Walking into Kochevar’s Saturday afternoon was like walking into a three-dimensional comic book.
The new queen and king hoisted their plungers with gusto. A conga line of Red Ladies sat at the bar. Strange colorful crowns adorned scores of Flauschink “has-beens.” Wigs of colors not found in nature covered the heads of all genders. The King of Soul and his entourage were dancing along Elk. Everyone in the bar, whether seven or seventy, was adorned in a bright costume.
The comic book continued Sunday all over the hill. Kids wore capes and superhero costumes while their moms sported short skirts and wigs and the dads wore capes and superhero costumes. Day-glow was in abundance. As one friend commented, the Utah dust covering the slopes made it seem like skiing on Mars.
PBR’s were popped in the Silver Queen lift line, which extended out the maze. Smoke-a-bowl knoll lived up to its name. Hiking out of the deserted Teo Bowl and into an equally empty Spellbound (magical names all), we could see fireworks from the overflowing peak signaling the start of a Chinese downhill. I could have done without some of the f-bombs from the band at the Ice Bar and a few of the over-the-toppers skiing down at the end of the day but, hey, I just may be getting older. Overall, it couldn’t have been a much better finale. The snow was soft and the sky was blue. It was a fine Sunday.
Discussion on the Paradise deck centered on whether other ski areas finishing out the season look like this one. Similar, maybe, was the conclusion, but Crested Butte might be a bit more bent than, say, Vail. Heaven Forbid.
The lighthearted festivities put an exclamation mark on a good season and were a fun reminder that we live in a pretty unconventional place. It’s not always easy to make a living here, but it sure is interesting. It’s not a stretch to say most of us live and celebrate and dress up here in part because of what the ski area provides.
So as the sweet memories of the 08-09 season fade away and the inevitable bare-knuckle debates arise… try to keep in mind that we are blessed to live in a remarkable ski town. A ski town that sometimes resembles a comic book but a ski town nonetheless. And that’s all part of the fun. Now, take a breath and appreciate the off-season.