After about 6 months of gliding down glades, kicking it on moguls and powering through the powder, some of us are naturally melancholy. After 6 months of getting up at 5 am, fighting highway traffic, enduring agonizing fitted boots and suffering from worn out muscles, others of us are ecstatic. Whatever your condition, the end of the season approaches and it’s time to party.
Every major ski resort has some kind of party planned with music to go along with it. Vail, where I usually end the season has featured artists as diverse as Snoop Dog to Grace Potter and from Kid Rock to Chris Isaak? Yeah, I don’t know how Chris slipped in there but I saw him during a snow storm a few years back. It is spring time so the show goes on, even during spring blizzards. It may not be perfect for the artists but hey, not only are you already dressed for the weather, your beer never gets cold.
Top of the Mountain to You
A lot of mountains have a party up top on the last day but none rivals Vail’s “4 at 4.” At the top of the mountain where chairlifts 4, 5 and 11 (Northwood’s) meet is a large flat area that accommodates thousands of partiers on the last day. The revelry starts around noon with most partiers timing their arrival to as close as 4 o-clock as possible. You have to get there in time because the lifts stop at 4 and that’s when the party really kicks off. When that last chair on lift 4 stops, champagne bottles pop, cheers go up and the real drinking starts. The run down the mountain, which commences anytime between 4:15 and hours later, is a spectacle to behold. Be careful though, if you’re not too drunk to ski, the guy next to you probably is.
Everybody is There
Especially on the last day but usually for the whole weekend, the slopes are packed. This time you don’t mind as they are full of celebrities. By celebrities I mean, Spider Man, Captain America and any other super-hero you can imagine. It’s as if every comic-con attendee in the nation is a skier. I’ve also skied with Elvis and Marilyn. Elvis was much skinnier than I remember and Marilyn wasn’t nearly as attractive as her posters but they were there.
The Price is Right
Not only are rooms and condos discounted at the end of the season, drinking becomes way more affordable. The bars would just as soon clear out their inventory as a lot of them are closing for a month or two anyway. Three dollar “you-call-ems” are popular as you get anything you want for 3 bucks. Naturally the Maker’s Mark Whisky and Patron Tequilas go first but anytime you can get top-shelf drinks for 3 bucks is fine with me. The kegs also need to be emptied and you can bet I’ll be there to help as much as I can.
The Weather is Delightful
It’s April; what more should I say? Okay, I’ll say more. While there’s no guarantee of bluebird days, chances are the weather will be nice. I have skied in whiteout blizzards on the last day but luckily that was after a 4 at 4 party so we had plenty of anti-freeze flowing through our bodies.
It’s Your Last Chance
It’s your last chance to ski that cliff you’ve been fudging on. It’s your last chance to go out with a bang and it’s your last chance to try to break those skis so you can justify buying new ones next year. Speaking of next year, season passes are already on sale, usually with discounts if you buy early. Lots of them include buddy passes so you can get a deal on a lift ticket for your new friends: Elvis and Marilyn.