So, ski season is over: How to survive summer in Gnarlington
If you’re reading this, sitting in a ski town, with nothing to do because spring weather in the mountains is as fickle as a Colorado snowpack, congratulations: you made it through winter. If the ski-town gods smiled upon you this past season, hopefully May welcomed you with a) no debt, b) a girlfriend/ boyfriend, c) no injuries—or at least one of the above. However, if you’re single, couch-ridden, and a beer away from working up the courage to call your parents and ask for money, fear not, good times are ahead. That’s right, summer is just around the corner, and if there’s one thing that can make up for a sub-par ski season, it’s a collective June, July, and August. Here’s just a small sample of what you have to look forward to as the days get longer, the nights crazier, and the tourists even more naive.
Magically, around the middle of every May, like the Swallows of Capistrano, a fresh, greener group of co-eds instinctively flock to the mountains for the summer. With out-of-town plates and Greek lettering plastered on their cars, this demographic has the soul intention of living in the mountains, so they can say, “they lived in the mountains.” Goofy accents and their use of the word “summer” as a verb aside, you may never have better odds in a ski town than the two weeks surrounding Memorial Day. All ski-town social hierarchy is thrown out the window, and the simple fact that you’re a local pretty much makes you Bobby Brown, regardless of how well you can ski.
Yes, mountain biking is sweet, but it’s also expensive and, let’s face it, you’re probably not in the position to be dropping several grand on a bike. Do yourself a favor and buy one of those sweet Dakine tailgate protectors for your truck and spend any leftover cash on tubes for the river. Be a presence at the local floating stretch, emphasizing how nice it is to cool off after all those downhill laps that morning on your 29er.
For whatever reason, ski-towns across the country pride themselves on their summer music scenes. Consisting of mostly C-list national acts and “influential” bluegrass bands, these concerts are nonetheless the place to be. Grab some local microbrews and set up a slack line. If there’s a better icebreaker than balancing half-buzzed on a piece of nylon while listening to bad music, people in ski towns haven’t discovered it.
If there’s a proverbial chairlift to the top of the ski-town social pyramid, it’s having a boat—or at least a friend with a boat. Like being on top of the mountain on a bottomless powder day, the lake will make you the envy of virtually every one of your peers. Sadly, gents, boats—and, more specifically, other guys owning boats—will be your biggest hurdle to mingling with the fairer sex. “Sorry, bro, we only have enough space for your girlfriend/sister/roommate. Maybe next weekend?”
Talk About Skiing:
Lastly, never forget the entire reason you landed in Gnarlington: to irreversibly change the world of skiing. While the snow may be a distant memory, your radness shouldn’t be. There may be no better time than summer to spray about how hard you kill it. Half the people won’t know what the hell you’re talking about and the other half won’t be able to call you out. Highlight how you owned the right side jump line in the main park, how boring the rails were by the end of the year and how you’ll be trying a triple the first chance you get next year. Tom Wallisch will be shaking in his boots come November.
Summer in a ski-town is good times but fleeting times. Before you know it, that summer fling will be packing up his/her things to move back into the Lambda Chi Alpha/Delta Gamma house. So, make haste. Summer only comes once a year, so take no prisoners—you’ll be able to patch up all those burned bridges with the locals come fall.
About the author:
Griffin Post is a horrible speller, amateur bull rider and connoisseur of chili. He lives in Jackson Hole where he commutes to the ski area on a buffalo. Griffin regularly shoots with TGR.