Michael Ryan

6 Recreational Activities James Bond Would Never Do

Okay, I get it, you’re on vacation and anything goes. But there are some things a man just shouldn’t do, or at least allow pictures of him doing it to get out. If James wouldn’t do it, maybe you shouldn’t either.

Bird Watching Tours
The original James Bond, the one Ian Fleming pilfered the name James Bond from, was an ornithologist and wrote books on birds. That doesn’t mean James Bond, our man named Bond, would ever go on a bird watching tour though. Actually, I don’t know anyone who would, but someone must because they are offered all over. I’ve done river cruises in Jamaica and Costa Rica where the guides point out all the birds we see, but that’s just because they’re waiting for something really exciting like a lizard to come around. Most of us are there for the monkeys and crocodiles anyway and could care less about the rare yellow-billed whatever-you-call-it.

Water Trikes
You know those big-wheeled, tricycle-like contraptions that beach resorts have which you pedal out into the water, looking like a geek and feeling like one too? You know: the ones James would never be seen on. You could actually swim or even float out quicker than these things go and probably relax more while doing it. Well, some may say I’ve been seen on one but I will deny, deny, deny; mainly because I destroyed all the pictures, so there.

Ice Fishing
If James ever ice fished, he’d probably catch a sexy, topless mermaid. The rest of us just catch a cold. Sitting on a giant ice-cube, drinking beer or whiskey or whatever you drink in an old wooden shack while waiting patiently for a nibble is not James’ style. Actually, waiting patiently for anything is not James’s nor my style so that’s why you won’t see either of us doing it.

Swimming With the Dolphins
J.B. has probably swum many times with the dolphins but I’m sure it was on the open seas like when he swims to Dr. No’s island in Jamaica. He would never be caught dead in a water park, wearing a life jacket and floating with the kiddies while Flipper rubs up against him. It’s not very glamorous or adventurous to float in a sea of Kibbles n Bits which I later discovered was dolphin poop.

Hot Air Ballooning
Now, I’ve seen hot air balloons in James Bond movies but it’s usually the bad guy or girl making a fatal mistake in thinking this will provide an escape. There is hardly any control except up and down and it’s the down part that gets me worried. The takeoff is probably fun but once you’re up, you’re at the mercy of the winds on where it’s going to take you. Not knowing where I’m going is maybe standard operating procedure on my vacation, but it’s against everything James Bond stands for.

Segway Tours
I’ve seen many of these groups, or “Pods” as I call them, of tourists on Segways putting slowly along everywhere from downtown Denver to the beaches of St. Maarten. If James, or I for that matter, want motorized transportation we would prefer an Aston Martin, a BMW motorcycle, or a Lotus Esprit car/submarine. There was that one time in Mexico when I vaguely remember renting a moped—something else James would never be seen on—but I’m sure there was Tequila involved and there are no pictures to confirm it.

6 Signs You’re About to Have a Bad Concert Experience

You pay your money—probably quite a bit of your money- you anxiously await the date, and then trek to the venue only to have some shmuck ruin your evening. Here are a few warning signs if you’re about to have a bad concert experience.

The Parking Lot
Tailgating is practically an American tradition. Partying before a sporting or concert event is a great way to kick off a fun night. Starting at noon for an 8 pm concert is maybe not a good idea though. When you pull in early and the lot is already full and has been for hours, you may have quite a few wasted people to deal with. As the old saying goes: it’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt, then it’s hilarious. That is, unless it’s you or your companion who gets spilled on, puked on, or knocked down.

Judging a Book by Its Cover
What’s worse than having a 12 year old kid wearing a Star Wars t-shirt sitting next to you at a concert? Having a forty year old guy wearing a Star Wars T-shirt sitting next to you at a concert. Whoever sits next to you can ruin the night in many ways: talking to you too much, moving in on your space, or especially if he’s one of those in the parking lot since noon.

I Thought This Was a Concert, Not a Dance Recital?
When the couple in front of is dancing away, this could be a bad sign, especially if there isn’t even any music playing. It’s one thing to enjoy the show and, sure if she’s hot the dancing may be entertaining, but all night long? You paid a lot of money for that seat and it would be nice to get a glimpse of the stage once in a while.

Who Sings This Song?
We all are happy you are the Karaoke champ of Ogallala, Nebraska but do you have to sing along to every song? Most rock bands will have at least one or two songs that are sing-a-longs and the lead singer will usually prompt you when that time has come. Otherwise, I paid a lot of money to hear a professional sing his or her songs, so please let him or her do his or her job if your face is right by my ear.

Couldn’t Stand the Weather
Outdoor venues have learned a lesson from losses due to canceled shows and now have covers on their stages that will protect the artist from inclement weather. Unfortunately, in order to be an outdoor venue, the crowd has to sit outdoors. If the clouds are forming, the tornado sirens wailing, and the raindrops start falling, fear not: the show must go on. You are going to get soaked and to add insult to injury, some venues don’t allow umbrellas. Of course they don’t allow you to bring in drugs or alcohol either and that has never stopped us has it?

Gender Inequality
I once took The Wife to a Stevie Nicks/Chris Isaack concert; it was the best ever. Not that I’m a big fan of either artist but the crowd consisted of me and 7,999 women. Needless to say I spent as much time watching the crowd as I did the stage. Conversely I’ve been to Frank Zappa shows that had exactly zero women in the crowd. If you are uncomfortable being the only women there, maybe you should avoid Rush concerts. If you are uncomfortable being the only man in a crowd, stay away from Stevie Nicks and Chris Isaack shows. Besides, you’re moving in on my action.

6 Guaranteed Ways to Piss Off Other Campers

You finally got away from it all: camp is set up, the sun is shining, the birds are singing and everything is good in the world. Then, that one jerk shows up and ruins everything. Here are 6 ways a jerk can ruin a campout. Don’t be this jerk.

Asking “Mind if I Camp Here?”
I don’t care if you are afraid of bears, Sasquatch, the boogie man or your wife, you are not setting your tent anywhere near mine. I don’t want to hear you snore, cough, converse or roll over. The sound of a tent zipper in the middle of the night when you go pee is like an alarm clock. I don’t even want to hear if a bear attacks; hopefully he’s no longer hungry after feasting on you anyway. I know I love jerk chicken and jerk pork so hopefully bears love just plain jerk.

Skimping on Food
Some people call camping “pretending to be homeless” which makes it rough enough anyway—but not having any food? Really? Have you ever had a friend show up for a three-day campout packing a pack of hotdogs and a six-pack? I have; once and only once because I’ll never camp with that cheapskate again. Oh and by the way, showing up with just a fishing rod because you’re going to catch your supper is not only overly optimistic—it proves you’re not just an idiot, but soon to be a hungry one.

Blaring that Music
There’s nothing wrong with a little music, especially when having a few drinks, but blasting your tunes for Bambi and everyone else is over the top. I’m real happy you got that new Turtle Shell bluetooth speaker from Outdoor Tech, it is awesome but, enough is enough. Keep it turned down so just the folks who want to hear it do or better yet, try out those awesome Orcas Active Wireless earbuds you just got.

The Pyromaniac
Why is the one guy who doesn’t bring any wood, doesn’t go find any wood, and doesn’t chop any wood always ends up being the one who is constantly throwing wood on the fire until the blaze could melt iron? Bringing, gathering or chopping wood is a team sport. This also is directed at the guy in the next paragraph who gets up early and burns all the wood because, “it gets chilly before the sun comes up.”

Early to Bed, Early to Rise
I don’t care which of these you do, you’re going to piss someone off. It’s fine and dandy to party late but what is your definition of late? As the Talking Heads once sang: “This ain’t no party, this ain’t no disco…” If you must drink late, you can do it without waking up the whole Sherwood Forest. This complaint covers those of you who rise with the sun and start clanging pot and pans, yelling or worse of all: that infernal sound of your tent zipper zipping up and down, then up and down…

Leaving Your Mess for Me
The old adage goes something like, “Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints.” This goes for you too, pal. I know you’re gone and probably already back at that trash heap you call a home, but now I have to clean up your campsite. I have cleaned beer cans, bean cans, toilet paper rolls, and on my last camp out, dirty diapers left lying all around. And while we’re on the subject of garbage, unless you have a fire burning at about million degrees Fahrenheit, those beer bottles you threw in the fire ring are now just blackened trash that I have to pick up and throw out.

Best Music Festivals From Cheapest to Top Dollar This Summer

Music Festivals are back with a vengeance and that’s a good thing for music lovers. Ever since Woodstock we seem to enjoy parking our butts in a big field and listening to bands play all day and night for anywhere from cheap to top dollar. Here are just a few of this summer’s offerings

Summer Fest: Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Running from June 24-28 and June 30-July 5 this is billed as the world’s largest music festival and it seems as bands go, with 800 bands booked, everyone will be here. Tickets start at $19 for general admission with a Tuesday-Friday pass for $12. The cheap tickets don’t get you in the Marcus Amphitheater where the biggest stage is located but you can see everyone from Paris Hilton doing whatever the hell it is she does to Weird Al for $19. Real entertainment will be provided by the likes of Stevie Wonder, Jane’s Addiction, Kings of Leon, and Foghat just to name a few.

Mountain Jam: Hunter Mountain, NY
With Robert Plant, Grace Potter, and The Alabama Shakes, you know this mountain will be jamming. You add in Warren Haynes as a producer and performer with his band Gov’t Mule and there will definitely be some long jams going down. Running from June 4-7 a 4-day pass with camping comes in at $259 with single days running from $49- $85 depending on the day. Other acts include The Black Keys, Rusted Root, and MOE. If you really want to splurge the Super VIP package will run you a jamming $1799 per ticket.

WAKARUSA: Mulberry Mountain, Ozark, Arkansas
This affordable jam in hillbilly country starts with general admission on Sunday for $69 or a full festival pass for $204, making this fest running from June 4-7 a great deal for sure. Featuring Ben Harper and The Innocent Criminals, Young the Giant, The Roots, Thievery Corporation, Slightly Stoopid (one of the best band names around), and Umphrey’s McGee you can bet this will be a younger crowd than is going to see Stevie Wonder at Summerfest. This lineup seems to set up as a true festival in that the odor in the air may lean more towards Ganja than Old Spice.

The Peach: Montage Mountain, Scranton, Pa
Running from August 13-16, this is a jam festival for sure and should be a lot of fun. Featuring Greg Allman, Willie Nelson and Family along with Rusted Root, Santana and more, these bands are all over the spectrum in age so the crowd should be as well. Tickets start at $155 for a 4 day advance pass with 4 day reserved seats starting at $300. A four day super VIP pass can be had for $1000 and who doesn’t want to be a Super VIP?

Lollapalooza: Grant Park, Chicago, Illinois
This one has been around awhile but doesn’t tour the country like they used to. Located in Chicago this festival runs from July 31 to August 2. The eclectic lineup ranges from Paul McCartney to Metallica, and Florence and The Machine to Bassnectar. According to their website General admissions are sold out, but the secondary market should be thriving if you really, just have to go. Travel packages are available for 3 nights’ hotel and tickets and range from $1764-$9039. When you’ve been around this long, tickets go fast—and besides, where else can you see Paul McCartney and Metallica at the same festival?

Bonnaroo: Manchester, Tennessee
This is the big daddy of the summer and as such features bands ranging from Billy Joel to Florence and the Machine, Mumford and Sons to Tears for Fears, and My Morning Jacket plus hundreds more. The $299.50 general admission tickets are already sold, of course, putting this festival in the same boat as Lollapalooza. If you want to be a VIP but are not VIP enough to get in free, you’ll fork over $1524.50 per pair. The festival running June 11-14 is about 60 miles southeast of Nashville on a 700 acre farm, which reminds us of Woodstock from years ago, so prepare for Woodstock-epic traffic as well.

6 Guaranteed Ways to Piss off The Lady Friend

First off, just by referring to them as THE Wife or THE Girlfriend, you’re off to a great start.

You Don’t Understand What it’s Like to Get Up in the Middle… Blah, Blah, Blah
Let’s head off the age-old argument between men and women about the toilet seat; it’s time to get a little pro-active here. Suck it up boys and tell her now—you are sick and tired of her never remembering to put the toilet seat back up when she’s done. If you really want to push it, and do this at your own risk, tell her she has no idea what it’s like to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night and realize you’re peeing all over the toilet seat. If that doesn’t get her hackles up, you’re doing it wrong.

Song Remains the Same
Remember the song that was playing the first time you danced? Yeah, I was drunk too. Anyway, she remembers it and if you want to sleep on the couch for the next month, go ahead and forget it. Every girlfriend I ever had thought there was a song that was “Our song.” I have no idea how they became “Our song,” or what any of them were but I’m sure they were mushy, corny, lame, and sucked.

Thanks for the Memories
The dreaded question:“Do you know what day this is?” How you respond will shape how comfortable your life will be for the foreseeable future. You better get good at remembering dates because she’s like a high school history teacher, and absolutely obsessed with them. She’ll know the date you first met, first went out, and first kissed. You better know them too, or at least be able to fake your way around that dangerous question or be prepared to become single again.

Yes Dear
If you say you’re going to do something, you better well do it. I mean like fix the leaky faucet, change the hallway light bulb, or build that patio/deck/fire pit/raised garden monstrosity she wants you to do. Where we get in trouble is when we use the old standby, “Yes Dear.” Once you say “Yes Dear,” to anything, she stores that tidbit away in that 8,000 terabyte hard drive of a brain she has and is saving it for when you least expect it. Like naptime on a Sunday.

We Don’t Need No Stinking Vacuums
Speaking of chores, if God forbid you ever actually do any housework, make sure and demand credit for it. I mean, let’s face it, she’s going to redo anything you do anyway, so there’s no reason to bust your butt doing it right—but make sure you still get credit. Before you brag about your contribution to the house cleaning though, make sure you at least know how to turn on the vacuum cleaner; they are tricky little things. I got called out by the Wife and the Daughter once, and for the life of me, I could not find that damned switch. In my defense we’d only had the vacuum for a year or two but now, as soon as we get a new vacuum, I learn how to turn it on. I never actually use it but next time they call me out, I’ll show them.

It’s All In A Name
What you call them is as important as if you call them. Never, and I do mean never, use the word “Just” before any other word to describe your relationship. If you ever correct anyone who asks if she is your wife by saying, “No, she is just my girlfriend” I guarantee you in no time at all, she will be either your wife or your ex. Trust me, that’s how I ended up married to The Wife.

6 Dumb Places to Camp

It’s really not hard to find a campground. You can drive to any National Forest and find free spots all over the place. You can hike in most any wilderness area and plop down wherever you like. Why then do people choose these spots?

Your Backyard
Okay, if you have young kids who have never slept outside, we can maybe understand doing it once. This really isn’t teaching camping until they have to take a poop outside, though. Young boys may actually enjoy it but if you have a daughter and you want her to love camping, she’s going to have to learn about squatting in the great outdoors. I don’t suggest they take a dump in your garden, but you do need to get them out in the woods at some time. I have friends who have to build bathrooms for their girlfriends when we’re camping in the woods. These girls were obviously not brought up right. Actually, I know some guys who do that for themselves. I don’t camp with them anymore.

The Wilds of Walmart

It’s great that the company allows RVs to park overnight in their lots. This is a great service to folks traveling who can’t find, or maybe afford an established campground. Really though if you can’t afford to pay, how are you driving that gas-guzzling behemoth to begin with? Besides, have you seen all those internet pictures of the people shopping at Walmart? I can’t imagine what the camping crowd looks like at 3am.

Not to pick on one company (Walmart is fair game though) but the term KOA Campground is synonymous with any roadside commercial camping establishment. Once again, if you can’t find anywhere else to set up, or you’re rolling in late and don’t know where else to go in the dark, we’ll give you a pass on this for one night. I know people who plan their trip to these parking lot campgrounds and actually make reservations for them. You are packed in just like sardines with your neighbors right on top of you. Your tent may be a few feet from an RV, and some don’t even allow campfires.

In-Town Parks
In Denver, Colorado there is Cherry Creek and Chatfield Lakes that are really Army Corps of Engineer’s reservoirs that allow camping. There is also Bear Creek Lake Park that is actually a reservoir but thinks it’s a creek or a lake, they haven’t decided yet. The campground at Bear Creek Lake Park is right near a highway and within sight of several neighborhoods as well. I guess this is one step up from the backyard, but really? You couldn’t drive just a couple more miles and be in the mountains?

Private Campgrounds

Unlike KOAs, there are some private campgrounds that are in lovely, out of the way campgrounds. One such place is Wellington Lake outside of Conifer, Colorado. This is one of the prettiest spots on the Front Range outside of Denver. A privately owned lake with Castle Mountain in the background; the scenery is stunning. Since it’s privately owned, the fees are as steep as Castle Mountain though. The main problem though with this one and other private spots is the rules. They have a sign with a list of rules taller than me. I understand having some rules but come on: no swearing or cussing allowed? Obviously they’ve never tried to set up a tent. The good news here is no fishing license is required and you’ll be in bed early; that’s one of the rules too.

Music Festivals
Music festivals are popular again and that’s a good thing. A lot of them even offer on-site camping whether right on the concert grounds or in another area of the festival. There is also Burning Man and the Rainbow Family type gatherings that aren’t music fests but are large gatherings of partiers. Now, the whole reason I camp out, poop in the woods, and cook on the fire is to get away from most of these people. If I’m hanging around thousands of other folks for days on end, I would prefer they shower daily. Plus, most of these festival campouts don’t allow fires, pets, or alcohol. Now, I don’t know about you but I demand at least two of those three when I’m camping.

Must Have Gear for Casual Camping

Casual camping, for the uninitiated is not Man vs Wild style camping. This is not Survivor and no, Bear Grylls won’t be joining us to show us how to eat bugs and grubs for lunch.

First you have to have a car because, since this is casual, we aren’t hiking anywhere. Casual camping is also called car camping because we pull right up to the camp site. As for transportation gear: a 4 wheel drive SUV or truck, while not required, is the best. Just because it’s casual camping doesn’t mean we have to set up in a campground next to Mr. Ranger. Four wheeling up hairy trails is still casual as long as you can pull the coolers right from the truck to the site.

Since Bear Grylls isn’t coming on this trip and I’m not real good at starting a fire with a rock and a piece of lint, we travel with what my buddy calls “Girl Scout Juice.” The official name is lighter fluid and it sure makes things go quite a bit quicker. As you pack the car or truck, it’s also a good idea to throw some firewood in with your supplies. A lot of the forests have been picked clean these days, at least around most campsites and firewood is getting harder to find. We usually unload all the gear and the wife starts setting up camp while I drive wherever needed to find some dry wood and load up the truck. If I do it right, I have a whole load of wood in just about the time it takes her to set up the tent, start the fire and have supper cooking. If I don’t do it right, we eat cold beans tonight.

The old metal wire shelves found in refrigerators of old make perfect grills for cooking over your fire. We’ve had one for close to twenty years and they do last forever. I know I sound old but nowadays fridge shelves are made of plastic, good metal ones are hard to find and only old people use words like “Nowadays” anyway. You also need a spatula, a pot, a pan and an old oven mitt. If you can’t get something cooked with those 5 items, you may as well set up in the backyard and call out for pizza.

Of course you need a tent, but not just any tent. The old pup tent is fine if you’re backpacking in the wilderness but let’s face it, any guy who uses words like “Nowadays” isn’t doing any backpacking. Years of experience and bad backs have taught me to look for tents I can stand up in. If you’re over 6 feet tall, this may be a tall order (sorry for the pun) but most 4-5 man tents are 6 feet high, at least in the middle. By the way, tents are like ski condos: if they say they sleep six they really sleep two, comfortably that is.

Sleeping bags are a requirement, and the bigger the better. As we Americans tend to get uhhhm, larger, sleeping bags have grown as well. I also recommend an air mattress, preferably queen sized at least. Not only is a good night’s sleep conducive to a successful campout in my eyes, but napping is so much better on air as well. If you’re bringing an air mattress, you really should have a battery operated air pump; it’s not a requirement but it’s the least I can do since the wife sets up the bed while I’m out, bravely hunting for wood.

I’ve always worried about other humans more than wild animals, but you do have to be prepared for bears, mountain lions, and the occasional rabid chipmunk. I have a siren on my multi-function radio/flashlight/siren/lantern that should scare away any wild critters. Heck, it scares the hell out of me when I accidently push the button so I imagine Yogi Bear will run away too. I also have my trusty axe right by my side, day and night. I have absolutely no idea how to defend myself with it but the wife lets me sleep with it placed by my side as long as I leave the protective cover on the blade.

Who really wants to sit at a campsite listening to the fire crackle and the crickets make all that racket? Not to mention the inevitable racoon whose whole goal in life is to steal all of your precious sleep time on that air mattress. Be sure to bring along your Big Turtle Shell to drown out all those annoying nature noises, and scare away everything around you if the siren on your radio doesn’t work. As a bonus, if you camouflage it properly, it might even look like an actual turtle, giving you an even more authentic camping experience. Almost as if you weren’t sitting right by your car. With your lighter fluid. And home-cooked meal.

What To Do If You Meet a Cougar

Not all predators are found in the wild. Some lurk in the urban jungle and are just as dangerous. They are older (over 40) and yes, they prey on our young.

Urban Cougars
The accepted definition of an Urban Cougar is an over 40 year’s old woman who tries and sometimes succeeds in dating younger men. They see themselves as young-at-heart and younger than their actual years. The difference between a wild cougar and an urban one is large and small at the same time. The wild cougar is usually defending her territory, her young or is just hungry. The Urban cougar, while defending her territory as well, wants our young and her appetite is insatiable.

Their Prey
They feed on youth. It is not only desirable but imperative for their ego, image and sexual appetite to devour our young. Be warned: they are not looking for love. They go for the kill purely for enjoyment and conquest, leaving their prey scattered around for others to pick up the pieces.

Their Territory
For those of you who trudge through the urban jungle,; beware of bars, nightclubs, restaurants and anywhere that serves high end drinks and overpriced meals. Health clubs and jogging trails are another danger area as they have been known to prey on the fit, the athletic and the good-looking of our young men. Though they can be found lurking even in the local supermarket, the nightclub is their main feeding ground.

Their Methods
Much like a human hunter, the urban cougar may use bait as an enticement. This includes alcohol by buying the unsuspecting young male multiple rounds of drinks. They also entice their prey into their clutches with cleavage, tight fitting clothing, shiny jewelry and dyed hair.

Beware the Cougar Pack
Yes they run in packs. Though they are singular in their desires, they tend to hunt in packs of 3 or more at times. Usually ensconced at the bar of any high end establishment, they will spot their prey immediately and a sort of pecking order commences. Cougars in their forties are attracted to men in their 20s, Cougars in their fifties may go after thirty something year-olds, though their preferred prey is also much younger. While in the pack the fifty-plus year old will defer to the forty year old when pursuing a very young victim, if encountered on their own, all bets are off.

Protect Yourself
Dating in your own age group is a good start. Dating in your own economic level helps as well since most cougars are better off then you and may use this difference in spending to lure you in. Purchasing that drink is just a start. Before you know it you’ll have a new wardrobe, a new hairstyle and will be eating at much better restaurants. Avoiding their compliments, belching a lot and responding with, “Yes Ma’am,” seems to ward them off. You may feel complimented by their stalking at first, but they only want to devour you. It maybe for a week or a few months but usually it’s just for the night.

Protect Your Friends
Friendly ribbing helps. Jokes about dating a GMLF are highly effective. Never leave your friend alone with a cougar or alone at a high end steak house bar for that matter. Before you know it, the drinks start getting bought, the cleavage becomes more visible and the stroking of the young male ego begins. These are wily creature, way more experienced, especially in their nightclub habitat. A good wingman would always get between his friend and a cougar, and just by doing so, can disrupt her attack. Look them in the eye and slowly walk away. If that doesn’t work, whip out the “Yes Ma’ams” and the “No Ma’ams enough and they will hopefully become either too discouraged or will find younger, less experienced prey.


Orca Whales like Orca Earbuds

Yeah, sure anyone could hire Johnny Depp or Channing Tatum to stand on a boat and endorse their product, but why would you stoop that low when you can have the high and mighty Frank Harrington instead? At Outdoor Tech, we strive to make the best products you actually would want to buy, and this review is a testament of our efforts.

End of Ski Season Parties

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.

Concerts Galore
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.