Early Season Tips

Some people don’t think of heading to the hill until after Thanksgiving. Not me. Unfortunately, I’ve been thwarted three times already. Worse, it’s been by my own carelessness, which means that it’s time for a little session of “do what I say, not what I do.”

On the first attempt I drive 40 minutes to a local hill, ready for a few hours of fun. I stop by the office and pick up my season pass, which I had purchased online. I walk around the base area, scoping out which runs are open.

I go to the car, get retrieve the folding chair and piece of cardboard that I have stored as a temporary fitting room, and put on my boots.

Next I take the snowboard out of the car, look at my option in lifts, and walk to one of them. I get up close to the place where you load the chair, put my board on the ground, get ready to adjust it, and see … that I left my powerstraps at home!

(In the photo, the powerstrap is the largest object you see. It goes directly over the top of your boot. The ladders–the thin plastic bands with ratchets–feet into it.)

I had taken the powerstrap off the bindings over the summer so that I could place the highback flat on the board for easier storage. So it was change into shoes, put the board away, and head home.

(Could I have rented a board? Yes. But I don’t like strap bindings or rental boards.)

The second trip–the same day–I returned with the powerstraps. It’s walk over to a place to get my bindings ready, and when I look down, one binding is missing a ladder. Worse, it’s missing the fastener required to hold the right rear side of the binding in place!

So it’s … take off the boots, put the board in the car, and drive home, stopping at the shop along the way.

I ask if they can fix it.

“We can’t do it today; we will have to order the parts.”

“That’s OK,” I tell the employee. “My day is shot anyway; I’m not going back a third time.”

So today I have a rare opportunity for mid-week, daytime riding. Except there’s one problem: My board is in the shop.

No mind, I decide to take my skis for their once-a-season trip. There’s a ski area that offers a mid-day pass for only $10. There’s not much to it, but it has its charms, and I’d like to see what they’ve got new for the season.

I load up the skis, boots and poles and drive away. I see the hill in a distance. Though the place is small (as is typical for around here, it has only 300 feet vertical, max), the snow is well-groomed, and glistens in the sunshine. This is going to be a good day!

Except.

When I pull in the parking lot I notice that no lifts are running. I walk around the base area and note what is new. Interesting.

Then I walk towards the ticket office to ask what’s going on. Another guy greets me. “I came here to ski,” he says. “What happened?”

We talk, and soon an employee emerges from beyond the locked door of the ticket office. She tells us that until Thanksgiving, they’re on a 3pm-9pm schedule.

“But your web site made me think that you’d be open,” the other fellow says. (At least he looked, which is more than I can say.)

“Didn’t you check the yellow banner in the corner?,” she asks.

She agrees to look at the site again, to make sure that the proper announcement is there.

I get ready to head home. At least this time, I don’t have to remove my boots. At home, I check the web site. There’s no banner, but the hours are clearly stated.

So if you haven’t died laughing, here’s your message: Don’t try this at home. At the start of the season, check your gear before you leave home to make sure that it is intact and working well, and before you get in the car, make sure the lifts are running.

At least I remembered to take my coat with me!

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One Response to Early Season Tips

  1. VancityAllie says:

    All good tips. Props to you for being so persevering!

    I’m heading up tomorrow for my first day and these tips are definitely useful. I went and double checked the opening hours..

    Thanks 🙂

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