In a ski resort town, the usual holidays don’t matter.
Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and Easter all mean the same thing: bigger crowds, extra shifts, more check-ins, and longer line-ups. Time off? Visiting family? Presents? Ha. That doesn’t happen.
But don’t feel too bad for ski resort residents—they still manage to find ways to celebrate (just never on a long weekend). Here are 6 unusual holidays that you’ll encounter in a ski resort town.
The First Snowfall of the Year
When that first white flake floats down through the late autumn sky, it is truly a religious experience for ski resort town folk. After a grey and dreary shoulder season spent watching ski flicks and doing squats, the first snowfall is a sign that winter is coming once again.
Don’t be surprised if you see a local or two shedding a tear, or possibly dropping to their knees, praying to Ullr for a prosperous, snowy season. And then there’s the newly arrived seasonnaires, many of who have never seen snow in real life. Yes, the first snowfall of the year is a special time indeed, for it means that Opening Day is just around the corner.
Christmas Eve at age seven—remember how that felt? That same feeling sweeps over ski resort towns the night before Opening Day.
In preparation for the first turns of the season, skiers and snowboarders will obsessively tune their gear so that it’s ready to go when the chairs start spinning. Opening Day ritual includes laying out your outerwear the night before, setting your alarm clock obscenely early for first(ish) chair, and assembling the perfect crew to celebrate with.
The hardcores take things to the next level: these kids (few over 19 can stomach this ritual) set up tents in the lift line up and spend the night (or nights) before Opening Day camped out. Don’t forget to bring snacks.
All good things must come to an end, even a glorious season of skiing. Gaper Day is something like New Year’s Eve–skiers and snowboarders say farewell to the mountain, reminiscing on the many good times shared atop those snowy peaks.
Snow lovers pay their respects by adorning retro ski regalia and partaking in Gaper Day activities like skiing on stairs, skiing on grass, and skiing on rocks–because that’s pretty much all that’s left by the time Gaper Day rolls around.
Unlike the other holidays listed thus far, Australia Day is a proper holiday celebrated on the 26th of January. Few people outside of Australia partake in Australia Day–with the exception, of course, of ski resort towns.
For reasons unbeknownst to most, Australians flock to ski resort towns en masse, and thus Australia Day is a big deal in these small towns.
The beauty of Australia Day in a ski resort town is that it is often celebrated on both January 25 (which is January 26 in Australia itself) and on January 26. Ever heard of Triple J’s Hottest 100? You will.
The best part about Christmas in a ski resort town is that you’ll likely earn holiday pay while you’re attending to a rich family’s wants and needs. The other best part is when the Christmas holidays adjourn, offering a brief respite from the crowds, chaos, and madness. Gather your buddies and celebrate with a seasonal cocktail and some discounted Christmas chocolate–you’ve survived another year.
20 Centimetre Day
I’m not sure what the imperial version of the 20 cm day would be, but here in the Great White North, 20 cm is a big deal. If you wake up from a deep sleep and realize that 20 (or more) cm of snow has fallen over night, grab your gear and head to the mountain–it’s officially okay to be late for work.
Don’t worry, your boss will understand—you’ll probably bump into her in the lift line. Lifties, you’re an exception. We need you to make the magic happen.