As I watch from afar as one bomb cyclone after another dumps foot upon foot of snow on western ski resorts I could lament over how lucky my friends out there are to be skiing in fresh pow in the middle of April. But, however jealous I may be of their epic winter continuing on while mine has come to an end I cannot help but reflect on what was another fantastic ski season for me, my family and friends. Generally speaking, I love all seasons. As long as there are good people around and good times to be had the weather means very little to me. It just so happens that I really enjoy the sport of skiing and being active outdoors during a time of the year when most are hunkered down waiting for the weather to break. So we play in the snow while taking in all that winter has to offer, which this year was quite a bit. From our kick off weekend at Stratton and WinterWonderGrass, to my trip out west to Vail and Beaver Creek, to the multiple events that I covered for Peak Resorts including the grand finale at Mount Snow's Winter Brewers Festival, this season has been as fun as any on record.
WinterWoderGrass Delivers the Goods at Their Stratton Mountain Resort Debut
We kicked things off this winter with the inaugural WinterWonderGrass at Stratton Mountain Resort. Thanks to WWG founder, Scotty Stoughton, and Stratton Resort, I was able to be a part of the build up for this event. We ran a super fun All About Après Instagram scavenger hunt contest with the winner getting a sick prize package while pumping a ton of other promos out on the other sites that I write for. It was a blast! That being said, the weekend did get off to a bit of a rocky start for us. I accidentally misplaced the keys to my Thule bin causing me to run all over the resort to find a solution, ultimately costing me two hours on the slopes. Once resolved and out there though, my two youngest daughters decided that they no longer knew how to ski. I'm still trying to figure that one out. I felt like the scene in I Love You Man where Jason Segel screams,
This is my nightmare!
This is my nightmare!
after getting hit in the leg with a golf ball. Talk about being the ringmaster of a shit show, that was me from about 9 am until my first (yes, first) Bloody Mary at around 11:30. We eventually got it together and put in some solid turns en route to an incredible craft beer tasting and some of the finest après-ski music of the season. WinterWonderGrass is one of the best music festivals you can find. A gathering of good people for one of the finest weekend long après ski parties out there. My daughters even loved it. In fact, my youngest recently asked me, "Daddy, when are we going back to WinterWonderGrass?" You have to love when your six year old is as high on a weekend long music and craft beer festival as you are. Not surprising though, the festival had the most entertaining Kids Zone that I have seen, keeping them occupied for hours on end. Ultimately, Stratton did a great job hosting WWG's first foray in the East and they have ready announced their return for winter 2020.
An Epic Trip to Vail and Beaver Creek
In January, I headed west for a visit to two of my favorites resorts, Vail and Beaver Creek. Unfortunately, this trip came about a week too early as it started really dumping there the week after we left. Nonetheless, we did have a decent amount of snow that fell just prior to us showing up and continued throughout the weekend. Furthermore, the trip itself was as good as it gets. I got to ski some of my favorite terrain in Vail's famed back bowls with my good friends Dave Tucker who also happens to be the primary après ski music act at The Red Lion. My buddy Steve (who joined me on the trip) and I were also able to venture out into some new terrain in our first visit to Beaver Creek. The steeps, glades and chutes, particularly in the Grouse and Birds of Prey area were as fun as anything I have skied.
What's a trip to these two famed resorts without some of the delicious food they are also known for? As is often the case, all of our skiing was done amidst feasting some damn tasty food. This included great dinners at Vail's Game Creek Restaurant which we took a snowcat to get to and Maya BC located in the Westin Riverfront at Beaver Creek. Throw in two delicious, slipper clad, lunches at Beaver Creak's Allie's Cabin and Vail's The 10th where I had the most amazing truffle fries ever and you could say that we did not leave hungry.
While there, I also had the opportunity to hang with famed skier, Chris Anthony at the new Colorado Snowsports Museum. There we chatted about his continued chronicling of the 10th Mountain Division and his two documentaries on them (one to be released at a later date). He also informed us about these amazing ski trips that he runs to Italy where they mainly ski from one restaurant to the next in order to dine on some of my Italian brethren's epicurean delights. Inevitably, with food on the mind, the conversation eventually turned to après ski and the role that it plays in his ski outings. Après is exactly where we headed right after hanging with Chris to take in my buddy Dave Tucker's show at the Red Lion. First après led to second après and beyond and with the infamous, never before seen, Eric along for the ride, this turned into one of, if not, the most interesting nights of the season.
Peaking at Just the Right Time With Peak Resorts
As a Mount Snow Regular, I have always been a fan of the family friendly, approachable vibe that they put out for their customer base. They also happen to do an amazing job with their craft beer scene which moves them up several notches in my book. That said, I have often featured them on this blog and in many of the other publications that I write for. This winter, I took my relationship with them to another level, working with their parent company, Peak Resorts to cover a variety of events at some of their other ski resorts. This included stops at Jack Frost for the Monster Energy After Hours, Hunter for their Bumps and BBQ and Mount Snow for a beer pairing dinner with Zero Gravity and their Winter Brewers Festival. It should come as no surprise that these were all incredibly well done. Peak does a phenomenal job delivering an accessible and entertaining product to the masses and that theme trickles down to all of their resorts.
For a tiny resort in the Poconos, Jack Frost created a pretty incredible set up that had the After Hours competitors laying down some stoke worthy tricks to the delight of the crowd. Hunter, who is known for their après ski parties, delivered a good one in their second year of Bumps and BBQ. It is everything a spring après ski party should be. Live DJ, check. Delicious food, check. Beers, check. Bumps competition, check. Yup, this event was a fun one and looks like it will be around for a while. Finally, Mount Snow continued to elevate themselves in the craft beer world delivering a delicious dinner complete with the perfect pairings from Zero Gravity and following it up with a day of drinking tasty bevvies while Mount Snow favorite, Jeff Tuohy, kept the crowd going with his lively après ski music. That was, in fact my last day of the ski season and while the rest of it was Ikonically Epic, it is always nice to Peak in the end.
Cheers to another great ski season and be sure to check out our next blog post to find out what's in store for the off season, also known as apres ski season along with our favorite beers, food and music from our 2018-2019 ski season.