1. Choose the Right Ski Outfit
Anyone can tell you to layer (and you should, by the way), but spring calls for more flair than just technical gear.
- Hawaiian shirts? Yes.
- Shorts? Can you say full-leg road rash? A firm no.
- Insulating layers or windproof layer? Both. However, it’s the wind, not the temperature, that chills the most.
- Helmet? Yep. Those trees don’t get softer when the sun shines.
- Sunglasses? Slip a pair in your pocket. Goggles at lunch get real old, real quick.
2. Kick-start Your Day with the Right Playlist
17 (or so) minutes of sun-soaked, get-up-and-go tunes for the gondola ride up Aspen Mountain.
- “Here Comes the Sun,” The Beatles
- “That’s What I Like,” Bruno Mars
- “Quimica (Dance With Me),” Bomba Estero, Balkan Beat Box
- “Slide,” Calvin Harris, Frank Ocean, and Migos
- “Hot in Herre,” Nelly
- “Sun Is Shining,” Bob Marley
- “Soak Up the Sun,” Sheryl Crow
- “The Dark of the Sun,” Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
- “Cool It Down,” Velvet Underground
- “Up All Night,” Beck
3. Use a Bowl Strap the Right Way
Toting your skis on your back makes the nearly 800-vertical-foot hike up Highland Bowl a lot more manageable. Buy bowl straps—essentially a long loop of webbing—at ski patrol headquarters on Loge Peak.
- Put your skis together and jam the tails into the snow, so the skis stand upright.
- Stand facing your skis’ edges.
- Center the strap behind your skis and hold it with two hands outstretched.
- Hook the lower part of the loop under the binding heel pieces.
- Hook the upper part of the loop under the binding toe pieces.
- Keep the strap taut and bring your hands around the skis.
- Cross one side of the loop under the other and wrap both sides around the skis once again.
- Wrap at least two to three more times, based on your size (after two full wraps under the heel and toe pieces, the straps can go above them for a sturdier ride).
- The two loops will be your shoulder straps, so they should be snug.
- To help a friend put on his or her perfectly looped bowl sling, lift the wrapped skis straight upward and guide the shoulder straps on like a backpack.
4. Wax Hacks
Rocking sticky skis may be a great ab workout, but who wants to be working their six-packs when slush bumps are calling?
- Start off right with a “coarse,” or spring structure, tune from a local shop to texturize smooth bases and minimize the friction from wet snow. Then load your pockets for these on-the-fly tweaks.
- For caked-on snow, scrape the base of skis with a credit card, then swipe on some Chapstick.
- Fill a travel bottle with Dawn dish soap. A swipe across the edges and bases will clean and degrease that grippy black sludge that slows down skis.
5. Party Like a Rock Star
Think a private, on-mountain party is too posh for your pocketbook? Think again. Everything is big in spring: the heat index, the fun quotient, the crowds! When you want a little privacy for your closest amigos, rent one of these rustic, on-mountain gems for your personal soirée. Pack up your own provisions, or have them transported in for a fee.
- Buckhorn Cabin or Tourtelotte Park picnic area, Aspen Mountain. $75, 970-920-0755, aspensnowmass.com
- Wine Cabins…. now plural! Snowmass built a new Wine Cabin at the bottom of Slider in summer 2017. Rent the new digs, or the classic one at the top of Sam’s Knob. $80, 970-923-0469, aspensnowmass.com
- No Problem Cabin, at the top of Summit Express on Buttermilk. Grills and propane are included in the $50 fee, 970-920-0781, aspensnowmass.com
- When a picnic table and your pals equals a party, try tailgating in the small parking lot at West Buttermilk or taking in the views at Picnic Point on Aspen Highlands.
6. Mix the Perfect Spring-Worthy Cocktail
Upgrade your margarita repertoire with this refreshingly spicy concoction. Or let the pros at Ajax Tavern mix one for you.
- Flaming Ridge of Bell, courtesy Ajax Tavern
- 2 oz jalapeño-infused Suerte tequila
- 1⁄2 oz Cointreau
- 3 oz sour mix
- 1⁄2 oz simple syrup
- 1⁄2 jalapeño pepper (seeds removed)
- Splash of orange juice
- Pour ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake well and pour into a salt-rimmed glass. Garnish with lime wedge. Salud!