I haven’t actually spent a Fourth of July in Colorado since I was ten, and the past few years my celebrations of America’s birthday have taken place in Missouri. Naturally, for my first Fourth of July back in the motherland I decided I needed to spend at least part of the day in the mountains. My first plan had been to hike a fourteener but when my plans for hiking fell through, I moved onto something even bigger and better: skiing. Yes folks, skiing in July.
Even in Colorado, this is not a normal occurrence. Arapahoe Basin (A Basin) is known for being one of the earliest ski resorts to open and also the latest to close but usually closing day is in early June. However, due to the crazy amounts of snow in the mountains this year, A Basin’s closing date was the Fourth of July. The last time A Basin stayed open so late in the summer was in 1995, when the closing date was in August. Although I had already said good-bye to the official ski season in late April and May, I decided that it was time to dust of the old season pass for one more day of skiing. After all, could I really turn down skiing on the Fourth of July?
I tagged along with my cousin and one of her friends who also wanted to experience skiing on the Fourth of July. I checked the weather the night before heading out, and I legitimately had no idea what to wear. I don’t normally ski on days with a high of 82 degrees. Actually, I never ski on days with highs of 82 degrees. Anyway, I ended up fulfilling my lifelong dream of skiing in shorts, complete with a red, white and blue windbreaker. You can really never go wrong at A Basin, and my outfit was one of the more conservative of the day. Speaking of the crowd at A Basin, I have never seen A Basin more packed in my life. I read in a Denver Post article after the fact that 4,000 people skied at A Basin on the Fourth of July. I believe it.
Because of the crazy lift lines our group only made two runs, but this was fine since we weren’t actually there for quality ski conditions anyway. The ski conditions were slushy and moguly, as could be expected on a summer day. Really we were just there for the overall experience. Highlights of the overall experience included snowball fights in the lift lines and watching pond skimming at the top of the mountain.
I am also proud to report that I did not fall once, which I was especially proud of considering the fact that I am not the best at skiing moguls even in good conditions, let alone on a slushy 15 foot wide track of snow. A Basin sold commemorative shirts for the occasion, and I couldn’t decide between the two designs, so of course I ended up getting both. After all, this might have been a once in a lifetime experience!
Proud Fourth of July skier right here
In a very fitting end to the day, we hit major traffic on I-70 heading back into Denver. Traffic on I-70 is the story of my life during ski season. A semi had flipped over on the highway, and since the semi was transporting peaches and apples, highway clean-up took a long time. Luckily I am quickly becoming awesome at the game “How can we get back to Denver without going on I-70” and we made it back in plenty of time for BBQs. All in all, a most excellent Fourth of July!