Thursday, October 1, 2009

Five Reasons for an Epic Winter

I'm still in disbelief that summer has wound to a close, fall is actually here (on the calendar although the weather outside could still fool me at times), and all of the activities that typically occupy my summer--open water swimming, cycling, triathlon and marathon training--are grinding to a halt. You'd think I'd be excited to start my usual ramblings about skiing but I'm not so sure I'm ready to face the reality of winter quite yet. Granted I think part of that is because I'm in Chicago and the snow is in Colorado...or Utah, Wyoming, Montana, Northern California. And we just get stuck with the cold weather and a miserable existence for three to four months, or longer if you count the season we had this year where I was still wearing fleece jackets come June 10.

But to help me be a little more enthusiastic about the impending winter comes the onslaught of ski resort newsletters. Most particularly news from Vail Resorts and its Epic Pass, a ski pass available regardless of where you live to help you ski like a local without actually taking up Colorado or California (as the case would be for Heavenly) residence. So why do you want to go Epic this winter? Take these five arguments for Epic...

1. It's already snowing in Colorado. Seriously, snow was spotted in the mountains last week and it was beginning to dump this week. You know there's at least one state among our 50 where you'll have snow you can actually play in this winter and you need every excuse in the book to get out there for some fun.

2. At $599 for the season pass--with no blackout dates at six resorts--you'd be having a V8 moment (you know those commercials with the forehead slap for 'shoulda had a V8') for missing out on the savings. You've made up the cost of the pass by skiing a mere six days--if you ski primarily Vail and Beaver Creek where the daily lift tickets in the 2008-09 season would set you back a hair over $100 a day--at the resort. And if you're resourceful, or hankering for as many powder days as possible, you can really get good bang for your buck at Arapahoe Basin, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Heavenly, Keystone and Vail.

3. Do you really want to spend the winter skiing the Midwest garbage-dump-turned-ski-hill? I'm not nice, I'll blast these without giving all the resorts a fair shot, but if I can spend more time skiing than waiting in line, I'll save my vacation days for a Rocky Mountain High.

4. What's not to love about having your pick to ski or snowboard some of the best snow on Earth? And a ridiculous amount of terrain? There's a reason Vail Resorts lands among the top ski areas in the country in annual polls by Ski and Skiing magazines.

5. Become an Epic Pass holder and you can score deals without even setting foot on the mountain. Take the pre-season promo available to Chicagoans this September: lucky Epic Passers could score tickets to a Cubs game to watch Lindsey Vonn throw out the first pitch and be invited to a BBQ at the Cubby Bear before the game. Or if you couldn't attend that event you could buy passes online to score a $50 gift certificate to Viking Ski Shop, a Chicago institution when it comes to winter snowsports of the downhill variety.

So what are you waiting for? Score your Epic Pass today. It's better than letting winter keep you in hibernation and lamenting over the nasty weather lurking outside. Photo grabbed from at flickr. Posted by Kate

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