. I think I owe em a round and if you need any welding? I know just who to call. I wonder if Sturgis is still on? 

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