Your Everyman’s Guide to Opening Day

December 01, 2014 Katie Burrell

Every year around this time, skiers and snowboarders get together to celebrate the magic of Opening Day at their local ski resort. Maybe this is the year that you have vowed to charge harder than ever before. Maybe you are coming out of an injury and are going to come out of the gates at a more “sustainable” pace than you did last year. Or maybe you got married over the summer and have nothing to prove to your shred-doggin’ wife/husband anymore. Regardless, this is the Comprehensive Guide to Opening Day for Everyman/woman.

Just Like You And Me. Photo: Willi Kunz
Just like you and me. Photo: Willi Kunz

1. Decide whether you will be camping out the night before – Black Friday style – or showing up in the morning for either the super early -20, cold as ice, devil horns morning slot or the boozy breakfast, high fives mid-morning slot. Announce your decision with to everyone/anyone by yelling it across the street to people you sort of half know during the week leading up to opening.

2. While picking up speed on the cat track towards the first lift of the day, throw a few short radius “test arc” style turns. This will demonstrate to the people behind you how sharp your edges are and also how in control you are of your equipment after the long hiatus of summer. Catch an edge to a maybe overzealous DIY tuning job, slam into hard pack, dislocate thumb.

3. Approach ski patroller with thumb and ask for diagnosis, marvel at the flippancy towards such a life-ending injury as well as shocking crustiness for the early-season.

4. Sit in warming hut for a few minutes and drink hot chocolate. Wonder why none of your friends took the thumb injury as seriously as you did. Feel slight aggravation at one of them for yelling “SEASON ENDER” when you went down.

Break Time. Photo: Dave Silver
Break time. Photo: Dave Silver

5. Decide that you miss your friends and appreciate their senses of humour and head back out. Wait for them at the bottom of the chairlift for 30 minutes, doing different stretches with your skis on to pass the time. Do the move where you dig both tips of your skis into the snow and balance on your poles, look exceptionally cool for about fifteen seconds, face plant, dislocate other thumb.

6. Go skiing by yourself to warm up legs. “Duck into” the trees. Lose control of legs due to bomb-hole avoidance fast turns. Duck out of trees. Issue lots of “woos” and tell yourself that you are fitter than you were last year.

Who Can Handle Full Tree Runs On Opening Day? Photo: Cedric Bernardini
Who can handle full tree runs on opening day? Photo: Cedric Bernardini

7. In the lift line, yell things like, “DIDN’T RECOGNIZE YOU. NEW JACKET? SICK” at all of the people you’re pretty sure you know.

8. Justify daily Mars Bar consumption because you are an athlete again.

9. Shut’er down around 1:30 PM and treat yourself to a cheeky download. Poke your head into the bar at the base and be pleasantly surprised to see that all of your ski buddies are in there too, slowly rubbing their IT bands, wiping their steaming foreheads and creaking over tables to pour pitchers of beer.

Ski Buds! Can't Beat 'Em. Photo: Steve Rosset
Ski buds! Can’t beat ’em. Photo: Steve Rosset

10. Get your hands on some Advil on the way home, which sits nicely on top of the beers that you just smashed. Turn your phone off. Wake up 36 hours later.

So walking is harder than you remember it being.